HOULTON, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- The new Ark Animal Sanctuary was supposed to be a place rescued animals could call home. But after just four months,a fire last Tuesdaydestroyed the building and killed allof the animals inside. Instead of quitting, the organization is pushing forward.
"I've always loved animals and I've always wanted to be around them," said Lorraine Monfils, owner of Hollywood Pet Salon in Houlton and President and Founder of Ark Animal Sanctuary.
Monfilsdream came true when she founded the Ark Animal Sanctuary for rescued animals. Three years of hard work and fund raising finally paid off when the no-cage, no-kill shelter opened this past November.
"The inside of the cabin I still walk through in my mind. It was such a wonderful, bright, cheery place, it was amazing. And we all were just amazed that we were able to pull it off, that we were able to give them this beautiful home,"said Monfils.
The cabin serving as the shelter burned down late last Tuesday night, killing all sixteen cats inside. Monfils and her husband arrived on the scene just as the walls were caving in.
"It was devastating, you know? And it wasn't so much devastating for the building, it was just that we couldn't save the cats," said Monfils.
She thought everything she worked for was gone, until a fellow volunteer gave her new hope to push forward and rebuild.
"I hugged her and I said it's all gone, the Ark's gone. And she grabbed me by the shoulders and she said the Ark is not gone- we are the Ark and as long we're here, the Ark is here," said Monfils.
Through the use of social media, the non-profit shared their tragic story and their determination to rebuild. The reaction was much bigger than they could have guessed.
"We have received donations from just about every state in the United States. Not only that, we have received donations from fourteen different foreign countries," Monfils said.
Within the past week, the Ark has gotten more than thirty two thousand dollars in donations. Food and supplies have also been donated to the shelter along with a design for a new building and all the heating and air conditions units that will go into it. Monfils is filled with gratitude.
With tears in her eyes she said, "They're happy tears because of the world, it really truly is an amazing, wonderful place."