Fayetteville Folks by Mike Rickard

Welcome to Fayetteville Folks. The concept behind this project is a simple one: To present interviews with a few of the folks who exemplify
what we love about this town. This week I sat down with Lib Horn, who retired as the City of Fayetteville’s Animal Services Superintendent in 2001.

Q:  Lib, when did you first move to Fayetteville?
A:  I came to Fayetteville in 1986. I worked one year at the university.

Q:  Was it your job at the university that brought you here?
A:  Actually, I have a brother (Larry) who lives here. I grew up in east Arkansas, Black Rock, in Lawrence County. I went to Arkansas State in Jonesboro. My brother went to school in Fayetteville and ended up staying here, like so many people do. I went to St. Louis and stayed there for 13 years. Then I got a job with the Veterans Administration in Washington. It was during Vietnam. I decided I didn’t like to work for the government and my marriage ended. In 1986, I thought, I want to go home. I liked Fayetteville. I’d visited. I met people through my brother and I said: This is where I wanted to be.

Q:  You could have gone anywhere with your job skills at that point?
A:  Yeah. I’d gone (back) to school and studied veterinary technology. Two things (brought me here): I love Arkansas. I always felt homesick for it and I wanted to be close to my family. I liked the atmosphere and I liked the people that I met when I came here. Fayetteville’s beautiful.

I spoke with Lib at the kitchen table of her home on East 5th Street.  She bought the place in 2000. “Before that I lived on a mountain in Winslow for 14 years,” she told me.

Q:  So how come you moved to town?
A:  I had a car wreck in 2000, it wasn’t anything to do with traffic, my blood pressure bottomed out and I just passed out.

Q:  How major were your injuries?
A:  Pretty bad. I was hospitalized for about three weeks. But, it was a good chance to stop smoking. I moved to town, bought this house and then retired from my work at the city. I was there for 14 years. I was really lucky. I’m one of those people. I lived long enough and was in the right place when the best job I could possibly ever have opened up (in 1987).

Q:  How did you get the job?
A:  Well, I read about it in the paper; that the Humane Society and the City had agreed to a contract to build a new shelter to provide and improved animal services, and they were looking for a director. Now the city owns the whole thing, but it started out as a partnership.

Q:  Do you see people walking their dogs and recognize the dogs?
A:  Oh yeah. Sometimes I don’t remember the person’s name but I always remember the name of the animal. I see people in the store and someone will come up and say, “Miss Horn, do you remember that dog I adopted from you at the shelter,” and often I do, when they describe the animal.

Q:  How many animals do you think you’ve met?
A.  I imagine 75,000 animals overall. With that job, one thing I knew:  Everyday that I got up and went to work, it mattered. It made a difference. Someone was depending on me.

Q:  So, Lib, who should I interview next?
A:  Hugh Earnest.

There you have it.  Tune in next week.  Keep Fayetteville Funky

Categories: Legacy Archive