Abandoned dogs from Tennessee find new life in R.I. thanks to women’s partnership
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By G. Wayne Miller Posted Sep. 8, 2013 @ 12:01 am
GLOCESTER, R.I. — They are almost impossibly cute, these eight mixed-breed puppies that are temporarily living with Kate Dubuque. Want cuter? They are named for eight flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Cuter still? Their dispositions match their looks and their names. And soon, they will be moving to permanent homes, living with people eager to own them.
Which makes for a happy story — one that might not have been.
Just a few days ago, the puppies were housed in a kill shelter in Tennessee, marked for euthanization after being abandoned. Cindy Rhoda, Dubuque’s friend and partner in rescuing dogs, saved them. A resident of a town outside Chattanooga, she knows abandonment intimately.
“People throw them out in boxes,” she said Saturday, at Dubuque’s rural home, where she is staying the weekend. “I could drive to work on any given day and pick up three to four stray dogs. And that’s not even looking for them.”
Where she lives, dog owners rarely neuter their pets, she said. No leash laws exist, and there are no legal limits to the number of animals someone can own. Economic difficulties and wanderlust lead to some animals being left behind, Rhoda said.
“People move away from their trailers and leave their dogs in them.”
Others are mistreated and cast out.
“We see puppies that are horribly neglected and abused,” said Dubuque.
“When we get them in as a rescue, you can feel their bones,” said Rhoda.
Rhoda is the principal behind Pooches on the Move, a rescue cooperative and transport service. With her daughter, Brittney Goode, she makes weekly trips north with rescue animals in a van equipped for dog travel. Many of the animals are brought to people who have already arranged to adopt them.
“We deliver all the way from Virginia to New Hampshire,” Rhoda said. “Like Santa Claus.”
“Even better,” said Dubuque.
“It was 16 degrees below zero one time, and we still came up,” said Rhoda. “But if it wasn’t for Kate being able to quarantine, we wouldn’t have a stop in the state of Rhode Island.”
She refers to the state license that Dubuque’s Little Rhody Rescue holds allowing her to keep out-of-state dogs for five days to meet requirements of a state law intended to confirm the animals’ health.
Rhoda, formerly Glocester’s animal control officer, met Dubuque years ago when the Tennessee resident lived in Rhode Island.
“The two of us have been in cahoots since 2001,” Dubuque said.
With Goode, Dubuque and her longtime rescue partner went downstairs, where the eight puppies share three large cages. Four have already been adopted. The other four will probably go fast. They appear to be mostly beagle, with a touch of another breed.
“I think spaniel,” Dubuque said.
Dubuque opened a cage and the three women held three puppies: Chunky Monkey, Coffee Coffee Buzz Buzz Buzz! and Cherry Garcia.
“God made the most definitely beautiful creature when he made a dog,” said Dubuque. “They’re dependable, they’re courageous, they’re compassionate, they’re genuine, they’re sincere.”
“No matter how bad your day or life is,” said Rhoda, “your dog is always happy to see you.”
And despite their past, said Goode, rescue dogs are like that, too.
“Despite the neglect and abuse they suffer,” she said, “most are trusting without fail.”
More about Pooches on the Move is at poochesonthemove.net.
Little Rhody Rescue’s site is petfinder.com/shelters/RI96.html
On Twitter: @gwaynemiller