Saturday, September 27, 2008

Plea for help: The Doghouse--update

In response to the plea for help by The Doghouse (original post copied below)
I called the owner of The Doghouse , Alice Russell, and had a long conversation about the folks who board at her kennel as well as the general destruction in the area. Alice was out front that she is not a non-profit. She is a business (albeit open only 3 weeks when Hurricane Ike hit). She is asking for contributions for those clients of hers who are boarding their pets with her. For some, if they couldn't board them with her they would likely have to take them to a shelter where those currently homed-pets would be added to the increasing numbers that are homeless.

The people who are boarding their pets with Alice clearly care for them. However, many people in the area lost all their belongings--their homes, their cars, furniture, clothes--and some are just not able to pay for boarding at this time. Given the level of devastation in the area, it will take some time for many of them to get back on their feet with a place where they can safely keep their pets.

The Doghouse is several miles from the coast on the mainland and fortunately sits on an elevated piece of land so they didn't flood though Alice has a tree that fell into her house (she added that this was the tree that provided pecans for the rescued squirrel she keeps). Alice, who clearly is an animal lover, said she is going to discount the kennel fees by half--just enough for her to pay her staff, pet food and other expenses--to reduce the burden on those who are boarding their pets with her through these trying times. Alice will also send photos and updates on the pets she is boarding (be sure to include your email address so she doesn't have to send via snail mail).

So, though you can't take a contribution here off your income taxes, you can help keep more pets out of the already busting-at-the-seams shelters. It seems to me that preventing more owner turn-ins is better than having to shelter these pets and try to find new homes for them so please consider sending a donation-$10 or $20 would go a long way. Since The Doghouse was only open such a short time, Alice doesn't know if she can take credit cards over the phone and she doesn't have a paypal account. So contributions to keep these pets in the kennel need to be by checks sent to:

The Doghouse
10515 FM1764
Santa Fe, Texas 77510

Original post:

9/20/08, From Alice Russell, -- I opened The Doghouse
boarding kennel in Galveston County last month and was just getting things
rolling when Ike devastated the county. I have been at the Doghouse 12-14
hours a day since. People who evacuated will not be able to start the
rebuilding process for several weeks. Last I heard Galveston will not have
sewer for two months (full of sand).

Many people have dogs and/or cats but their temporary homes do not allow
pets. So, I am deluged with evacuee pets who are traumatized and sick from
the salt flood water and owners who cannot pay to board...

I had two on staff, Nikki lost her home and is not sure what her family will
do in the interim (I have her 3 dogs). Shawna’s home suffered damage and
both of her dogs are at the Doghouse. Sherri my groomer still does not have
power... Her dogs are at the Doghouse, too...

One of my favorite boarders is Bogie, an old, confused, ugly and aggressive
pit bull. I was not able to clean his kennel in spite of treats and sweet
talking -- plus he needed medical attention for wounds he got during the
storm. I called his people and explained our dilemma. Sherri found a vet who
agreed to squeeze him in. His people said they would take him, afraid they
would have to have him put down. They called from the vet's a few hours
later and I agreed to take Bogie back if I could befriend him. When they
came back, Bogie seemed to remember me or at least the treats. With the
owner there I petted him, treated him and took him outside to play. By the
time the owners left Bogie was my shadow. Now when I walk by his kennel he
begs for all that special attention.

Bogie’s people brought pictures of their former home -- the water was nearly
to the ceiling during the storm. His owners spent 9 hours atop a couch
steadying a table floating between them for their pets. Bogie, in the other
room sloshed and beaten by debris, survived treading water for 9 hours...
The rest of my motley crew includes a couple sweet mastiffs, several smiling
lab and lab mixes, a labradoodle who shares her kennel with a big sweet
rottie, two dobbies, 14 and 15 year old lab mixes...and lots of just plain
dogs waiting for their families. The cats -- Blackie, Oreo and Boo Boo --
turned our backroom into the Doghouse Cattery and seem very content to keep
the seats of our breakroom furniture warm for us while they wait to go home.

People desperately need a place for their pets while they look for new homes
and jobs. It's hard for them to find the money to care for the family dog
when the storm didn't leave them a change of clothes, a roof over their head
or a vehicle. I am doing all that I can but need to make at least enough to
keep my doors open, the dog bowls full and pay my staff.

I'd be happy to send photos and stories of the dogs in need. Thanks
for any help, directions or hints you can give me.

If you can help, or know any person or business able to support some dogs
while their people get their lives back order, CONTACT:
Alice Russell,
409-925-K900; cell (doesn't work inside the Doghouse): 409-939-6750"

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