Friday, September 19, 2014

Animal rescuers open home to critters

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 8/11/2014

CENTROPOLIS — Rhoda Paddock isn’t just an animal lover, she said. She’s an animal rescuer.

“We just love to do it,” Paddock, rural Centropolis, said. “I know the background of the majority of [the animals] that come in here and that we go and rescue. Usually they are left behind from their owners. The humane society does not have the funds to take care of all the animals that come their way. I just try to help them, you know, not go there.”

CENTROPOLIS — Rhoda Paddock isn’t just an animal lover, she said. She’s an animal rescuer.

“We just love to do it,” Paddock, rural Centropolis, said. “I know the background of the majority of [the animals] that come in here and that we go and rescue. Usually they are left behind from their owners. The humane society does not have the funds to take care of all the animals that come their way. I just try to help them, you know, not go there.”

Paddock, along with her husband, Jeff, has been rescuing animals for three years, she said, which has included finding new homes for 46 dogs and 22 pot belly pigs. Earlier this month, she had 12 dogs and three pot belly pigs staying at their home just east of Centropolis, with seven of the 12 dogs headed to a new home by Friday, she said.

“I usually have a pretty good turnover, but I won’t go past 12,” Paddock said. “I just know that the humane society is so overran with dogs and cats and everything. Then I decided, well there is really no place for pot belly pigs to go either, so I went ahead and picked up doing that.

“I just stay at home, so I’m with them 24/7. Me and my husband aren’t going to have children together, so we decided we were going to have animals and they were going to be like our children. Each one of the animals that come in and out, we do all different kinds of working with them to get them ready for a new home.”

RESCUE FOCUS

Working with the animals includes focusing on areas specific to their circumstances, Paddock said. For example, a rescue dog might need help learning how share food or deal with loud noises, she said.

“Me and my husband walk them every day and we take them out in threes,” Paddock said. “We play ball with them and some of them have never even played before, so we teach them how to play. We work really hard on manners and potty training. We do all their shots, we de-worm them and de-flea them before they go anywhere. We are hoping that owners take care, but you can’t ever guarantee that.

“I have one that is a pit bull mix and she has PTSD [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] and we don’t ever plan to give her to anybody because I learned how to deal with her and I don’t feel like anybody else would know how to treat her like I do,” she said. “Her name is ‘Angel’”

Along with rescuing animals comes a great deal of financial responsibly, Paddock said.

“It is [tough], but we manage,” she said. “The dogs come first like you do your kids. Our place is paid off and we try to keep the utilities down, so we can keep doing this. Each dog deserves a home, you know, they didn’t ask for this.

“We ask nobody to help us financially or anything. We do what we can do and we happen to love animals.”

OUT OF

SHELTERS

Through her efforts, Paddock hopes to keep more animals out of shelters, she said, noting an ongoing relationship with a local organization that appreciates the amenities her large, fenced in backyard and a small pool offer. The animals themselves mostly are brought in from the Franklin County area, she said.

“They come from all over, but mainly I do Richmond and Centropolis area,” Paddock said. “If I hear of an animal that is going to have to go to the humane society because an owner can’t keep it, I may put the dog in the paper and do all I can do before I take it. I’d rather it not have to go from home to home to home.”

Paddock’s rescuing presents a gray area for the county, since it’s a home operation, not a kennel or shelter per se. Even rural residences in the county, like Centropolis Township, typically are limited in the number of domesticated animals they can house, Larry Walrod, Franklin County planning and building director, said Friday.

“If it gets to be a certain number [of animals] ... in the R-E residential state zone, which starts at five and goes up to about 19 acres ... that range we’d say anything over five adult dogs would be considered a kennel and would require a special-use permit,” he said. “An adult dog is considered any dog six months or older.”

Paddock currently does not have a special-use permit, Walrod said, but he also hasn’t had any recent complaints about or issues with the property, he said.

NEW HOMES

Paddock is happy to find new homes for the dogs in her care, she said, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t picky about who takes them.

“I do go and check people’s houses and make sure they meet the right requirements,” she said. “The requirements are the dogs will not be on chains, that they do have at least five acres, if they are in the country. If they are in town, they have to have a fenced-in area and a dog house ready to go when they arrive.”

She also keeps in close contact with those who have adopted dogs, making regular checkup visits and keeping in touch with calls and texts, she said.

“I get texts all the time with pictures of how happy [the dogs] are in their new home,” Paddock said. “That gives me goosebumps. It’s like seeing a grandchild finding a new home.”

If problems arise with the animals, Paddock said, she welcomes them back.

“If something goes wrong, they come back here,” she said. “I don’t care if its been 10 years, they come back here. They don’t go to the humane society because that is why I am doing this.”

Though Paddock and her husband keep a few of the dogs, like “Angel,” most of those that come through her care eventually go elsewhere. It isn’t easy to see them leave, she said, but it is satisfying to see her goals accomplished when a dog finds a loving home.

“These dogs that come in are our family, and when they leave it is hard, but they all deserve one-on-one attention and a home of their own,” Paddock said.

Those interested in adopting from Paddock may call her at (785) 255-4544. There is no adoption fee, she said.

comments powered by Disqus