@ Urban Fort Smith - Posted on August 31, 2012 by Tonya McCoy in Lifestyle
story and images GALEN PROBASCO
Each month in our Ignite series we bring you stories of people doing
inspiring things to make the world a better place.
Amid the picturesque Ouachita Mountains near Mena, lies Dogtired Ranch Small Dog Rescue, Inc. The ranch, which sits on eight acres of rolling hills, is a temporary home for many little dogs (and a few large ones), in need of a loving home.
Today, the ranch is booming with activity. On one side of the fenced front yard, a sleepy-eyed hound appears in the doorway of the fourteen-by-eighteen foot bunkhouse. Nearby, a poodle and a rat terrier romp in the grass, while a pug chases a ball. The dogs are just four of sixty that are currently living at Dogtired Ranch, all waiting for the day when the right person shows up to adopt them.
There on the porch stands Janet Dodson, the founder and president of Dogtired Ranch. Janet, along with husband Bobby, have dedicated their retirement years as well as their home, to these dogs. This September will mark Dogtired Ranch’s
fifth year in operation. The non-profit, no-kill organization receives funding from adoption fees, donations from supporters, and from the Dodsons’ own pocketbook. The costs can be staggering; monthly food bills alone run over $1,000.
Janet and Bobby could never do it alone. They have a team, including Janet’s daughter, Amy O’Pry, from Shreveport, Louisiana, who help make the ranch work. Amy and her young daughter manage the ranch’s Facebook page and website. She
also helps pick up rescued dogs from various animal control facilities in Louisiana and gets them to the ranch.
“Many of these facilities don’t hold the dogs but a few days and then they are put down,” Janet says. “Many are very ‘high kill’ shelters. We are pleased that some of these are willing to hand over the dogs to us, so that we can place them for adoption.”
Another member of the team is Nancy McIntyre, who lives in Acorn, just north of Mena. She is Dogtired Ranch’s foster mom and runs the ranch’s puppy division. “My home has gone to the dogs,” Nancy says and then laughs. She has turned a part of her home into a maternity ward and nursery for the dogs, where she can often be found bottle feeding the pups who require it. Right now she has approximately fifty puppies.
Dogtired Ranch has placed over 600 pets in loving homes, mostly in the northeastern part of the United States. To adopt a dog, the potential owner must fill out an application, have a reference from a vet, and go through a pre-adoption interview. The cost ranges from $50 to $150, depending on the vet bills, which includes the cost to either spay or neuter the dog.
The non-profit works with at least six area shelters, taking dogs that might otherwise be put down. Dogtired also works with several different local government officials to help find homes for the dogs taken from abusive and neglectful situations.
It’s a feat in organization and caring that keeps Dogtired Ranch on track. The ranch is teeming with dogs right now, all living good lives, waiting for the right person to come along and take them home.
“Though technically, there is no set limit, at least so far, I feel we are operating at top capacity,” Janet says. “Because we hate turning animals away, we try to find foster homes, if we just can’t take them in at the time,” says Janet. “As long as our incoming rescues and adoptions balance each other, we’ll continue to operate at full capacity. There are just too many dogs and not enough homes.”
If Janet can’t find a home for one of these dogs, she keeps it. “Miss May, a fluffy, five pound Maltese, has been with us since we began. She is at least fifteen years old, and has been at the ranch longer than any dog yet. She is definitely the queen of the house.”
Janet looks across the ranch where the dogs are playing. The sound of barking rolls across the hill. She smiles. There’s no other place she’d rather be than right here, fulfilling the ranch’s mission of saving God’s creatures, one dog at a time.
For more information, visit dogtiredranch.com or call 479.394.2524