By Paul Lonardo
Kate Dubuque is the owner of Little Rhody Rescue and Quarantine, a 12-room kennel/quarantine facility which she operates out of her home in Glocester, in the village of Harmony. It is the only residentially-based quarantine facility licensed by the state. She is the kennel manager and a veterinary technician as well as a former animal control officer. When she was forced to retire in 2001 after seriously injuring her back, she decided to devote her time, effort and passion into caring for dogs in need. Kate and a small group of like-minded volunteers work to remove dogs from high-kill shelters and find homes for these abandoned and neglected animals.
PetSmart, a national chain retailer that sells products and provides services all things pet-related, recently awarded Little Rhody Rescue and Quarantine a much-appreciated grant that is reflective of the hard-work and dedication that Kate and her volunteers put into their work every day. Anytime you make a purchase at a PetSmart store, you are asked if you would like to donate $1 to PetSmart Charities. The money collected is given in the form of grants to the organizations they work with, Little Rhody Rescue and Quarantine being one of those organizations.
“It’s a symbiotic relationship,” Kate says. “We help them with a fresh, new supply of pet owners that we send their way.”
PetSmart encourages the companies they work with to reach certain goals, and will award grants from monies they collect. Last month, Little Rhody Rescue and Quarantine reached a milestone when they had their 500th dog adopted, and because of this achievement they became eligible for the grant.
On January 12, PetSmart in Warwick helped them celebrate their accomplishment by awarding Kate a grant and sponsoring an event at their store for the family who adopted the historic pooch.
“There’s no mandate per se,” Kate says. “If I adopt out two dogs in a year, that’s wonderful, that’s two dogs that have a home. But we are very fortunate to hit this milestone, and it is because of our volunteers. We have the best volunteers on the planet. No two ways about it.”
Raising money to do all the work required at Little Rhody Rescue and Quarantine is a constant challenge, and the $10 thousand grant offered by PetSmart will go a long way to sustain the organization into the future.
“It’s a grant, so it has to be used a certain way,” Kate explains. “And grants are available to any PetSmart charity that meets certain criteria, such as being a tax-free charity, operating as a 501(c)3.”
She says that every dog at Little Rhody Rescue is spayed and neutered after being rescued. They are then checked for diseases such as Heartworm disease, vaccinated, and given the necessary medications prescribed by a veterinarian. They are also micro-chipped and quarantined before being transported to their new home.
“We are the only rescue in New England with a quarantine facility that is fully authorized and licensed by the state,” Kate says. “This has enabled us to facilitate dogs in a better environment. They are not in the same population with my own personal dogs. They are completely separate, with their own outdoor area.
Kate has a dozen kennels currently, and can accommodate anywhere from 10 to 40 dogs, because puppies in a group can be housed together in the same kennel. She began Little Rhody Rescue in 2002 with only five dogs, and Little Rhody Rescue has been growing ever since. She is looking ahead so that she and her volunteers will be able to continue to do what they love.
“The grant we were awarded by PetSmart is going toward building a new kennel facility,” Kate says. “We’re taking the entire entity out of my house and moving it right next door, on the 3 ½ acre plot.”
For those who are looking into getting a dog, Kate hopes you will consider adopting rather than shopping because when someone buys a puppy from a pet store they’re unknowingly supporting puppy mills, which are large-scale breeding operations that put profit ahead of animal welfare. She wants potential pet owners to understand that most puppy mills never let their dogs out of the cages. The animals never feel grass under their feet, and have never been hugged in a way that makes them know they are loved and cared for. By saying no to a pet store pet, you’re saying no to animal cruelty.
Shelters such as Little Rhody Rescue are full of healthy, sweet and smart animals who were surrendered not because of their behavior but generally due to the issues of their owners. Many people might be surprised to learn that 25% to 30% of all shelter animals are purebred. The most common reasons animals are surrendered is because of a change in circumstances of their family: a divorce, a move, or because their family was not ready for all the responsibilities of having a pet and “no longer has time for them.” Rescue groups offer adoptable dogs of all ages, breeds, mixes and sizes. So what are you waiting for? Adopt a pet!
For more information on how to get involved as a volunteer, donate, or adopt a dog, visit http://littlerhodyrescue.com