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Happy Tail: Rescue operators have to have room in their hearts
An overview of Sugarfool Farm Rescue and why it's different. Peg says, Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever. - - Peg Schaeffer
Click on headline for complete story with photo(s) The next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tails: Easter is Anniversary of move to Columbia
By Peg Schaeffer
News from Sugarfoot Farm Rescue
Sugarfoot Farm is not your typical rescue. Our dogs are not kept in kennels or runs with cement floors. They are allowed to run together in our huge fenced in yard. Other dogs stay in the buffer zone which only has a few dogs who prefer the solitude. Some are in the barnyard. These are the dogs who can be trusted with the horses and like the outdoors. They have a stall full of hay to sleep in and pretty much come and go as they please. One of them, Dan, is our watch dog. At night I pity the fool who might come into the barn area without either Keith or me present.
Kennel area is fenced in; dogs there come in and out of kennel at will
We do have a kennel area but it's fenced in and the dogs go in and out of the kennel as they please. In the summer they have ceiling fans to keep them cool and in the winter heat lamps to keep them warm. Our house has pet doors upstairs and down so the dogs can come in the house or play outside. There are dogs who like it in the basement as opposed to the upstairs, but it's all their choice.
Outside is their playground. We have pools for them to keep cool in during the summer and they have two Little Tykes playscapes with ladders and slides. They actually go down the slide. If a dog takes too long at the top the next dog in line will push them. They play in the crawl tunnels and sleep on the benches. Their behavior is like that of kids on a playground. The dogs form groups. The younger dogs chose to play. The older dogs are content to lie in the sun or under a tree in the shade. There are bullies and there are the sissies. The dynamic is something to watch. Sometimes they will join together and keep the bully away.
Some dogs are Peg's dogs - her pampered pets
Some of the dogs are my dogs. They don't leave my side and go wherever I go. Sometimes when I go to the bank I have to get 8 or 9 cookies from the teller. You should see them look at me if they don't get their cookies. They have a puzzled look on their face as if to say "Don't they know who we are?" When I go to McDonald's in the morning the dogs get a sausage biscuit. If I go for lunch or supper they get a hamburger. When I go horseback riding several dogs always join in. They run through the woods, splash in the streams, and check out all of the smells. Other times I'll just take them hiking. They love running free and it's comforting to watch them enjoy life.
Some dogs are Keith's dogs - they like to help him on the farm
Other dogs are Keith's dogs. The follow him on the tractor and help him on the farm. You often see Jake and Lion Heart on the tractor with him making sure everything is under control. It's funny to see the trail of dogs following him as he's taking hay to the ponies or spreading manure. They take their job very seriously.
Often Keith and I will sit on the front porch and watch Dog TV. They'll race up and down the lawn. Some will pay tug of war. They'll chase after each other for the ball. They'll dig holes. They just have fun. Then at night when the day is done they come in the house and crash. Sometimes it's almost impossible for us to walk because we have sleeping dogs scattered all over the floor.
Each dog has its own personality; Peg and Keith learn each one's traits
We get to know each dog's personality. We know the dogs that are good with kids or would prefer the company of a senior. We know which dogs want to be outside or the couch potatoes. We know the dogs who are active and need space and we know the ones who are content to be inside all day. We know if they're aggressive with other dogs or people. It is most important to us that dog and owner are a perfect match.
Often people will come and see the dogs playing and wagging their tails and will tell us "if I had a lot of land I'd love to do this". Be careful what you wish for. It's very time consuming and costly. There are days when a puppy dies of Parvo or a senior dog passes away and we think "Why do we do this"?
The dogs make up for the sad times with unconditional love - and adoption days
But - they make up for it. The unconditional love they give us is as if they know we saved them from an unknown future. When someone comes to pick out a pet the dogs seem to know. They'll be on their best behavior and often pick out the person. And when the paperwork is completed and they jump in the car with their new family it's a great feeling. It can be bittersweet because you get attached to them but it's so nice to know they're going to be "special". So if you have room to spare in your heart go for it. Or if you don't want to jump in you can always foster a pet and break yourself in gently.
Please remember: Saving one dog will not change the world, but surely for that one dog, the world will change forever. - - Peg Schaeffer
Contact us if you would like to help.
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675
This story was posted on 2013-04-07 00:17:41
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