For the Dogs

Karen Pettingell |

I have loved dogs for as long as I can remember. I grew up with parents who were on the opposite end of the loving dogs spectrum.  My father did not want anything to do with them, and my mother loves them. I have 4 siblings and between the 5 of us and my mother, my father was worn down.  On Christmas Day 1982, my mom gave us a puppy. A black lab/shepherd mix we named Holly. We had Holly for 14 years and my father never warmed up to her. Putting her down was horrible. At that point I had her for ½ my life, I guess you could say I grew up with her. I knew that when I was older and owned my own house, I would have a dog.

Fast forward to 2004, my husband and I were in our first home and found our first dog, Murray. A black English Labrador. Murray was with us for 13 years and 2 houses.  I learned a ton about dogs from owning my own, and I knew that I needed to work/volunteer with dogs. Working full time and commuting to Boston did not leave much time for that so I shelved the idea.

When we lost Murray, my husband wanted to wait a while before getting another. Well, we barely made it 3 months before I found Jack and adopted him. Jack is also an English Lab. He was kept out of his litter to be a show dog, but he could not cut it in the ring, so we were able to adopt him. He is like the mayor of my neighborhood, never met a person, animal or treat he does not like.

After my early retirement, I finally had the time to volunteer with dogs. I started at Shultz’s Guest House in March 2022, and it is one of the best things I do with my time. It is not all puppy snuggles, there are some not so pleasant things that we have to do and clean. It does not bother me at all because I know that I am helping these innocent puppies and dogs. The shelter even has 5 goats that were rescued from a hoarding situation. The goats are not for adoption, they just live in their goat house and pen at the shelter. It is so rewarding to see all these dogs and puppies get adopted to loving families who will give them the life they deserve.

I have met some great new friends and have no plans of stopping anytime soon. If it were up to me, I would bring one pup home from every transport, but I am not sure how Jack would feel about that!