Last night I went to a pizza place (no, I just had unsweet tea, thank you very much, and that part wasn’t fun) with a supporter who came to visit for the weekend, Judy Caswell. She’s so awesome, and down to earth, and I think the world of her. She’s really smart, and you can see the wheels turning in her mind as she analyzes everything.
As we were discussing all that was going on, she kept saying “I just don’t understand. I would think they’d welcome you here with open arms to turn around a place that brought so much pain to the community.”
Thank you, Judy! That made me feel a little less like an idiot. That’s what I thought too, when we bought it, and I’ve been feeling so incredibly naive for thinking that. I’m so glad that someone else thinks that’s how it should have gone down too; at least I’m not the only one.
Then later I was chatting with another friend on facebook, and she said she wondered when we first bought the place why we bought such an expensive place, but she figured I had a plan.
Which gave me the topic for this blog post, because many of you may not have read of our plans for the center; it’s a positive topic, which I much prefer to life in negativeland where I have been dwelling.
First I’d like to say, I don’t think $595,000 is paying very much for this place. For a 4600 square foot house with 15 acres, anywhere else but out here in the boonies, this would have run about 1.5 million easy.
Most new facilities these days are running $10 million easy, and that’s where we want to get to, but using the house as our rescue headquarters is step one of a three step plan.
Since we could barely afford the downpayment, we had not much money at all for renovations to the existing structure, outside of ripping up the carpet and putting down rubber flooring. That was a necessity.
The entire bottom floor and part of the garage is taken up with space for the dogs and office space, plus a kitchen. Our dogs sleep and nap and eat in crates, but most of the rest of the time, they are free in different yards and areas of the house. Per the state vet’s office, we are allowed 13 dogs at a time with our added garage space for overflow or quarantine area. This isn’t a lot at a time, but it’s a start, and all great things must start at the bottom and work their way up.
Phase One of the three part project was getting on the ground, making space for the dogs we could do in the existing house, and getting the property paid off. THIS PHASE IS NOW COMPLETE! We were blessed to receive two bequests late last year, coincidentally just after the county started to try to destroy us, and we were able to pay off the property and buy the acre next door. So we now hold 16 acres.
We would like to start doing more than 13 dogs at a time as soon as possible, so we are now in Phase Two of the project, which is an interim measure to building the big, state of the art facility. In Phase Two, we’d like to build an extension onto our existing dogroom that is long and runs out the back of the house to install about 15 indoor/outdoor dog ‘bedrooms.’ This would probably increase the total amount of dogs we could handle at any time to 25, and enable us to double our efforts for chained dogs.
Dogs will be assigned a bedroom, but will be pulled out into one of three socialization rooms and into play groups and into dog yards all day long, creating an enhanced environment for them and teaching them to be with other people and dogs, as well as obedience and housetraining them.
We also are installing vinyl fencing in Phase Two, and I’m happy to announce this will be installed this week! This fencing will make all our dogs yards more usable, attractive, and safe for the dogs to play and socialize in. We are still looking for about 20 more fence panel sponsors, if you’d like to get your nameplate engraved in dedication or memory or for yourself, visit our page here to sponsor. Your donation is tax deductible:
We are currently fundraising for this goal, and estimate a cost of $150-$200,000 to build the wing and make sure it’s up to code, etc. We are seeking funding for that now.
After the wing is built and we get up and running in Phase Two, we will begin funding efforts for Phase Three, which is the BIG and final phase. In Phase Three we want to build a start of the art facility which will house 50 dogs at a time (max allowed by the county) where we will housetrain, obedience train, socialize, and get formerly chained and penned dogs ready for new, inside homes and families.
This facility is so beautiful in my mind, that it’s hard to describe! Dogs will have indoor/outdoor areas for bedrooms, but they will be pulled into different socialization rooms daily, trained daily, and exercised in the big field daily just as they are now. What I most love in this vision of our BIG DREAM is the walking track on the second floor where volunteers and staff can walk dogs. That’s brilliant because there are many days throughout the year due to heat, cold, rain, and even once in awhile snow, where it’s not ideal to take dogs outside to walk. But here they would always be guaranteed a walk regardless of the weather.
When this is complete, as part of Phase Three, the current house will be turned into a low cost vet clinic for the local area. This house is especially suited for that purpose, and we may be able to do boarding as well in the extension we will build in Phase Two, but we will definitely be able to use that area for overnighting any vet guests that need to stay. We would also then be able to vet all our own dogs, a cost and time saver, and become more of a help to the local community.
I have and hold in my heart Big Dreams for this land and this facility. I hate that these dreams are threatened by those who want to do us harm, and therefore hurt the thousands of dogs we would someday get to serve by being here.
I hope that you’ll help us put a stop to these efforts. Hold our vision for a beautiful rescue home for the chained dogs in your hearts with me. Don’t they deserve something for all the hell they’ve lived through on this earth? It is our goal to give them the haven they deserve.
Visit our page at http://www.dogsdeservebetter.org/surrycounty.html for all the evidence and who to write, etc. Send out a prayer for us if you’re the praying type, or a vibe if you’re spiritual. Bless you and thank you.
Have a very good weekend.