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Happy Tails: Every once in a while, an UN-HappyTale

Every once in a while, among the hundreds of Happy Tails, it has to be said that Animal Rescue is not always gratifying. That it's always a seemingly endless, and occasionally, there are betrayals and huge disappointments when people with bad hearts take advantage of big-hearted ones. Worst of all, there is the problem of being misunderstood. Peg takes this Sunday to tell that side of an otherwise fulfilling life as the overworked, underfinanced founder of Sugarfoot Farm Rescue

The next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tail - Peg's Memories of her Dutch Dad on Father's Day

By Peg Schaeffer

Ruby Sneed, who has adopted dogs from me, held a yard sale this past weekend. She called me to let me know that a percentage of her proceeds would go to Sugarfoot Farm Rescue. She even put out a donation jar for the rescue. I went to her yard sale on Friday and was happy to see the donation jar had several dollars in it. She told me that when she told people she was collecting for us they were happy to donate. She did say that one person told her that they wouldn't donate. This person felt that I have too many dogs and can't take proper care of them. I know I'm not here to please everyone. I live every day to help the dogs. But it concerns me that there are people who question what I'm doing.

We care for a lot of dogs - but no more than allowed

I do have a lot of dogs but no more than I am allowed to have. When I applied for my 501(c)3 I was given a number of dogs that I am allowed to have. So I do have a limit of the number of dogs I can have in my rescue. So, as much as I would like to save EVERY stray and abandoned dog I do have a built in Stop. But what is the alternative? Do I just say "no" and let these dogs that are abandoned on the side of the road to fend for themselves? Do I let their owners take them a shelter where "owner surrenders" are the first dogs to be killed? As much as I'd like to save them all I know I can't. I have started to say "no" and it hurts me every time. I'm also finding out that people know what a good heart I have and they are using me. Lately I've been told stories that I fall for and then find out that they're lies.

The disappointment of learning sad story was a lie, and the truth, sadder

A woman called me about an abandoned puppy she had found. She said when she found it something had chewed her ears off. Her husband was out of work and they couldn't afford to care for the injured pup. They had taken it to the vet, had the ears treated, and had her vaccinated and wormed. So, good hearted Peg took the pup in. We talked for a while when they brought her. We swapped stories and I assured them I would find "Scarlet" a good home. Well when I called the vet who had treated her for her records I found the true story. Turns out the pup had belonged to these people. They owned the mother and also her brother. They decided they wanted the puppies' ears to stand up. So they taped them. The tape was too tight and stayed on for too long and the puppies' ears fell off. Scarlet's ears were the worst. They kept her brother.

I adopted out a dog this week. "Laddie" was a senior Collie mix that had been found by the golf course. He, a dog they named "Tebow", and a senior black Lab had all been dropped off in the neighborhood. A Good Samaritan found the dogs and brought them to me. Before they left their kids decided they wanted to keep "Tebow" so they left me Laddie and his friend who we named "Buck". Laddie was a very mellow and laid back dog - one in a million.

This week a woman called looking for a dog for her family. She came and visited all of the dogs. She decided that Laddie was the perfect fit. All of our dogs are microchippped before they leave and I am the primary contact. She left with Laddie, assuring me he would have a great home. I talked to her the next day and she told me how well he was working out with them and how well behaved he was.

New owner didn't even realize dog was missing

Friday night, around 9:30 I received a call from AKC Companion Animal Recovery, where the dogs' microchips are registered. Someone called to report they had found a dog. I called AKC and they told me it was Laddie. I then got the name of the person who had found him. Next I called his new owner. She didn't even know that Laddie was missing. I called the person who had found Laddie and asked where they were located. Turns out Laddie had to cross a major highway to get to their house. He could have been killed. If he hadn't been microchippped who knows what would have happened to him? He might have ended up at a shelter and then killed. Laddie is coming home on Monday.

I assure people who bring dogs here that their dog will find a good home. I tell them that it will not be euthanized. I also promise them that their dog will not be adopted out just because someone wants them. I try my best to make sure the dog gets a home that they will be loved and that it will be their "furever" home. It turns out that no matter how hard I try to find the best match it doesn't always work out that way. The majority of the people who adopt dogs from me keep me updated of the dogs' progress. I've gotten pictures of dogs lying on couches, swimming in streams, chasing 4 wheelers, getting hugs from children, and being happy dogs. I do everything in my power to give these dogs the homes they deserve.

Everything is sacrificed for these dogs

I sacrifice everything for these dogs. I feed 100 pounds of dog food a day at $20 a bag. I'm not Mrs. Rockefeller; I live on a retirement check. I don't feed the cheapest dog food. I feed them quality feed. I sprinkle Diatomaceous Earth on their food which kills fleas and also worms them.

Dr. King is our veterinarian

Dr. King of the Red Barn Vet is our veterinarian. All of our dogs are taken there to be spayed/neutered and vaccinated. He treats our dogs for whatever maladies they may have. He stitches cuts, treats wounds, and cures what might be ailing them. He treats puppies with Parvo. The dogs' health is not neglected.

The work is confining

Keith and I NEVER go anywhere together. There is always someone with them 24 hours a day. Anyone who owns a pet knows what can happen when you turn your head. We don't go out to dinner, we don't go to parties, and we never travel together. We both live our lives for the dogs.

Yard is fenced in, but Sugarfoot has an Open Door Policy

The yard is fenced in. We have a few dogs that should be in the Olympics. They can scale the fences with ease. We have other small dogs who can squeeze through the cattle wire. We have electric fence that goes above the fence and then about 6 inches above the ground. It's a chore keeping the grass from shorting out the fence. It requires constant maintenance. The dogs have two swimming pools. They have two Little Tykes Gym sets with tunnels and slides. They even have a Little Tikes Car Bed. They sleep on Kuranda beds and on our bed. We have pet doors upstairs and downstairs. They come in and out of the house whenever they want. They lay under the trees together and watch the world go by. They all play together. We have an Open Door policy. If you want to come and visit you are welcome. We have nothing to hide. And the dogs LOVE us.- Peg Schaeffer

Contact us if you would like to help.

Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675

This story was posted on 2013-06-23 07:16:19
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Happy Tails: A dog's life is pretty great at Sugarfoot

2013-06-23 - Sugarfoot Farm Rescue, 860 Sparksville Road, Columbia, KY - Photo by Peg Schaeffer. Dogs have fun, are well cared for while awaiting a Furever Home at Sugarfoot Farm Rescue. Left photois Scarlet, a Border Collie mix puppy, who has lost her ears. bit she's still a delightful doggy. Center, Sammy, and his fellow Starvin’ Marvins are in the the shade, chilling out. Right, Darryl, a Beagle, is waiting to go down the slide.
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