By Savannah Merritt
Our NeighborCorps Program recently helped a gentleman named Ri and his two dogs, Tara and Sam, by building a fence. Projects like this make it possible for animals to stay in their loving homes when possible. By keeping pets in their homes and from ever entering the shelter system in the first place, the NeighborCorps program helps to sustain the No-Kill community we’ve worked so hard to build over the past 11 years.
“I got Tara almost five years ago now” says Ri. “She’s a hound dog, and she’s a good gal.” Ri adopted her from The Humane Society where she had been dropped off as part of a litter and was recovering from an illness. Ri welcomed Sam into his family more recently, after his caretaker (and Ri’s neighbor) unexpectedly passed away, leaving him all alone. He was a nervous dog at first, but has calmed down during his time with Ri and Tara. “Now, every chair in this house is his,” Ri jokes.
Listening to the way Ri talks lovingly about his dogs,
it’s obvious that he’s prepared to give them all of the patience and care they need to thrive.
Just two months ago, Ri underwent hip replacement surgery, which he expects to be healing from for the rest of the year. “Then after that,” he says, “I will have my knee replaced. I danced professionally for 45 years. As I got older, I got to the point where I was limping and feeling pain.”
While making plans to take care of himself, Ri knew he had to also make plans to care for Sam and Tara. Before his surgery, the trio enjoyed long walks together. Now that Ri has a long road to recovery ahead of him, their walks have become much shorter than what his dogs are used to.
Luckily, Ri’s neighbors have graciously stepped up to help. By taking Tara and Sam on walks several times per day, Ri is able to rest and recover without worrying. In fact, Ri’s neighbors have been walking Tara and Sam in shifts. Kathy, stops by every day at 7am and 2pm. Then, another neighbor comes by at 7:30pm to take them for an evening walk. In between walkers, Ri had been tethering them outside, allowing them time to dig holes and mess around.
“My neighbors have been so great,” Ri says, “but I can’t expect them to keep coming every day while I heal from this surgery and the next one. So I decided I wanted to build a fence in the yard so I could let Tara and Sam run around to get some exercise without being tethered.”
Ri looked at fences online and found that the prices were too steep for his limited budget. That’s when Kathy recommended contacting our Field Operations Manager, Eric, who oversees the NeighborCorps program.
Eric drove out to Ri’s house to learn more about the situation and how Brother Wolf could help. Together, they mapped out a plan for a fence and Eric got to work gathering supplies with the help of gift cards generously donated by ACE Hardware.
After two days of work, the fence was complete!
Tara and Sam are now able to run around outside without interrupting Ri’s recovery.
Eventually, when Ri is fully recovered, he plans to build an elevated deck in the backyard, which Tara and Sam will be able to lounge under in the cool shade.
Brother Wolf receives no government funding and depends on donations in order to continue this important work in our community. If you’re inspired by this story and would like to help keep more animals in loving homes, please click the button below to make a donation to our NeighborCorps program.