Helping a Rescue Kennel Rebuild After Tragedy

Kindness Kennels was on fire! Devastated. In shock. Unbelievable, but it was real. Thankfully, no dogs or humans were injured. The fire was limited to the administration area with very limited smoke entering the kennel area. A clothes dryer in the laundry room was the source of the fire. Now what? When the hard reality settled in, Rich O’Connell the owner of Kindness Kennels just sat in a daze with tears in his eyes. He seemed not to hear us asking questions as to how we could help. Shawn, General Sales Manager at Williams Subaru was there because she had a rescue foster dog boarded with Rich. The Fire Marshall told us the building was not safe and all the animals would have to be moved immediately. It was clear we had to assist beyond just getting our own foster dog relocated. We started making calls to the other rescues letting them know of the fire, the safety of their dogs and the immediate need to relocate them. Within a few hours, and with the help of South of the Bully Rescue, all the dogs were relocated or picked up by their owners. Kindness Kennels, owned by Rich, not only boards pets for vacationing owners, but also boards dogs for many rescues. It is his labor of love. “I do this because I love dogs,” Rich said. To further help rescue efforts he gives us an extremely discounted rate. Kindness Kennels is a blessing to rescues that totally depend on donations to operate. “Rescues always seem to have more animals in need than foster homes to care for them. That is where Kindness Kennels steps in. They offer a place to board and care for the animals until a foster home can be secured. This allows the rescue to save many more animals from euthanasia. Rich truly is a life saver,” Shawn said. Monday brought the task of damage assessment and organizing cleanup efforts. It seemed a huge undertaking, beyond the scope of one man. So Shawn, GSM of Williams Subaru and representative of Wire Fox Terrier Rescue Midwest starting reaching out to her contacts. She was instrumental in organizing a community clean-up day, started a Go Fund Me to help with the financial burden, and secured an amazing donation of cleaning supplies, mops, paper towels and even dog beds from Second Harvest Food Bank. The donation from Second Harvest and monetary donations was a real shot in the arm for Rich and all of us who depend on his kennel. Williams Subaru donated a five gallon bucket of primer and employees pitched in for a new dryer. They even had a Subaru customer donate a drywall hoist. We were well on the way to helping get this rescue community gem put back together again. “I do not think I would have been able to re-open without Shawn’s help, Rich stated. A community clean-up effort was held the following Sunday where volunteers from the rescue community came together to tackle the tough task of scrubbing the place down. It was an amazing, heartwarming day to see so many people willing to give their time and energy to help a fellow animal lover rebound from this unfortunate fire. With clean-up complete, Rich was able to begin repairs and painting the five rooms damaged by the fire. It was quite an undertaking for the “retired” gentleman. Rich had a few volunteers from rescues help with the painting, but he impressed all of us with his resolve and willingness to put in the hard work himself. Rich is truly a kind, gentle man with a heart for rescues and the animals we all work so hard to save. It seems Kindness Kennels is aptly named.
Categories: Community Events
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