Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw, of Camden, S.C., have been rescuing dogs for many years, stepping up their efforts in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina. At the end of March, they reached a milestone by adopting dog No. 2,000 to Bruce Duchossois, of Aiken, S.C.
At the FTI Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., a lip synching contest raised $18,800, and the onsite store Zest Of The West, owned by Michele Masso, allowed Ron and Danny’s Rescue to set up a tent beside the store. All 29 dogs they took to Florida were adopted the final week of March, as well as six others that they found while there.
Duchossois went home with a terrier mix, about a year old, who was one of eight dogs rescued from being pit-bull bait, so he was dubbed “Chummy.”
Duchossois’ Norwich terrier Oscar immediately hit it off with Chummy, sealing the deal.
“He’s a wonderful little dog, as good as any purebred I’ve had,” said Duchossois. “I call him my little monkey dog; he’s all over the place. He gets real jazzed up, but as soon as he settles he’s like a Lab. When he wants to play he can jump 4 feet in the air. He can jump into the back of my truck.
“I can’t say enough about what Ron and Danny have done; it’s just phenomenal,” added Duchossois. “If anyone is thinking of getting a dog from a fancy breeder, please reconsider and give one of these dogs a home.”
Danta and Robertshaw currently have 74 dogs in their custody, with 38 of these living loose in their home and the rest on the farm.
“So many of these dogs are traumatized and scared. I don’t think we could come close to rehabbing them if they weren’t in our home,” said Danta, who added that the first day they might sit scared in a corner, but within a matter of days, they’re usually walking around and even jumping in bed. “It’s really been a key to our success, the home environment and that they get housebroken.”
This summer the horse shows in Tunica, Miss., will run as benefits for the rescue, as will the Old Dominion Horse Show in Virginia. And Leslie Brown, who runs shows at the Virginia Horse Center, started a program where any ribbons returned to the office at the end of the show will result in 25 cents per ribbon being donated to the rescue. Other shows, including Keswick (Va.), have also started this program, resulting in checks to Danta for his dogs.
“We’re so blessed and fortunate for the support from the horse shows and the community,” said Danta. “People don’t realize how expensive it can be to spay, neuter and pay medical bills. Thanks to these shows and people with their donations, it allows us to bring in more dogs. The support has helped us expand, to more than we were doing even a year ago.
“It’s a lot of work for us, because we’re also training horses. But it’s extremely rewarding, and I feel very fortunate,” he added. “We’re just scratching the surface, but these are 2,000 dogs who wouldn’t have had a life.”