“Life In The Doghouse”
Two Men and Seventy-one Dogs
Ron Danta and Danny Robert Shaw are in their 60’s and live on a horse farm in North Carolina where they show horses. However, most of their time is occupied by the menagerie of rescue dogs that would have had to face extermination.
Today they have an assortment of some 71 dogs that are organized in such a way that everything is peaceful. This began as a spontaneous reaction to the immediate after-effects of Hurricane Katrina, after the two of them had donated much-needed supplies to people who were staying in a nearby Sports Stadium. They then turned their attention to all the pets that had been abandoned in the floods. They drove their horse trucks down to the devastated area and picked up as many of the poor frightened dogs they could and brought them home and then to get another load.
This quickly developed into a full-scale dog rescue service that the two men (with the help of a small team) have run since then. Theirs is a well-oiled operation that runs on some ideas and basic tenets that Ron and Danny insist on sticking too. They go out of their way to save the lives of the dogs whose days are numbered and may have health issues or behavioral problems, or simply are the type that rarely gets adopted. I cant help but commend them fully as Sophie, my Jack Russell terrier that I had for 13 years was an evacuee of Katrina. I am lost without her now.
The guys’ website for the Non-Profit is Danny & Ron’s Rescue and features the dogs that they consider are adoptable, but most of their success in finding new homes for the dogs is on the Horse Jumping Circuit where they have established a remarkable following and reputation.
We learn from the documentary that they have successfully had 10,000 dogs adopted by families and new owners. Ron hopes that they can make an even bigger inroad into the 4 million pets that end up getting euthanized each year.
Both men are passionate about their work with the dogs and seem happy enough that the only place in the house that is still theirs (but not quite alone) is the king-size bed and that that is shared with a handful of dogs. The men used their pension funds in the operation and now depend on donations to survive. Their finances are constantly on Ron’s mind. Another issue that Ron cares about greatly are what he calls ‘puppy mills’ where dogs are badly housed in small cages and expected to constantly breed to make as much money as possible. To save money they are often inbred and the result are puppies that cannot find homes or be sold. We live in a society where not all animals are neutered or spayed, there are many unwanted litters and then the Shelters that have to deal with this.
Director Ron Davis gives us a lovely look at these two men and the film affects your emotions. Here is a documentary that touches even the coldest of souls. It’s a love story between two exceptional gay men and their ever-growing four-legged family.