BY JACLYN ROSE –
Bobby and Janet Dodson are a beautiful example of how love can heal. The couple faced heart breaking tragedy when one of their four daughters disappeared tragically almost twenty years ago, but instead of living in hate, they have chosen to spread happiness to others and use animals, which their beloved daughter adored, to do it.
The Dodsons were married in 1984. “I think arguing is such a waste of time. A long time ago I heard someone say, ‘what makes you feel good if you’re winning and your loved one is losing?’ So we don’t argue and we are really happy working together with the animals,” said Janet. The couple lived in Shreveport, Louisiana and worked in oil refineries for years, while bringing their family to Polk County to go camping as often as possible. “We loved to come camping here and brought our girls many times. We thought it was the prettiest place in the world,” said Janet.
In 1996 they purchased land in Polk County, and moved in 2001. At that time, Dodson began working with the different local dog rescues, The Humane Society and For the Sake of Animals, which she continued for seven years.
Almost eight years ago the Dodsons began Dogtired Ranch Small Dog Rescue, where they take in stray and homeless dogs from the local area, including kill animal shelters outside of Mena. (The Mena Shelter is a no kill facility.) “We take dogs from all over the area, strays and dogs from breeders, and we fix them and post them on all the pet finder websites, including petfinder.com. Most of our dogs are adopted up north, where they have all their animals fixed so there is a shortage of dogs. We take them to Alpha Dog Transport and they arrive at their destination the next night,” explained Janet.
In order to adopt a dog from Dogtired Ranch, one must have a good reference from a veterinarian, or two personal references. At most times, Dogtired houses 60-70 dogs and has an “old folks home” for their older dogs called the Golden Paws Association. Through the Dodsons and Dogtired Ranch, close to 1,900 dogs have been rescued and rehomed. “There are fabulous homes around here, there’s just not enough of them. We love what we do, we wouldn’t do anything else. It’s a wonderful feeling to help people. So many of them don’t have anyone, no family or kids, just their dog. Our mission statement is, ‘Dogtired Ranch is saving God’s creatures one life at a time.’ We live by faith and see Divine Intervention. If He wasn’t the wind beneath our wings we couldn’t do it,” said Janet.
“We feel like the best way to erase sadness is to help make someone else happy, so that is where we put all our energy. We’ve always felt like Polk County was so peaceful. We feel so close to heaven here,” Janet said.