Debbie Moffat began Keshet Kennels slash Keshet Rescue in Carlsbad Springs near Ottawa in 2005. “Our commitment to establish a rescue centre for large breed dogs grew from a single, disturbing incident,” she says. When a Rottweiler puppy was brought to them before they could accept more dogs, it was put in a shelter and euthanized within three days. Keshet had worked to make arrangements for the pup, but was too late.
Keshet is the Hebrew word for “rainbow”
The goal became clear: “To provide facilities, services and training in support of all large breed dogs in need of rescue.” As Debbie explains, power breeds like Rottweilers, Dobermans and Mastiffs have less chance in shelters because people are often scared of them. In fact, she says they are “big teddy bears, sweethearts, and good lap dogs.” Their first rescue was a wolf hybrid named Timber, whom Debbie describes as the patriarch and says that Keshet is his legacy.
Since then, they have helped hundreds of dogs ─ as many as 40 at once ─ who live on the 54-acre property (including 12 acres of fenced-in space) until they are adopted. Debbie says the best adoption candidates have the space, time, commitment and love to devote, but does not recommend large dogs for young kids. Keshet Kennels provides boarding, rental facilities and a boutique as its primary business. The rescue is funded from a portion of these revenues with the rest subsidized personally and by sponsors.
As a dog lover all her life, Debbie says she brought home “litters of abandoned dogs in cardboard boxes” that she found on the streets and sought to find them homes because her family already had two. “My mom consoled me by saying I could have all the dogs I wanted when I grew up.”
Keshet Rescue Today
Today, she continues to help dogs live full, happy lives and find their furever homes. When they have behavioural issues, or when age or illness makes them unadoptable, Keshet keeps them. One Rottweiler named Blue is the “resident success story.” She was heartworm positive, so scared of people, needed to be spayed and undergo ACL surgery. After two years, she is comfortable at Keshet and will likely stay due to some lingering fears.
Keshet focuses on owner surrenders, rescue transfers and Rottweilers in particular, but also takes in dogs from shelters when approached. The eleven-member team and additional volunteers all share walking, feeding, medicating, grooming and training responsibilities. Due to financial constraints, they also foster for other rescues and facilitate surrenders of dogs from their current homes into new ones.
“My mission is to help dogs that would otherwise not have a chance to live out a life to which they’re entitled. Dogs are dogs and when big ones get into trouble and exhibit undesirable behaviour, the damage is bigger because the dogs are bigger, heavier and stronger, so people don’t want to deal with them. But they are just as good as any other dog and deserve a right to a good life and home.”
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