HOW WE STARTED
Buddy, with Jodi Kelley, Founder & President of
Rock Run, and husband, Chris
In 2008, we moved from the city of Harrisburg to a property with 10 acres in Shermans Dale. Soon after we moved, folks started asking us if we could provide a home for different animals. Why not? We had the room now. We took in cats, dogs, horses, goats, and chickens who were in need of a home. Some were going to be taken to auction or the SPCA, tossed in someone’s yard, or their owners simply were no longer able or willing to care for them. By 2012, we found ourselves sharing our home with 3 dogs, 12 cats, 6 chickens, 2 goats, and 3 horses. It was a busy 4 years!
In the summer of 2012, I received a phone call from the ASPCA seeking their yearly monetary donation. I listened to this very nice woman on the other end of the phone, and when she was finished speaking, I told her we had so many animals, we would prefer to be on the receiving end of their donations instead. We laughed…and then we rolled into a serious, long conversation about starting an animal rescue/sanctuary. After much thought and discussion, Rock Run Animal Rescue was officially created and incorporated in September of 2012. We became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization, and we are (still) 100% volunteer.
In a very short time, we accepted dogs, cats, kittens, and more chickens under the wing of Rock Run Animal Rescue. I began learning a lot more about what actually happens to animals; not just, “out there”—many animals were in horrible situations in our own community as well. The need was, and continues to be, so incredibly large and overwhelming. We found homes for many of the animals, and others will have sanctuary with us for the rest of their days.
We realized we needed more usable space than what our current property and home could provide. We were in the woods on a steep mountainside with limited usable ground. We knew we needed a farm.
WHERE WE ARE NOW
In September of 2016, we sold the property in Shermans Dale and personally purchased a 20 acre farm in Newville (northwest of Carlisle) with multiple outbuildings and hay fields. There’s an entire building, the “Catty Shack,” for the cats and several areas for the chickens, goats, and horses. We built two runs for the dogs. The farm has amazing potential; however, it requires some renovations and restoration of buildings and fencing.
We are now located in a different county and are gradually meeting members of our new community. We are looking for local volunteers and animal loving folks who are able to help in other ways. Currently, we are caring for 7 horses, 8 cats, 5 dogs, 2 goats, 13 chickens, and one goose at the new farm. It takes a village to provide for them financially and physically!
This summer, we will have many projects…fencing, painting, renovating the horse stall and goat pen, replacing many barn doors and windows. Also this summer, we will have our own hay made (a huge cost savings)! We have a lot of work ahead of us, yes. But what an exciting time!
Once we are able to complete some projects at the farm, get to know the members of our community, and develop a great volunteer base, here are several programs we would like to create in the future:
- For Pete’s Sake. Many times, we have been asked to take animals simply because life happens. Circumstances can change quickly for people. These folks feel forced to rehome their beloved family member due to a temporary situation. They desperately want to stay together. In the past, we have helped two families who needed temporary assistance keep their animals with them. We will be starting a program, “For Pete’s Sake” (named after a horse we helped in this manner) to help families in need. This program will be open to all animals and families. It will help keep families together and help keep animals out of the shelters and auctions.
- Therapy. There are many studies that prove the therapeutic value of animals. Anyone who has an animal in their lives knows that they listen to us and do not judge us no matter what’s said. They love unconditionally. There are people who aren’t able to share a home with an animal, or a certain farm animal for example, who could reap the rewards of being with one. There are so many folks in stressful situations who could also benefit: veterans, at-risk youth, those on probation or imprisoned, and the abused/neglected (regardless of age). Multiple studies also show that autistic folks benefit from animals. We would like to begin a program with the animals at Rock Run Animal Rescue with a certified animal therapist to help people.
- Education. For the most part, people seem to know there are animals in awful situations. However, I’m still surprised how many folks are not aware of horse slaughter and how many animals are treated in some auction houses and industrial farms. There’s also the issue of the horrors of animal research and drugs like Premarin. We would like to provide education to the public to raise awareness of these inhumane practices involving animals.
Together, we can make a difference in the welfare of animals in many ways. We can do our small part in our community by helping animals in need, helping people keep their animals, helping people through animals, and educating the public. A tall order? Perhaps. But a worthy one. They are worthy of our efforts.
Jodi Kelley, Founder & President
Rock Run Animal Rescue, Inc.
“They are calling…will you respond?”