Kettles passionate about rescues

Lois Wells
 A frequent social cause for celebrities is finding homes for rescued dogs.
For example, Miranda Lambert now has eight dogs at her home and has helped raise more than $3 million in the name of pet rescue.
Even George Clooney, a leading movie star, has owned rescue dogs since 2010. Wanting his first dog to like him, he rubbed turkey meatballs all over his shoes and the two became immediate friends.
With the current social distancing practice, humane societies have had a surprising run on dogs that need to be loved and new owners who have a need to give them love.
In Custer,  Jill and Ron Kettle have taken in 19 homeless dogs in the last 25 years, starting in their home state of Wisconsin.
When they made the move to Custer from Canton in 2006, they brought along nine dogs: Molly, Jake, Charlie, Hunter, Whitey, Katie, Max, Mandy and Rex. Currently, they own four.
With a love for pheasant hunting, Ron, 56, has had a special interest in setters and golden retrievers, calling them “loving, loyal, kind and intelligent.” He admits, as a baby, his first word was dog. Coming home from a day of building construction work, he relaxes by interacting with the dogs.
Jill, 57, Custer Senior Center director, said, “One of our dogs lived until it was 17 years old. Dogs can get the same diseases that humans have. We’ve cared for dogs with mouth cancer, bone cancer, cataracts leading to blindness and kidney disease.”
Hunting in the Murdo area, Ron picked up a “free puppy” at a gas station. Lucy is now 10 years old and runs the house.  Diagnosed with diabetes, Lucy needs to have her blood sugar checked each day.
Jill noted that each dog has a distinct personality.  For example, their golden retriever litter-mates are Teddy (serious) and Bear (a clown).
She says, “Blizzard, our fourth dog adopted in 1998, was a special challenge because he suffered from separation anxiety. He was a big runner and ran away from us in Wisconsin. We eventually located him at a hog farm lot in Iowa where he was covered in ‘you know what.’”
Ron’s favorite breed for hunting would be a Llewellin setter. These dogs are similar to English setters, but are large and are known for their natural desire to find and retrieve birds. Molly, a Llewellin, loved wind, loved to chase leaves in the driveway and was a good pointer, even if it was pointing at a butterfly.
Their Jake and Molly, both acquired in West Virginia, became the parents of eight pups, five also raised by the Kettles.
Jill says, “Even when the pups grew, Molly always tried to mother them.”
The Kettles remind us, “There are so many dogs in need.  And they are miracle workers. They come into our lives for a purpose.  And they give us love and devotion.”
—Submitted by
Lois Wells

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