Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals, Inc is a non-profit, no-kill animal welfare organization, dedicated to the rescue, care and placement of stray, abandoned and surrendered companion animals in central Massachusetts and beyond. We are located on the border between Rutland and Paxton, MA. Thanks to public and corporate donations, we can nurse the needy animals back to health, update their vaccinations and get them spayed/neutered as needed before placing them in warm, caring permanent homes.

About Sweetpea

Dick Clark, the Rutland Animal Control Officer (now retired), and a small group of concerned citizens founded Sweetpea For Animals in September 2000 after the rescue of a very sick and scared dog who had been used as a breeding factory. She was given the name Sweetpea — we promised her a better life and she inspired our rescue and its logo.

odSweetpea soon gave birth to six tiny puppies, who unfortunately died from an infection within days.  After a long recovery period, including a month of intensive care in a local veterinary hospital, Sweetpea was adopted into a loving family at the Treasure Hunt Farm in Rutland. Sweetpea was renamed OD for Other Dog. After an adjustment period, she thrived for several years with her new family and the barn animals including three farm dogs. Sadly, on November 11, 2003 we lost our beloved OD to renal failure. We believe she lived between 12 and 14 years. We are grateful for her life and for those who cared for her. Her inspiration lives on – we promised that no more animals in our area would be seen as “disposable” on our watch.

We have a No-Kill Policy. Once accepted into Sweetpea For Animals, no animal will be euthanized unless incurably ill or dangerous. We are committed to providing medical care, boarding, and training until the animal is adopted into a qualified, loving, and permanent home. We rented, then took a mortgage on a shelter on the border between Paxton and Rutland, MA.

We were renovating the property when we suffered a disastrous fire in November 2015. The office building survived but we now need to rebuild the main animal shelter building.  We have renovated the small boarding kennels area in the main building but we cannot succeed without your ongoing help. More than ever, we need financial contributions and the donation of professional services to keep our animal rescue operations running. Rebuilding the main animal shelter will need a lot of money — all of your contributions are very welcome. We still have a good way to go, before our shelter operating fund is stable.

At the annual meeting on February 4, 2018 officers and directors were reappointed for another term.

Sweetpea Officers:
President: Richard Clark-retired Animal Control Officer, founder of Sweetpea
Vice President: Mary Clark-semi retired R.N., animal rescuer.
Treasurer: Jennifer Parisi-Compliance Officer at Sanofi Genzyme
Secretary: Samantha Clark-Associate Relationship Manager of Ecommerce at local company, and long time Sweetpea volunteer.

Officers: Left to right Mary Clark, Vice President; Jennifer Parisi, Treasurer; Richard Clark, President; Samantha (Sammi) Clark, Secretary

Board of Directors:
Richard Clark – Chair
Bonnie Courtemanche – animal rescuer and advocacy/anti-cruelty volunteer
Melanie Kenadek – former kennel manager at Palatine Kennels & Sweetpea Rescue Shelter, bather, brusher at Pampered Pet.
Jennifer Parisi – Compliance Officer at Sanofi Genzyme
Kelly Robinson – Emergency dispatcher
Gabrielle Savage – Animal lover
Deborah Young – Standard Auto Wrecking, founder of Juno’s Place, animal rescue volunteer

Board of Directors: Front row left to right Melanie Kenadek, Kelly Robinson, Jennifer Parisi, Richard Clark
Back row left to right Gabby Savage, Bonnie Courtemanche, Deb Young

Board Advisor: Deborah Lindsey, DVM – Practicing veterinarian


We are always in need of volunteers, although most volunteer work is concerned with the shelter rebuild just now. We are still rescuing, fostering, and adopting animals in need, but we have many fewer animals until our shelter is rebuilt. Volunteer evenings are held monthly – more often when we have fundraising events to plan. Please contact Melanie Kenadek for details, email sweetpeafora@verizon.net.

Sweetpea Governance

The Sweetpea Board of Directors posted a letter to our supporters, dated April 12,2017 to address any misconceptions about Sweetpea’s operations and our shelter rebuild effort.  We now have a fully-constituted Board of Directors again and we are reviewing updated bylaws and policies at our Board meetings, held monthly.

We assure you, all monies donated is accounted for and safe in the Sweetpea bank account. We aim to be transparent in our dealings with the public. To that end, we publish our annual accounts and our board meeting records so that our supporters can see how our organization is governed.

Recent Committee Minutes: Board Meeting Minutes, January 29 2017
Minutes of Emergency Board Meeting, January 15, 2017
Financial Accounts: Financial accounts, 2014-15
Archive: Sweetpea Board Meeting Minutes, 2/4/2016
Sweetpea Board Meeting Minutes, 3/3/2016
Sweetpea Board Meeting Minutes, 4/7/2016
Sweetpea Board Meeting Minutes, 5/5/2016
Sweetpea Board Meeting Minutes, 6/2/2016