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.

The Sweetpea Board of Directors are:

Richard Clark – Founder, President Emeritus, and retired Rutland Animal Control Officer.


Deborah Young – President.  Founder of Juno’s Place, animal rescue volunteer.
Deanna Ahearn – Vice President.  Former 17-year volunteer Bay State Equine Rescue, former animal caretaker & foster for Sweetpea
Diane Lippolis – Treasurer
Craig Reise – Secretary

Board Members:

Melanie Kenadek – Former kennel manager at Palatine Kennels & Sweetpea Rescue Shelter
Robert Proulx
Patty Reise

Board Advisor:

Deborah Lindsey, DVM – Practicing veterinarian.



Volunteer opportunities will be available in the coming months