Funding Status

We recently received two separate donations of $5000 for the shelter rebuild, but we still have some way to go until we can completely fit out the new shelter. We do not have funding for interior doors, an epoxy floor coating to make the concrete impervious to fluids as required, the dog kennels and cat housing, or the septic work necessary to reopen.

So near and yet so far … after an electrical fire destroyed our kennel and took the lives of most of our precious fur babies, Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals, a non profit, no kill animal shelter, was finally able to obtain the permits necessary to proceed with rebuilding the kennel.

We obtained our demolition permit and the charred building, a painful reminder for those two years, was finally razed.

Next, with a permit in hand for the foundation, the footing and foundation were poured and other preparations were made for the new building. The concrete floor was poured and once that set, Morton Buildings arrived on site to erect our steel building. That is now done, with the exception of some final finish work.


With the funds we have remaining, we are starting work on the electrical, rough plumbing, HVAC, and sprinkler systems. We are also putting up walls in the lobby, cat rooms, bathroom, and grooming room.

We are holding fundraisers and seeking corporate donations to help meet the increased costs of completion, but we need the help of all of our supporters.

Please consider making a donation, small or large, using the GoFundMe link above. Help Sweetpea rise from the ashes and be a part of our rebirth. Together we can make this happen. We need the help of all of you to reopen our doors to animals in need. All of the donations will go directly to the rebuilding.

Thanks to Our Supporters & Volunteers!

Our special thanks go to Juno’s place and to our volunteers and supporters who have been fundraising for us. We have the most constant, warm-hearted supporters in the world – and we are constantly thankful for all that they do. Thanks also to the many generous supporters and local corporate sponsors of Sweetpea Benefit events.

Our friends continue to help with fundraising – many thanks to Juno, of Juno’s place, for her help!

The Phoenix is Rising …

We now have the shell of the new shelter in place, with plumbing, wiring, and

To build the shelter it was more than just throwing up a building!

Before that could even happen were permits and design plans and more permits!

A percolation test (colloquially called a perc test) is a test to determine the water absorption rate of soil (that is, its capacity for percolation) in preparation for the building of a septic drain field (leach field) or infiltration basin. The results of a percolation test are required to properly design a septic system. The septic system itself is close to $100,000!

And so much more that I can’t even get into because my little head will explode!

But now that the building is up we are not done. We need inside walls, doors, fixtures, electric, heating units, floor,sprinkler system, and so much more!

We need properly constructed cages for the dogs (not crates from pet stores, but little rooms that accommodate dogs according to code). We need up to code dog kennels and outside runs, plus banks of cat cages.

That’s why fundraising is so important right now – please see the Gofundme link to the right!

We are also looking for sponsors and corporate sponsors. If there is anyone out there who has a business or works at a business you think maybe willing to help … please email us (address below) or private message @sweetpeafriendsofrutlandanimals on Facebook, and we will send you the sponsorship information!

Shelter Construction Proceeding

9/10/2018 Thank you to the volunteers who helped place and tie the wire reinforcement for the concrete floor that will be poured soon-Alan Pulkkinen, Kevin Sandberg, Bonnie Courtemanche, Melanie Kenadek, Dick Clark, and Mary Clark.


We had an extra special building inspector come to make sure the wiring was all present and correct! Stella, one of our rescue dogs, came to add her sniff of approval:


Shelter Building Has Been Delivered!

8-20-2018 Today was a very busy day:
* Underground Plumbing Inspection! Passed!
* Fill soil brought in so it can be filled and more insulation before concrete floor poured.
* End of driveway cleared a bit on edges for truck delivering our building.
Then we reached a very important milestone in the rebuild process here at Sweetpea.
We took delivery of the new shelter building — our building is coming in the driveway!
See the video of the first truck pulling in!


We could not have gotten this far without you, our Sweetpea family — THANK YOU!
We still need your help fundraising to furnish the interior — please donate to our Shelter GoFundMe, above.
A huge THANK YOU to Diesel, the best construction supervisor around, Lyons Plumbing and Heating, Amidio Bros Inc General Building Contractors, Morton Buildings, Inc. and Cole Contracting!


Shelter Building Preparation in Progress

8/14/2018. Today our guys removed the weeds that have grown in the foundation while we wait for our building to be built in the factory.
The use of this machine has been donated by Ahearn Equipment, Inc.
We are so grateful for their donation!
The rest of the week the guys will be busy installing the floor drains and the floor from Lyons Plumbing and Heating in preparation for our building, built by Morton Buildings, Inc. in Westfield, to be delivered next week.
We need your help still to finish the interior.

Please donate if you can – we have quite a way to go, yet!

Thank you all. With your help we are now in stage 3 of rebuild!
Hoping for a grand opening at the beginning of 2019!


Foundations Poured and Leveled

The foundations were poured and leveled (May 9) – we are starting to see the working shelter in place.


Shelter Rising!

Our shelter is rising from the embers – the forms were put in place today (April 4) to pour the foundations!


Groundbreaking Ceremony

February 22, 2018. The Sweetpea Board and Volunteers have just held the groundbreaking ceremony for the new shelter. The pin has been set and the construction crew are preparing for the foundation to be poured.  There is a saying that it hasn’t happened until you see the photos, so here are the photos!

The Board of Directors celebrating groundbreaking for the new shelter.
The board and officers, left to right: Samantha Clark, Bonnie Courtemanche, Melanie Kenadek, Deborah Young, Richard Clark, Jennifer Parisi, Gabrielle Savage, Kelly Robinson, Mary Clark.


The Building Committee Celebrating Ground Breaking for the new shelter.
The Building Committee, left to right: Mary Clark, Bonnie Courtemanche, Melanie Kenadek, Dick Clark, Tom Savage, Jim Parisi. (Missing is Brian Bowman).


Our younger volunteers celebrate groundbreaking.
Jennifer, Samantha and Dick stand with two of our younger volunteers, Sarena Kenadek and Ashley Hutchings.

Older Rebuilding News

Jan 19 2018: We now have permission to demolish the previous shelter building and demolition has started – here is Dick Clark, our founder and Chairman, surveying the demolition work!
We hope to start construction of our new shelter within a few weeks (depending on snow conditions and weather).

Our Variance and Special Permit were approved at the Zoning Board meeting and we have been granted a Permit to Rebuild our Shelter! 🙂
This photo shows a few Happy Sweetpea Faces – Thank you to all the Volunteers, Neighbors and Paxton residents, supporters and Town Officials, for your support!

The Zoning Board of Appeals voted 5-0 on Oct. 19 to grant a special permit to Sweetpea Friends of Rutland Animals, Inc., to reopen, and voted 4-1 to grant a variance for the setback from the road. The setback variance was required because the existing buildings are too close to the property line, as the building was built before the zoning law was enacted.

💖 SWEETPEA STRONG! We are so thankful to all of you for your ongoing support!


Fire & Rebuild History

For years it has been our ambition to buy or construct a rescue shelter, as the Rutland/Paxton area has no animal rescue shelter. After years of fundraising, we took out a mortgage on a boarding kennels on Pleasant St., on the border of Rutland and Paxton. We took possession in Fall of 2015 and we were renovating the shelter building, when we suffered a disastrous fire on Sunday 11/22/2015, most likely caused by an electrical fault. Our main animal shelter building was destroyed and we lost the lives of many cats and dogs. Six dogs and a cat were recovered and adopted out, after the fire.

We can’t replace the animals who perished in the fire – our lost fur-babies will always be in our hearts and our memories, but we can continue to rescue animals as we move on and rebuild.  The response to our disaster has been heartwarming and overwhelming.

Sweetpea would like to thank everyone for their quick support and for their ability to come together as a community in order to help us. We wish to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for the outpouring of sympathy and practical help that we have received. We have a long way to go, but we will rebuild.