Man Spends 10 Days In Dog Kennel To Help Pets Get Adopted
After his own rescue pup passed away, he made it his mission to help others like her.
“My first reaction was, this guy's crazy."
These are the words of Christine DePaolo, vice president of the Humane Society of Pasco in Pasco County, Florida.
She was referring to her first interaction with Kris Rotonda, a 32-year-old Safe Harbor resident who wanted to spend 10 nights at the shelter, starting on December 28th, 2019.
One of DePaolo's main concerns was that the shelter had nowhere for Rotunda to sleep. While a small mobile home on the property houses the facility's cats and small puppies, the larger dogs spend most of their time in an outdoor kennel with no plumbing or electricity. And, although there is a fence surrounding the kennel, wild animals are known to prowl the yard at night.
Rotonda's reaction? “I'm not scared."
So, he packed up some food and supplies, said goodbye to his wife and two daughters, and crawled into one of the kennel's cages - his “home" for the next ten days.
While Rotonda's actions may seem a bit extreme, he has a good reason. He wanted to raise awareness for the shelter and shed light on the rough conditions the dogs live with while waiting to be adopted.
Rotonda's love for animals started when he adopted his dog Jordan, a shepherd mix, from Pinellas County Animal Services. Jordan helped Rotonda get through a tough time in his life and was there for him when no one else was.
“She saved me and changed a lot for me," he told the Tampa Bay Times .
Unfortunately, in August 2018 Jordan was diagnosed with a rare form of malignant cancer that forms in a dog's blood vessels and moves to various tissues in the body. While Rotonda did all he could to save his beloved pup, including shelling out $16,000 for a surgery to prolong Jordan's life, she passed away two months later.
Here's Rotonda and his daughter with Jordan, about a month before she passed away...
Shortly after, Rotonda started “Jordan's Way," a foundation with a goal to help raise funds and supply resources for shelters in need. The foundation has since signed on for partnerships with top dog food brands like Purina and Chewy, and Rotonda has been raising awareness and encouraging donations in other ways, like staying overnight in dog kennels.
While at the Pascoe shelter, Rotonda recorded Facebook Live videos every night, where he shared his thoughts and experiences and requested donations for the shelter, such as harnesses, toys, food and money. He also shared videos of himself cuddling with the dogs and telling people about them in hopes they'd get adopted.
Turns out, the nights spent sleeping on a cement floor with dozens of howling dogs were worth it. Many of the dogs got adopted, and Rotonda brought in thousands of dollars in donations.
“He's helped clear our kennels out," DePaolo said. “ They get adopted rather quickly after his live videos. Some come the next day, and we've had dogs that come to us and 24 hours later they've got a new home. And one day we had a donation of $1,100 waiting for us."
While Rotonda succeeded in his goal of helping the shelter get back on its feet, something tells us this won't be his last time he'll be climbing into a kennel cage for charity.
Inspired by Rotonda's selfless act of kindness? You may not want to spend 10 nights sleeping in a dog kennel, but you can sign up to volunteer at your local animal shelter. Most places are always looking for people to help with various tasks, from walking dogs to helping process paperwork. Get in touch with a shelter near you today and see how you can lend a hand.
Let's #StartSomethingGood together.