Spotlight on Kathy Keith

Kathy Keith

Born and raised on a rural farm in Northern Alabama, Kathy relates that she has never been without a pet in her life, except for a short time during her military and college years.   Much of her young years were spent growing up with their farm dog Brownie, who was a beautiful, gentle red-haired “squirrel” dog, as described by her father and brother.  Because of Brownie’s gentle, loving soul, she learned to love the companionship and loyalty of dogs.  Thereafter, they had several other dogs that came on to the farm as strays, but Brownie was the beginning of her love affair with dogs.

After spending 3 years in the military, Kathy moved from the small town of Rainsville, Alabama, to Huntsville, AL to begin her studies at the University of Alabama in Huntsville.  During that time, she took in her first rescued dog.  A solid black, young female German shepherd, given to her by her brother.  He told her it wouldn’t be easy because the pup had a horrible fear of men, and especially men wearing baseball hats.  She found this to be a truly fundamental fear in her beautiful Midnight, but never gave up on her.  Midnight became devoted to her and became her constant companion and protector.

Kathy with the Spice Girls

Soon after graduating college with a BA in Criminal Justice, Kathy met her husband Tom.  It took some time for Midnight to completely gain trust of Tom, but Kathy says Midnight knew a good thing when she saw Tom, and it has proved to be true over their 30 years of marriage.   Not long after meeting Tom, they married and moved to Atmore, AL where Kathy accepted a job with the Alabama Department of Corrections, and hubby began school at the University of South Alabama.  Their son, David was born in Atmore and they remained in the Mobile area until her husband accepted a job in Decatur, Alabama ten years later.

They purchased a small farm near Decatur and along with the farm, they added two beautiful Airedale Terriers, Dixie and Dexter who patrolled the boundaries of their farm and delighted the local delivery men with their antics.  During this time, Kathy made a career change to Information Technology and began a job with the Marshall Space Flight Center’s NISC  (a one call help desk for IT issues over the NASA campus).  An opportunity arrived that would soon put Kathy into the dark world of backyard breeders and puppy mills.   Kathy accepted a transfer to a position in Duluth, GA.

Kathy with Bibbity

After settling her and her son in their new home in Cumming, GA., she saw a sign while driving through a neighborhood advertising “Free Puppies”.   She didn’t stop right away, but as a week or more went by and the sign was still there, she decided to stop to see what “free puppies” meant.  What happened next left a lasting impression of just how terrible humans can be to animals.  The owner took her out to his back yard and around a corner she saw a car hood on the muddy ground with 3 small black puppies and one brown and white pup underneath.  The man told her they were Border collie mixes, and that people came from miles around to get his pups.  Kathy was so horrified by what she saw, that she couldn’t believe it.  The man asked her which one she wanted.  Her eyes were so filled with tears that she couldn’t see clearly, but just reached down into the wiggling bunch and grabbed one.  “How I wanted to take them all, but I knew I couldn’t”.   She walked away with a small black female, shivering, wet and nearly listless.  That small pup she named Yaya, and she is still with Kathy today as a companion and family pet who especially loves Kathy’s husband and son.  But, YaYa’s story wasn’t a perfect one.  YaYa went through basic obedience training, and the trainer said she seemed a natural for agility.  Kathy enrolled her in the upcoming obedience course.  At her second class, YaYa fell off the balance beam and yelped in pain.  Ex-rays revealed both her hips had hip dysplasia and she had floating patella’s on her front knees.   YaYa was treated, and while her agility days were over, she is still able to hike, swim and take long easy walks.  Kathy interjects at this point, “Please Spay and Neuter your pets, and don’t buy from backyard breeders, or puppy mill sellers!” 

Kathy reassures Doc Holiday

In 2006, Kathy again became active in rescue while seeking a perfect companion for their YaYa.  “We knew we wanted a BC mix, so I began searching the rescue pages.  We came across our now Milah at a tiny, rural shelter in the NW GA area, near Calhoun.   The moment we saw this terrified, shivering beautiful dog, we had an idea she was going to be perfect”.  And she was.  It was clear from looking at her that she was pure Border collie, and not a mix.  From that day forward, Kathy knew she wanted to help in animal rescue, but didn’t know where she could help.

The answer came when her friend Cindy Allen called her up one day in 2010 and asked her if she wanted to ride on a rescue transport from Commerce, GA to McMinnville, TN.  Kathy said yes, and from then on she knew what her passion was.  Kathy came in contact with The Dog Liberator’s Vicki Truelove and Khaz Brooks on the very next transport from North GA.  That was TDL’s Rex (Bolt).  Since then, she has transported, assisted in transports, and on occasion provided overnight fostering for both TDL and Good Karma Rescues.   Kathy says “It’s addictive, the great feeling you get, knowing you are doing just one tiny part in saving these wonderful dogs from death and putting them with a caring group of rescues that will place them with the perfect family.  And the puppy breath is a treat too!”

Kathy & Steve Golden

Kathy currently lives in Cumming, Ga., with her husband Tom (who tolerates puppies, sometimes unexpectedly), YaYa (BC/Chow mix), Milah (smooth coat BC) and her current foster, Caylee (BC/Newfie mix) and 3 rescued cats.  She works at an International school cafeteria software company doing Tier 1 technical support.  She enjoys hiking, reading, watching baseball, and most of all, being a part of saving every rescue life possible.  Saving one, four feet at a time.

The current list of dogs that Kathy has helped pull, foster, transport and rescue is too long to include here, but at first glance, I’m counting a minimum of 20!  She is primarily our representative for the shelter in Gordon County, Georgia.  The last two dogs she helped us rescue from that shelter was Doc Holiday and Wyatt Earp.  But let’s not forget Lady Truelove!
All of these dogs are pulled at the last minute.  Just because we want to rescue a dog doesn’t mean we have an available foster for the dog.
When we arrange a transport, we try to squeeze in as many hitchhikers as we can.  At times I feel like an air traffic controller!  This is the case with Doc, Wyatt and Lady Truelove.  Kathy was literally walking out of the shelter, clutching her phone, hoping I would call!
Kathy has been instrumental in transporting dogs throughout the state of Georgia, including the Spice Girls (Saffron and Sage), and Lady Priscilla.  She also had the opportunity to meet Rhys when he was transported from Kentucky.  It’s obvious in all of the photos of Kathy, that she makes a special connection with every dog she helps rescue.

Kathy Keith, the dogs, our adopters, and I want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







3 Comments

  1. becky

    09.26.2011

    i’m so very proud to call Kathy my Friend. this is a wonderful tribute Ms Kathy. thank you for all you have done, still doing, and will continue to do. YOU are a very special person! i love you. thank you TDL this is priceless, just like You<3

  2. vicki

    09.27.2011

    I am honored to know Kathy! She is a wonderful person not only to dogs but to people to. She was a constant uplifting voice in my recent drama, Thank you Kathy for all the pups you have saved and for saving me!

  3. Kristi

    11.03.2011

    Kathy,
    I left you today with one of my boys, Justice. Please love and pray for him, as we will. Thank you for finding us, and for starting Justice on his road to joy.

Leave a Reply

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers:

%d bloggers like this: