By TARA BARNWELL • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
About a year-and-a-half ago, Liz Keller bought Mossy Creek Kennel in Cherry Valley, changed the name to “El-Liza’s Dog House at Mossy Creek Kennel,” and adopted the motto, “The Bed and Biscuit Getaway.”
For someone dedicated to animal rescue, the ‘Dog House’ is a passion project.
“We’re so much more than just dog grooming, boarding, and training,” Ms. Keller said. “My background is mostly in animal rescue, specifically dogs.”
She grew up in Queens, New York, and volunteered with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in Manhattan, then opened her own kennel in Sullivan County. She decided to attend veterinary school for an associate’s degree in vet science after holding a job in the banking industry.
“I didn’t like vet science,” she said. “It was too clinical and technical. I started working as a dog control officer in upstate New York and worked closely with the New York State Police investigating cruelty cases. That jump-started my love of rescue.”
“I’ve brought these contacts and expertise to Cherry Valley,” she said. “I founded a nonprofit, ‘Rescue Dogs Rescue Soldiers,’ where we pair veterans with dogs. When we hear about a veteran with PTSD or similar situations, we try to bring them together with a dog that matches their lifestyle.”
“It’s amazing how a dog can be a companion and add so much to someone’s life,” she said.
Which brings us to Layla.
Layla, a Mastiff mix, came from a good family but, in Ms. Keller’s words, “had some problems,” including the need for a front-leg amputation.
“The family was great but couldn’t care for her,” she said. “So we rescued her. We took care of her medical needs and now she’s better than ever. She’s up and running like nothing ever happened.”
“We’d love to have Layla adopted by someone close by so we can help with any issues that might come up, someone who can handle a special-needs dog,” Ms. Keller said. “She’s a real sweetheart!”
The profits from the kennel side of the business help fund the rescue effort.
“COVID shut us down with donations,” she said. “The regular ways of raising money don’t work anymore so we have to get more creative. The State Police K-9 units and Department of Environmental Conservation use our boarding services for their dogs. We also have personal donations that help, as well.”
The Dog House at Mossy Creek Kennel currently offers 20 dogs for adoption. Go to ellizasdoghouse.com for more information.