CHANDLER, Ariz. —
The owner of a Valley dog rescue has made it her mission to help the dogs and people of her community, now she is in need of help to keep her property.
Dee Williams started Rover’s Rest Stop and Ranch more than 25 years ago. The organization started by rescuing and fostering dogs and expanded to include pet sitting and boarding services to help financially support the rescue.
The facility located in the Chandler area usually houses between 5 to 20 dogs at a time.
In the last few years, Williams said she has made moves to buy the property, making it a true fur-ever home for her rescues, which she refers to as “kids.”
She said she saved up money from the pet sitting business and did maintenance work to upkeep the property.
However, like so many businesses across the Valley, the COVID-19 pandemic hit the rescue hard. The pandemic halted travel which stopped the need for pet sitting and boarding services. A booked-up 2020 summer and holiday season was suddenly gone
“COVID hit us very, very hard,” Williams said.
Williams said she is on the brink of losing her property and has had a hard time finding a rental property that will take her and her 15 to 20 rescue dogs.
“They’re not going anywhere without me. So, we will go together,” Williams said.
She could be out in a week with nowhere to go with her dogs.
“I just have to keep going. Everyday, I deal with what I can deal with. I don’t have time to think about it. I don’t have time to, you know, be sad or anything. I have to save my kids,” Williams said.
Throughout the pandemic, Williams said she has tried to help her community the best she can by offering 24/7 on-call pet sitting to local first responders, calling to check in on neighbors, delivering food and taking pets to veterinarian and grooming appointment for those who could not leave their homes and took care of dogs whose owners were sick.
Williams said she is "not asking for a handout but a hand up."
"I know a lot of people are having a hard time right now. I get it. But I have always given back to my community. I support my community,” Williams said.