BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Former Fort Madison mayor and Burlington businessman Brad Randolph is a man becoming a dog’s best friend.
Randolph worked with the PAW Animal Shelter over the weekend to get more than 20 dogs moved into a former convenience store he owns in Fort Madison.
With temperatures hovering near 0 over the weekend and into Monday, PAW Director Sandy Brown started working with Randolph Saturday to see if the space could be used to keep the animals warm.
“We have 18 indoor/outdoor runs for the dogs at the shelter now,” Brown said. “The rest are outdoor kennels and we have about 62 just outside kennels right now. So I’d been messaging back and forth and he offered to open that up for us.”
Brown said Randolph even told her to turn the heat up.
She said the only dogs currently outside at PAW were Huskies and they are outside enjoying the weather which they are acclimated to. Those animals she said have dog houses and fresh straw and “are lovin’ life” right now.
A new $6 million expanded PAW shelter is in the works and is currently in a fundraising stage.
Brown said that facility will be able to accommodate all the dogs with more than 70 indoor/outdoor runs planned. She said cold snaps like this one are not only hard on everyone.
“Saturday night the windchill was 20 below. That’s hard on the staff, and the dogs. There’s not enough straw in the world to keep them warm on those types of nights.”
Dogs are also being fostered and more than 30 are out in warm homes right now.
“When we did this three years ago we had 62 dogs go out to foster homes.”
Brown said some dogs are being held at other shelters to make sure every dog has a place to be warm.
She said she put out a request on Facebook Sunday morning for help moving the animals to Randolph’s building.
“We got so many responses and people volunteering that we didn’t even have work for some of them to do,” Brown said.
The dogs were moved into the location starting at 10 a.m Sunday and two hours later the animals were safe and warm. Each dog is kenneled with a blanket or a tarp and staff will be their daily to walk, feed and clean up the kennels.
The new facility is still a ways away.
“Six million is a huge elephant and last year because of COVID most of our fundraisers, except for the golf tournament were cancelled,” Brown said.
“We’re taking small bites right now, but the community has been amazing. This community has always been so supportive of PAW.”
Randolph also donated the building before Christmas for PAW’s annual Christmas store fundraiser.