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Family links lost dogs with new homes

February 11, 2002

Family links lost dogs with new homes



By MARLO BARNHART
marlob@herald-mail.com


HAGERSTOWN - Rob and Ronda Linck know they can't single-handedly commute the death sentences of every unwanted dog in the world but the Hagerstown couple is determined to save as many as they can.

In the past four months, the Lincks have matched up more than 100 dogs with homes from their www.missinglinckrescue.com Web site on the Internet.

"Those dogs represent all breeds and were placed in homes in Massachusetts, North Carolina, West Virginia and Pennsylvania," Ronda Linck said.

She and her husband said they are often overwhelmed but remain steadfast in their resolve to rescue dogs who otherwise would be euthanized in shelters.

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"We are affiliated with Petfinder.com, the largest and oldest virtual animal shelter," Ronda Linck said. That network arranged more than half a million adoptions last year alone.

Always an animal lover, Ronda Linck said she started with birds by accident a few years ago when she and Rob were passing a yard sale in the pouring rain.

"There was a pair of cockatiels sitting in a cage and I told Rob to stop ... I couldn't bear to see them sitting out in the rain," she said.

In no time, the Lincks had accumulated 48 birds that nobody wanted anymore.

Then about two years ago, a woman e-mailed Ronda Linck about birds and mentioned that she had a toy Maltese dog.

"She said that she couldn't breed the dog because it had bad knees so she was going to take it to a shelter," said Ronda Linck. "I ended up giving away two $500 birds for that little dog."

But as the same little puff of a dog walked into the Lincks' living room, it was plain to see that they had gotten the best end of the deal.

"This little guy is the joy of our lives," Rob Linck said.

After that, the Lincks got involved with Maltese Rescue, a group that tries to find homes for that particular breed of dog.

"I started fostering dogs. After 13 or more, I really began to understand the principles of rescuing these animals," Ronda Linck said.

The Lincks established a working contract for the dogs/new owners that spells out spaying/neutering requirements, inoculations and other necessary procedures to make sure all dogs are properly cared for.

"Our adoption fee is $200 for spayed/neutered dogs and $150 for the others plus the agreement that the dogs must be altered by a certain date or the contract is void," Ronda Linck said. "We can take dogs back and we have."

All of the adoption fee usually ends up going for veterinarian bills and sometimes even more out of the Lincks' pockets. But still the couple feels compelled to do what they can do.

"I feel like it's my calling," Ronda Linck said. No longer able to work outside the home because of illness, she does as much as she can for her dogs with help from Rob and their two sons, Joshua, 11, and Travis, 9.

The Lincks wish more people would agree to foster dogs for short periods of time until they can be adopted. That effort alone saves many dogs from being put to sleep.

"We're like a halfway house for dogs," said Rob Linck, who runs an advertising and marketing business from home.

The Lincks' computer is constantly barraged with e-mails from people who have dogs to place and people looking for dogs to adopt. "I get over 3,000 hits a week on our Web site," Ronda Linck said.

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