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An idea generated during a recent dinner conversation has taken off, and local animals without houses are the ones benefitting from it.

Roofs 4 Rover is a program that accepts new and used dog houses in all sizes that are in good condition. Houses donated are given to those in need, and will provide shelter to animals during winter-weather conditions.

“The extreme cold and all the snow we’ve had, in addition to the economy, are the main reasons the program was started,” said Wendy Garber, who heads up a six-person volunteer team that makes up Roofs 4 Rover.

“We want to make sure that as many pets as possible have adequate shelter,” she said, noting it is just as important for pets to have good shelter during the hot summer months.

Pet owners in need of assistance with shelter for outside animals can contact Roofs 4 Rover and receive a house at no charge.

Though Roofs 4 Rover has only been in operation since January, Garber said they have already delivered houses to 13 animals.

“The owners have been very receptive and appreciative,” she said.

Garber said the volunteers have been amazed by the number of people who have contacted Roofs 4 Rover about having a dog house they aren’t using.

“We have 10 to pick up right now,” she said.

So far, a larger response has been received from people with houses to donate rather than those in need. Approximately 20 houses are now available for dogs without shelter.

Volunteers are storing the houses in their garages while awaiting delivery.

“All anyone has to do is contact us,” Garber said.

Knowing the size of dog that will be using the house prior to delivery is a help, according to Garber. “We usually bring more than one size,” she said, adding that some of the smaller houses could be used by cats.

The igloo and plastic houses are the easiest to pick up and transport. “We also accept the wooden houses, but we did have one case in which the house was too large for us to take,” she said.

All of the Roofs 4 Rover volunteers have full-time jobs so pick-ups and deliveries are usually done in the evenings and on Saturdays.

Roofs 4 Rover is concentrating on the Washington County/Johnson City area, but if there is a need outside the area, Garber said they will do what they can to help.

Dog houses can also be dropped off at the Clothesline located on North Roan Street across from Boones Creek Middle School in Johnson City.

Garber owns the Clothesline, a consignment store that buys and sells a variety of women’s and men’s casual name-brand clothing, shoes, hats, coats, purses and belts.

Those visiting the shop should not be surprised to see Rocky, Garber’s gigantic 8-year-old mastiff, who comes to work with her every day.

Garber is a native of Johnson City, but now lives in Jonesborough. She is a member of the Washington County Humane Society Board of Directors.

“This is my passion, my way to give back,” she said. “I’m really interested in seeing where it goes.”

For more information about receiving or donating a dog house, call or text (423) 612-3512 or e-mail roofs4rover@gmail.com.

— Karen Sells

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Roofs 4 rover

Wendy Garber is working to make sure every dog has a house

Buddy, a 9-year-old Labrador/golden retriever mix, received his house through Roofs 4 Rover in January. Buddy was adopted from the Washington County Animal Shelter and now lives in Chuckey.