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Doggie Dude Ranch worth supporting

Animal lovers are finding their way to a place called the Doggie Dude Ranch in Aubrey, and we can understand why the place has such an attraction.

The business is dedicated to pets that are in transition until they find their “forever home,” according to the owners, and on March 14, it became a nonprofit with the mission to provide the best careless safe haven for pets.

Jon Scruggs, 52, one of the founders of the ranch, told us that he began taking in dogs at his Celina home and wanted to build the business there but was unable to do so. Then Scruggs found the Diamond H Ranch located off Fishtrap Road on the border between Prosper and Little Elm and he knew the six-acre property was a great location to house the business.

The property, owned by Dick and Pat Handly, has a two-story building that once was a horse stable. It has two floors, and the second floor was the owners’ main residence. The owners had been there for 30 years but could no longer live there.

When Scruggs told the Handlys his concept, they agreed to a lease.

“When he told me what he wanted to do, it gave me goose bumps,” Dick Handly said. “My wife and I love animals. I think the idea is outstanding.”

What Scruggs is building, along with his sister, Tammy Smith, 48, and her husband, Mark Aller, 55, is what will become the first foster nonprofit ranch in the state, he said.

“I just want a place without cages,” Scruggs said. “We want a sanctuary where if you bring your pet — your family member — and all of a sudden you have to leave or there is something medical and you can’t keep the dog, you would have the option to bring it to us.”

As people have been finding out about the facility and what the three are doing, many have volunteered to help, the owners told us. Local veterinarians contribute their time and assistance by providing immunizations for the pets. When dogs are taken to the ranch, the staff only charges for the immunizations.

As Alder, Smith and Scruggs come up with ways to let others know of their foster ranch and raise funds, they also deal with daily maintenance. The building needs a lot of work.

“It is totally a work in progress,” Smith said. “The upstairs is totally ripped up. We got builders donating their time, and we work on their schedules. We just got hot water last week. I thought it was Christmas, I was so happy.”

Scruggs said people can rent the property for events, which helps them get a tax-deductible donation, and the funds will be used to help the ranch. The goal is to raise $10,000 this year for needed updates and new paint.

“We are going to raise money to put in a Western general store, but the back of it will be for the dogs, and it will be air-conditioned,” Smith said.

We like the concept of the Doggie Dude Ranch — it’s a great example of caring people working together to find a better way of caring for animals.

Granted, the business can only do so much — most area cities are swamped with unwanted dogs — but it could encourage others to launch similar operations.

It’s the least we can do for man’s best friend.