FORTY FORT – Dina Civiletti-Rondinella thought she was out of luck after a contractor she hired to install a fence to keep her foster dogs safe took the materials and left without finishing the job.
The fence was supposed to enclose a section of her yard so that dogs she watches over for Blue Chip Farms, a no-kill animal shelter, were shielded from numerous cars that pull into the driveway and parking lot she shares with several other homes.
Her disappointment recently turned to gratitude after a Timothy Rutkoski, local fencing contractor, heard of her plight and stepped in to provide the free materials and labor to finish installing about 39 feet of fencing.
I went away on Christmas day and when I came back, they had it all up, Civiletti-Rondinella said. I was overwhelmed. I still get tears in my eyes that someone would do something like this.
Rutkoski, of Rutkoski Fencing Inc. in Swoyersville, said he heard about Civiletti-Rondinella's predicament from officials at Blue Chip Farms, where she has been a long-time volunteer.
Rutkoski said he and others in his company previously have helped the shelter, donating their time to install fencing for dogs. He felt compelled to help out Civiletti-Rondinella as well.
At this time of year I felt it appropriate to help her out. She wanted a fence for the pets, and I wanted to do something nice to give back a little bit, he said.
Civiletti-Rondinella, 52, of Wyoming Avenue, has been a volunteer foster-dog parent for Blue Chip Farms for three years. The shelter relies on people such as her to temporarily care for dogs and cats while it attempts to find permanent homes for them through its website and Facebook.
She currently has two Pomeranians, Teddy and Nita, that she adopted from foster care, plus a third dog, Toby, a Chihuahua mix, that she took in after another family member could not care for him. She's also caring for one foster cat waiting to be adopted.
Typically a pet will stay with her for a few days or weeks before it's adopted. Giving them up is difficult, but the rewards are great, she said.
She was prepared to give Teddy up, and he was briefly adopted out, but his new owner returned him shortly afterward.
Teddy, who is about a year old, was found wandering in the Back Mountain. The dog had been severely neglected. He had almost no fur, and what he did have was matted and covered in feces, she said.
The dog also lacked even the most basic dog skills. He didn't know how to walk with a leash, never barked and was fearful of people, she said.
After months of tender, loving care, Teddy's made a remarkable recovery. He sat quietly in his mom's arms, falling asleep, as she spoke with a reporter.
She's thrilled his sister, Nita, and brother, Toby, can now join him in the backyard.
The yard doubles as a parking lot for tenants who rent from her, so there's a lot of traffic. There have been several close calls for the dogs, so fencing in a section of the yard was crucial, she said.
She didn't have the money to hire another contractor.
It's touching that someone out there cares so much, she said of Rutkoski.