EUFAULA — Jenny Dietsch walks around, points to a husky and calls out his or her name. She does this over and over, recalling each of the dogs' names from memory.
That becomes even more remarkable when she counts more than 100 dogs in her care as part of the Husky Halfway House. Five of them are family pets, but all of the others are rescues.
Dietsch is in her first year of a five-year plan that includes the building a shelter, an animal control facility and dog park.
"You can't drop off your dog because you don't want him anymore. We're a private rescue," Dietsch said. "If there's an issue with one of the animals in town, call the police and they'll call me or my staff. We'll go out, find the dog or cat and take care of it. We'll return it to its owner or bring it here and hold him. We're not an intake shelter. We're more like a teaching shelter."
Of the 100 huskies on her property, Dietsch said 72 were rescued earlier this month from an illegal puppy mill in Wagoner. Of course, the Husky Halfway House will specialize in the type of dog that, according to the American Kennel Club, is recognizable by its thickly furred double coat, erect triangular ears, and distinctive markings.
"I enjoy them," she said. "There's definitely a lot of heartbreak as we pulled these dogs from very horrible conditions. We kept them from being euthanized, abused or they were homeless.
"I like specializing because it's one of he hardest breeds to deal with. I get a call every day from people who can't handle them. They are very high maintenance, high anxiety and need a lot of exercise. They have a special place in my heart."
That's why she left the business of restoring Lotus automobiles and moved from California to set up on more than seven acres outside of Eufaula. It's a place she found on Craigslist.
"I was specifically looking for a piece of property where they had decent weather and I wanted to be outside the city limits," she said. "I knew I was going to be stopping the automotive business and I wanted to do something else. I gravitated toward the dog park/coffee shop and I didn't think about rescuing at this scale until I got here."
Dietsch sold a rebuilt Lotus for $50,000, bought the property in Eufaula in January 2019, became certified as a nonprofit in July and started building on the property in November. She purchased a building for housing the dogs and high fences for the business that will become known as the Eufaula Animal Welfare.
"I need donors, sponsors and donations," Dietsch said. "We run on donations, because we're a public charity."
And, it all started when she bought her first husky in 2016.
"I wanted my 5-year-old to have a puppy," she said. "I didn't get the golden retriever I wanted, so I started searching for puppies. I bought one and three months later, I bought another one. I started joining all of the Facebook husky groups."
Now, her license with the city of Eufaula allows her to only keep 50 of them. She's going to take care of the ones she has and makes sure they go to good homes.
In the meantime, each and every one of the dogs is important to her.
"It's a personal goal of mine to know everybody's name," she said. "I live with them, and it makes a difference."
You can help
WHAT: Husky Halfway House.
WHERE: 121130 S. 4180 Road, Eufaula.