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A rescue of Jacks
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Teresa Motley and two of her rescued Jack Russell terriers, who live permanently at Raintree Jacks, South Carolina’s only dog rescue dedicated to the small, tenacious breed. Rantree Jacks is located in Cassatt. - photo by Salley McInerney
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Teresa Motley (left) and Shereena “Shadow” Alvarado with several rescued Jack Russell terriers who live permanently at Raintree Jacks in Cassatt. Motely founded the Jack Russell rescue operation in 2013. Alvarado is Raintree’s adoption coordinator. Since 2013, some 500 Jacks have been rescued by Raintree. - photo by Salley McInerney
‘In the Spirit of Rescue’

The Traders of Camden Wine Club will host the “In the Spirit of Rescue” wine-tasting fundraiser for Raintree Jacks from 6:30 to 9 p.m. April 24. The fundraiser will be held at 1607 Mill St., the home of the Ralph Cantey family which owns Traders. The event will include wine tasting, hors d’oeuvres, desserts, a raffle and auction items. Proceeds from the event will be used to help with veterinary bills and the construction of a new kennel at Raintree. Admission is $15 per person. If you plan on attending the event, please contact the Cantey family by emailing darlenecantey58@gmail.com or calling (803) 432-8214.

Starling’s comfort can be found at the end of a gravel road which leads to the top of a hill in the community of Cassatt.

“I had to learn some Spanish so I could talk to her,” Teresa Motley said as she peered into the fenced enclosure where Starling, a 2 and 1/2-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix, raced back and forth.

“Bueno, niña!” Motley called out. “Bueno, niña!”

The small dog, rescued several months ago from the streets of Ponce, Puerto Rico, responded to her native language; her body was a bundle of happy contortions.  

“I’m telling her she’s a good girl,” Motley said. “Having lived on the streets, she’s just a little cautious, but speaking Spanish to her is a great comfort.”

And a great reason for hope.

Starling is one of many Jacks which have made their way to Motley, who, with her husband Brian, operates Raintree Jacks, a rescue facility dedicated to the small breed. Since 2013, 500 terriers from across the United States have been placed in new homes by way of Raintree.

“We are the only Jack Russell rescue in South Carolina,” Motley said. “Our goal is to rescue as many JRTs as we can. We take in unwanted Jacks from shelters, found as strays or owner surrenders. We decided this was what we were supposed to do after losing Torrie, our little rescue from southern Florida, back in March of 2013.

“Torrie was taken from her home where she was emaciated. She lived in filth. After several months here at Raintree, Torrie went from a wild-eyed mess on tranquilizers to a wonderful, loving little dog. It took a lot of time and patience, but it was worth all the effort to rehabilitate her. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge March 23, 2013. We decided establishing a rescue operation was what we were supposed to do after losing Torrie.

“I love Jacks. They are tenacious. They don’t see themselves as small dogs. They are, for the most part, lighthearted, friendly and busy. They are also adaptable to almost any lifestyle.”

Motley picked up one of several Jacks who live at Raintree permanently and held it in her arms.

“These dogs have rescued me as much as I have rescued them,” she said.

Motley has been taking in dogs since she was a child growing up in Virginia.

“My dad told people that if there was a stray within five miles of us, it would find me,” she said.

Likewise, when Motley moved with her first husband to South Carolina, and eventually established Raintree with her second husband in 2013, Jacks in need have found her.

“We have adopted dogs in 28 states; Washington, D.C.; and Canada. We have rescued dogs from 17 states. As of March 15, 500 little furry Jacks Russells have been adopted from Raintree,” she said.

Take Tabitha Two Shoes, a Jack born without front legs.

“We had her outfitted with a front-wheel cart and she is living with a family in Wilmington, North Carolina now,” Motley said.

Or Jagger.

“He had two speeds. Go or asleep. A single man in his 60s called and said, ‘Please let me adopt that dog.’ I explained that the dog was always on the go. The man said, ‘I’ve gained 10 pounds since I lost my dog and I need something to get me up and off my feet.’ I said, ‘OK, come and meet Jagger.’ The man came and Jagger jumped up into the man’s arms.”

Or Bitty Bit, a feral Jack.

“She was scared to death when she came to Raintree,” Motley said. “I put her in a separate kennel with a dog house and for three months I did not see her. But that was OK. I would go in there and sit down and talk to her. After three months, she began peeking her head out of her house. One day, while I was in there reading, she walked up to me. Eventually, I gained her trust. After 512 days, a couple came to adopt another Jack. Bitty Bit was in her bed on the patio. The couple sat down on the patio and played with the other dog. Bitty Bit crept up behind the gentleman and then crawled in his lap. The man was grinning from ear to ear. He looked at his wife and said, ‘This one’s going home with us too.’ Bitty Bit has been with them for three years now.”

Raintree success stories are aided by the rescue’s adoption coordinator, Shereena Alvarado. Everyone calls her “Shadow.”

“Shadow is my righthand man,” Motley said.

“If Teresa doesn’t do it, I do,” Alvarado said. “I handle our website (www.raintreejacks.com), run our Facebook page, do vet runs, scoop poop, let mother Jacks whelp out at my house.”

Volunteers play a large role at Raintree.

“We have a wonderful network of volunteers around the country who will transport our Jacks, pull them from shelters, and get them to us,” Motley said.

Raintree is a non-profit organization, operating on donations and fundraisers. The rescue gets the word out about Jacks available for adoption through social media and usually has a waiting list.

People waiting for Jacks, that is.

“We are particular about the fit of the dog to the family,” Motley said.

So particular, in fact, that Raintree offers a small cottage called the “Treehouse” that out-of-towners hoping to adopt a dog can rent.

“The dog can spend the night and day with its prospective family to make sure there’s a good fit,” Motley said. “Here at Raintree, of course we rescue dogs, but it’s about rescuing people too. When someone loses their beloved canine companion, it can be as devastating as losing a family member. With our Jacks, we have been blessed to have helped heal so many human hearts.”

(To share story ideas with McInerney, email her at salley.mac@gmail.com.)