Joshua’s House bookkeeper Karen Cuttone brushes Titan, a golden
retriever that was brought to Joshua’s House Golden Retriever
Rescue and Sanctuary from South Korea at 6 months of age.
mattbeck / Photos by Matthew Beck / Chronicle photo editor
Tallie has urinary issues. Daisy has hip issues.
Archie and Foxy came from overseas and suffer from PTSD.
Sophie arrived overweight and went to “doggie weight loss camp” at the University of Florida for six weeks and required physical therapy to walk again.
Ruffles, not a Golden Retriever but a Yorkie/terrier mix, went through multiple surgeries as a result of abuse and still walks with a limp.
Murphy, a Golden Doodle with a fluffy, reddish-blond hairdo, had a broken back. But after a year and a half of multiple surgeries and therapy, he is now a healthy, active pup.
Parker has a paw defect and had to have part of his toes removed.
Joshua’s House president and CEO Ellen Pavlik, left, and
bookkeeper Karen Cutton work to attach a device to the back end of
Lucky, a rescued golden retriever that has a broken back. The
two-wheeled contraption helps the dog’s mobility.
mattbeck / Matthew Beck
Chronicle photo editor
Lucky was hit by a car and is paralyzed, but he’s lucky to be one of the canine residents who call Joshua’s House Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Lecanto their home.
They’re slobbery and uber-friendly and can be like a pack of furry, tail-wagging, barking bulldozers when someone new comes to visit, but Joshua’s House founder Ellen Pavlik wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I retired so I could do this,” Pavlik said, “this” being caring for mistreated, injured, discarded and abused Golden Retrievers and Golden Doodles, and sometimes other dog breeds, “but no biters,” she said.
It all began with Joshua.
Joshua’s House is a Lecanto-based dog rescue.
mattbeck / Matthew Beck
Chronicle photo editor
Pavlik had been involved in animal rescue for years, but it was a dog here, a dog there, all while she worked as practice manager for Midway Animal Hospital in Homosassa for more than 30 years.
A woman had brought in a puppy to Midway that had been severely abused by a neighbor.
“He had a bandage on his rear leg and the other leg was broken. That was Joshua,” Pavlik said.
The puppy was so damaged that one leg had to be amputated and he had to undergo specialized surgery on his hips.
Joshua came home to be cared for by Pavlik, became the boss of the house and worked as a certified therapy dog.
Joshua died in December 2018 at age 13.
But his name lives on at the rescue and sanctuary that bears his name.
An average day at Joshua’s House
Beginning at 7 a.m., the dogs who sleep in the house are fed, then those who sleep in the barn are fed.
Also first thing, Pavlik posts a daily update for the 60,000-plus followers on the Joshua’s House Facebook page – from news of a dog in ICU to cute pictures or videos of dogs doing doggie things that dog lovers love to see.
As a nonprofit, there’s always fundraising to do, and Pavlik said that often when there’s a need, such as funds for a needed surgery or medical treatment for a newly rescued dog, she posts the amount needed on Facebook and her supporters come through.
“We have wonderful supporters,” she said.
The rest of the day is spent cleaning up after dogs, playing with dogs, caring for dogs, grooming dogs, taking dogs to the vet or up to the University of Florida for extensive veterinary care.
Who stays, who goes?
Karen Cuttone plays with Tallie on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at Joshua’s
House Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary in Lecanto. Some of the
dogs at the rescue will “live their best lives” at the Lecanto
sanctuary, according to Ellen Pavlik, founder of Joshua’s
mattbeck / Matthew Beck / Chronicle photo editor
When a healthy dog is surrendered as a rescue, it’s spayed or neutered, vaccinated and microchipped and evaluated for temperament to see if the dog is adoptable.
If the dog is injured or has medical needs, those needs are taken care of, and most likely the dog stays as part of the sanctuary.
In 2022, they adopted out 45 dogs. So far this year, they’ve placed about 10.
At one time they rescued dogs from overseas – Archie is from South Korea, Foxy is from Romania, and about five years ago they brought in two Golden Retrievers, Ben and Noah, all the way from Istanbul, Turkey.
However, traveling costs became too much for the small group, so now the dogs that come to Joshua’s House are regional rescues.
How can the community help Joshua’s House?
“We always need donations,” Pavlik said. “Our vet bills are around $100,000 a year.”
People can donate through the group’s website at www.jhgrr-fl.com or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ Joshuashouseforgolden retrieverrescue.
People can also shop on Amazon.com Wishlist site “Joshua’s House For Golden Retriever Rescue” at https://tinyurl.com/2prn45nr.
Gas cards are also welcomed to help pay for trips to UF in Gainesville for medical treatment, and Chewy.com gift cards to help buy dog food.
Mailing address: P.O. BOX 513, Lecanto, FL 34460.
Volunteers are also needed. Email Karen Cuttone at: email@example.com.
The phone number is 352-228-7573, but Pavlik requests, if possible, to send a text instead of calling because the volume of calls she gets daily interferes with caring for the dogs.