Meet the wonderful gay couple who rescued over 14,000 dogs

GCN spoke to Danny Robertshaw and Ron Danta, a devoted gay couple from the United States who have flipped their own home into a rescue centre.

This image shows gay couple, Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw, who are smiling, sitting in a golf cart and surrounded by small dogs they have rescued.
Image: Julie J. Prickett

Ron Danta and Danny Robertshaw are a gay couple who have dedicated their lives to rescuing abandoned and neglected dogs. Both professional equestrian trainers, their paths first crossed at a horse show in Aiken, South Carolina, in 1980 – where they discovered a shared love for creatures great and small.

Ron was married to a woman at that time and was struggling with his sexuality. After being married for 8 years, he divorced in 1986.

During that period, Danny was also navigating his own journey of self-discovery as a gay man, allowing him to empathise with Ron’s experiences. This led to a deepening bond between them, with Danny becoming one of Ron’s closest friends. Over time, their connection blossomed into a romantic relationship.

Ron said,”It’s easier in the United States now than when Danny and I were very young in our 20s. But there are still are a lot of people that are anti-LGBT and there’s still a lot of hatred that exists. I find it very sad that in 2023, we’re not better human beings by now and accepting everyone for who they are.”

Growing up with animals was something that Danny felt helped him learn to love his differences throughout his life.

“I think animals were what I grasped to in every moment that I never really had any understanding about myself. Especially when I was feeling lost and feeling like, ‘oh my god, what is my life turning into, can I be one of those?’. Not really realising that being ‘one of those’ was a good thing. Animals were always my go-to from as far back as I can remember. I needed their unsolicited hugs – hugs without judgement,” said Danny.

After the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Danny and Ron embarked on a mission to help dogs left homeless by the disaster.



The gay couple’s rescuing efforts extend to saving dogs from puppy mills, dog-fighting operations and shelters where abandoned animals are going to soon be euthanised.

They never anticipated that their dedication to rescuing dogs would entirely consume both their time and financial resources. The aftermath of Katrina significantly depleted their retirement savings, and the annual costs placed them under constant pressure to secure funds – even resulting in them taking out loans.

A turning point came when an attorney offered to help them establish a non-profit organisation, leading to the formation of Danny & Ron’s Rescue in 2008.

Support now comes from various sources, including voluntary adoption donations, consistent backing from loyal individual and corporate supporters, and the proceeds from their annual Kids Lip-Sync competition – where Gloria Gaynor, singer of the LGBTQ+ anthem ’I Will Survive’, has been an honorary guest for over a decade.

Danny and Ron allowed filmmakers into their homes to make a documentary called Life in the Doghouse, released on Netflix in 2018. All of the net proceeds were donated to dog rescue efforts around the country.

Operating the rescue from their residence in South Carolina, which they now call ‘the doghouse’, has become a sanctuary for these animals. What sets their rescue apart is the dogs’ unique living arrangements. Every corner of their home has been adapted and re-purposed and even their bedroom is not off-limits, as some dogs are allowed the roam the house freely.

At any given time, they can accommodate over 100 rescues, and many have various medical and emotional challenges. Each dog is placed in a specific area of the house, depending on their needs. Every dog has a name tag on their own designated food bowl, and they are treated to weekly grooming, as well as their individual beds getting washed daily – keeping everything clean and in good condition.

Managing the well-being of all the animals demands not only space but also a dedicated team of 33 employees who ensure that each dog receives round-the-clock care and supervision.

The gay couple’s rescuing mission extends beyond turning their home into a sanctuary for dogs. They have become advocates for animal welfare, using their platform to raise awareness about the importance of adoption, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of neutering and spaying.

One of the hardest aspects of the rescue for Ron and Danny is having to say goodbye to each dog that gets adopted. “There’s many times when they get their forever home that one of us has to leave the house so we don’t cry when the doctors come to get the dog. But our lifetime promise that we make to the dogs is that they don’t leave unless they are treated as well as they are at the dog house,” said Ron.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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