A home for homeless pets

Published 12:00 am Monday, February 27, 2006

By Kari Lucin, Tribune Staff Writer

Though Odean Nelson and his wife Katherine have never gone looking for pets, they’ve managed to acquire three dogs, a cat, and four birds anyway. They even have three horses and lots and lots of barn cats.

The family’s sole inside cat, Jetson, was once a stray. When Katherine opened the door one day, the cat zoomed inside and has lived inside ever since.

The little West Island terrier nicknamed Missy Sabrina was due to be put to sleep because of her heart murmur when Odean and Katherine found out about her, and took the dog in. The family’s German Shephard, Arrow, was left with just three legs after he tangled with a lumberyard truck delivering shingles.

&8220;He doesn’t run as fast as he used to, but he still runs down beside the cars,&8221; said Odean. &8220;You think he’d learn.&8221;

Though Arrow isn’t afraid of cars, he is afraid of thunderstorms and guns, and tries to hide from them when possible.

Only one of the horses, black Arabian Sassafras, belongs to the Nelsons. The other two are both boarders on the Nelson’s acreage near their 1918 home.

&8220;I haven’t really gotten into housebuilding itself, but we’ve put a lot of additions on, probably as big as a house. My partner’s John Rust; we both have our contractor’s licenses,&8221; said Odean, who built the addition to his own house.

He met Katherine back when the old Wal-Mart was the Skyline Supper Club.

&8220;Somebody asked somebody to dance, and I had actually consumed a couple of beers so I was able to do that,&8221; joked Odean. &8220;The next time, I didn’t have any, and so she had to come and ask me to dance. And that’s going to be 32 years ago in May.&8221;

Katherine works for the Albert Lea School District as a facilities coordinator.

&8220;If someone calls and needs the auditorium or the gym, I’m the one that books it. I answer the phone and do the mail, incoming and outgoing,&8221; she said.

They have three kids, Ben, Christopher, Stephanie, and Kelly, a 14-year-old freshman at the Albert Lea High School who plays flute and piccolo in the marching band.

Odean and Katherine spend a lot of time watching Kelly’s parades in the summer, and they also like to ride the motorcycle and the boat when it’s warm enough.

Odean sings in the lead section and as a tenor in Harmony Junction. Katherine knits and does counted cross-stitching.

&8220;We have 10 acres. We can get some hay for the horses, basically it’s an acreage,&8221; said Odean of their home.

Katherine added, &8220;Just enough room for the animals.&8221;

(Contact Kari Lucin at kari.lucin@albertleatribune.com or 379-3444.)