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Cape Breton man finds caretaker through Kijiji ad

Terron Dodd’s campaign to find a live-in caretaker, which attracted worldwide media attention, at his Whycocomagh home is finally over. He’s hired two sisters from Quebec. The woodworker was feeling relaxed while selling his wares at Halifax Crafters Society’s Winter Market on Saturday.
ANDREW RANKIN • THE CHRONICLE HERALD
Terron Dodd’s campaign to find a live-in caretaker, which attracted worldwide media attention, at his Whycocomagh home is finally over. He’s hired two sisters from Quebec. The woodworker was feeling relaxed while selling his wares at Halifax Crafters Society’s Winter Market on Saturday. ANDREW RANKIN • THE CHRONICLE HERALD

Thousands of resumes later and Terron Dodd, 75, finally has a housemate.

Two housemates, actually.

It’s a package deal. Two sisters from Huntingdon, Que.

That’s what his Kijiji ad for a live-in caretaker that went viral last month got him.

The seasoned woodworker, who copes with multiple sclerosis and uses a wheelchair, is feeling good about his decision after the pair travelled from their home province last week to meet with Dodd at his rustic home in Whycocomagh.

“It seems like we’ll fit together alright,” said Dodd, who was selling his wooden spoons at the Halifax Crafters Society’s Winter Market on Saturday. “They wanted to live closer to the Atlantic coast. It became clear to me that the things that I want, they would naturally enjoy doing themselves.”

That includes raising and butchering sheep on his property. They meet the other criteria laid out in his “live in rural Cape Breton for free ad that garnered international attention and more than 40,000 hits.

They’re up for gardening and tending plants, caring for chickens, being an odd-jobber, as the position demands. They’ll both get free rent in his rustic, solar cabin that sits on 40 hectares of beautiful backcountry property.

The youngest sister, 26, who has experience

caring for seniors, gets the primary job and the $36,000 pay that comes with it.

The eldest, 29, is also expected to earn her keep.

“One of them had sent me a picture butchering a deer. . . . That means they can raise and butcher sheep for me.

“One makes high-quality stuffed animals that are more accurate representations of the animals. She has the same kind of creative approach as me and she can always think of something more and something different. I’m that way, too. I think of more things than I can actually carry out.”

They are expected to start next month. There are a few details yet to iron out, including criminal record checks. There will also be athree-month probationary period.

The process of whittling down so many applications was exhausting, he admits. His daughter, who handled most of it, got the stack of resumes down to about 30. Some dropped out of the running and eventually he settled on two applications, which included a couple from Springhill.

“I wish I could send her to someone else because there are bound to be more people that, in Cape Breton particularly and in the province, could use her help.”

It means his current caretaker, Natasha Googoo, will be out of a job soon. Though Dodd would prefer not to replace Googoo, the Nyanza resident owns a home and is married with two children.

The pair say they’ve become like family, with Googoo picking up a few new gardening and woodworking skills from Dodd. She also accompanies him to weekend markets in Baddeck and Mabou. She was with him in Halifax over the weekend.

“He’s an amazing person,”

said Googoo. “He treats me as one of his family members. I’ll miss him.”

Dodd’s been a staple at the Halifax Crafters Society’s market. Fellow vendor Anne Pryde said he’s been a welcome addition and she’s happy to hear he’s finally found a housemate.

“He missed a show last year and so many customers came through the door and said, ‘Where’s the spoon man?’” said Pryde. “They look forward to seeing him and he’s a great storyteller. I’m glad that he found someone that will fit well with him.”

 

-Andrew Rankin

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