Terron Dodd, 75, is nearing the daunting task of determining who among the thousands of applicants will be his housemate in beautiful Whycocomagh.
Little did he know his Kijiji ad would garner this much attention. Posted five days ago with the title Live in Rural Cape Breton for Free, it has waded into viral territory, garnering more than 35,000 hits as of Saturday afternoon.
“Oh my gosh, I’m buried under the number,” said Dodd with a laugh. “I thought when it was posted it might take longer than two weeks to get enough applications. We’ll have to stop soon.”
The ad will remain up for at least the next few days, but Dodd remains unsure when he’ll finally settle on the right roommate.
Resumes have been flying in from across the country, from as far as B.C. Dodd, who’s disabled and largely confined to a wheelchair, is looking for a personal care assistant. The pay ranges between 30 and 35 grand, and accommodations are covered. Dodd also happens to be quite a conversationalist.
The sweepstakes winner will live in rural Cape Breton, on a 100-acre piece of property, surrounded by pristine nature. Have a family? They’re welcome, too. Nothing wrong with his digs either: “a passive solar log home and two bedrooms, a loft and a half bath - for yourself,” states the ad.
“You can grow a garden, keep a cow and chickens (if you want) and enjoy all that Cape Breton has to offer (music, culture, the outdoors, great people and more).”
Dodd, who’s also a busy wood worker, is determined to stay in his beloved home for as long as he can. His youngest daughter had been living with him but she’s bought a house closer to her workplace, in Cheticamp, and is looking to move out.
“I do not want to be surrounded by buildings, concrete, asphalt and all the traffic and diesel buses. I look out my window from where I sit at my desk and see the view that’s out there. I read of some celebrity paying millions of dollars for a house and I bet you they don’t have a better view than I do.”
His oldest daughter, Faith, wrote the ad under his direction and has been monitoring the applications at they pour in.
“They’re in the thousands, some are applying over and over again, so it’s been kind of overwhelming for her. But, boy she knows how to get things done.”
Dodd, as his ad clearly demonstrates, is looking for a very particular sort. A certified continuing care assistant would be nice but not required. But being pleasant, strong, a non-smoker, as well as being a good cook, are.
“Must have an interest in gardening and tending plants (I have a big garden and greenhouse). You'll want to care for chickens. You're a bit of an odd jobber - handy, and more importantly interested in all kinds of projects. You enjoy a rural setting - You can lift 50 lbs (stacking firewood, shovelling snow, etc.)”
Dodd is currently getting regular home care, but it has its limitations, he said.
“Some of them object to hanging clothes on the line. They can’t do everything you want them to do. They can’t go to the store for you, there are liability concerns.”
Dodd realizes that some might be a little suspicious of his advertisement, the idea of living with a man you’ve never met.
“But I’m not much of a threat to anyone,” he said with a chuckle. “They’ll see that right away.”
He’s hoping his ad will spark a trend of sorts in the province, inspiring other seniors in his predicament (needing constant care) to take to Kijiji to find their ideal caregiver.
“The provincial government should be encouraging it. We have a province with an ageing population and a lot of younger people who would like to stay here and find work. It just makes sense, doesn’t it? ”