Tag Archives: ABCR

Bosco’s New Year

From my St. Thomas Dog Blog, Jan. 31, 2011, about a dog named Bosco.

Bosco in Jan 2011, from ABCR websiteI was in Beaver Creek Animal Hospital about a week ago. A beautiful young black Lab was waiting to see the doctor. His tail swished every time anyone walked past him. He licked my hand when I patted him, then he licked my face when I got down to play with him. He was like any young healthy Lab – friendly, ready to play and very, very nice.

His woman said “he’s Bosco.” I said “what did you say?” She repeated his name, and I asked “THE Bosco?” “Well…” “Bosco from the St. Thomas Pound?” She said yes, that was him. I could not believe it.

Bosco in October 2010

I had only seen a picture of him before that – the one below. It was taken in October 2010 after he’d been found in the morning tied on the fence at the pound. He had some horrible skin problem, and he looked like a very old dog.

Bosco in Oct 2010The dog in front of me, a couple months later, had glossy thick hair and he was definitely young. The woman, his foster person,  said “oh yes, we couldn’t believe the change in him when he started getting better.” She said he’s extremely well behaved and appears to have had training. Under the scabs and rheumy eyes was a dog the vet estimated to be between 2 and 4 years old. How he ended up in the shape he was in, and left abandoned at the pound is still a mystery.

Her young kids came back to see what we were talking about. One draped herself around Bosco, and he thumped his tail. According to her mother, the girl had been afraid of dogs before. Bosco taught her not to be. He was in the vet clinic just for a check up before a prospective adopter met him. I don’t know if he’s been adopted or not. If you are interested in the nicest Lab I’ve seen in a long time, contact All Breed Canine Rescue.

Bosco, I hope, has spent these past nine years in a forever home. (Maybe in Minnesota, according to a 2012 comment below.) But ABCR still has lots of dogs looking for theirs. Also in 2010, Bosco and another abandoned dog named Bear were instrumental in improving St. Thomas City Council and Shelter policies and practices for animal care. So thank you, Bear and Bosco.

Roxie Spencer

Roxie Spencer FB Linda Spencer 2019Without Roxie, the city of St. Thomas likely wouldn’t have a dog park. At least not in 2010 when the first one was built. Because, a couple of years earlier, Joe and Linda Spencer wouldn’t have been looking for somewhere their young dog Roxie could run and play with other dogs. They wouldn’t have found a spot in town where lots of people and dogs came every day.

So they wouldn’t have met Luanne Demers, who also came with her dogs. Standing around while dogs played, a lot of us talked about how nice it would be to have a fenced area where we could legally let our dogs run. Lots of people had tried over the years to get a dog park. But no one got very far.

Joe and Luanne, though, had steely determination in their eyes when they talked about it. This time we’ll get it, I remember them both saying. And they did.

There now are two dog parks in St. Thomas, the first Lions Club Dog Park in the west end of downtown and a second at Dan Patterson’s Conservation Area on Highbury Ave north. Plans are being finalized for a third in the south end of town.

Foster mom

Joe and Linda also met Lois Jackson, an animal welfare advocate in St. Thomas. She is a founder of All Breed Canine Rescue (ABCR) that takes in dogs and places them in foster homes while seeking permanent adopters. We could do that, Joe and Linda thought. So they began fostering dogs. Roxie, until then an only dog, loved having canine company.

four Spencer dogs in St ThomasSome fosters were short term, some longer term. One, Forte, became a permanent member of the household. He and Roxie took it upon themselves to look after the other ones and teach them proper manners. Especially puppies! For over a decade, many litters of puppies have come to the Spencer home. Roxie was their foster mom. She loved her job.

Sadly, Roxie passed away a few days ago. She was nearly 12 years old. She will be missed by her canine, feline and human family and friends.

Linda Spencer wrote Roxie’s obituary:

Roxie Spencer, October 2007-September 19, 2019

With great sadness we have lost our best friend. Roxie was only 3 weeks old when we found her in the gully by our house. Not knowing what to do we went to our local vet, and mentioned we would like to foster more dogs. Lois from ABCR was there to guide us.

Roxie with foster pup RileyThere embarked a 12 year long foster home that Roxie was proud to help out with. With over 100 fosters passing through the door, she was a mother, a sister, a friend, a teacher, a companion, a leader, and that one dog that could set anyone straight.

We remember the good times, the car rides, the ones she helped, the raccoons and skunks she kept away – we wouldn’t change a thing. You could be sure to get a smile, wagging tail, a big sloppy tongue kiss and you were never to forget – a belly to rub as you came through the door!

She became the expert at training all the dogs to be good citizens, and not afraid to put the run on them if they dared test her. So many good times, good friends, and the perfect companion.

She will be dearly missed by her family. We ask you, in her memory, to share a local rescue’s post looking for fosters or ask about fostering, and enjoy a car ride with your pup. She loved that!

Dallas, a Shepherd

Dallas was on the All Breed Canine Rescue website under “Mature Dogs.” I had been looking through rescue sites, hoping no dog would Dallas, a Shepherd cross, at home on the couch‘speak’ to me. This gray-muzzled, sharp-faced, squat-bodied Shepherd-type did. It was way too soon.

Our German Shepherd Jack had just died. He’d been with me for 9½ years, rescued at 14 weeks from neglect. He was my friend and touchstone. No other dog could replace him or compete for my affection. But the house seemed so empty. The cats missed him. My husband said no new dog, he needed time to mourn. I missed Jack and the presence of a dog. I took ‘match yourself to a dog breed’ questionnaires. Again I checked ABCR’s site – Dallas was still listed. My husband still couldn’t think of another dog in Jack’s place.

A cat needed a dog

It was a cat who changed his mind. The “boss” cat, she ceased harassing the others and just lay in Jack’s favourite spots, staring vacantly. After a week of this, my husband said “maybe we should get a dog for that cat.” Dallas came for a visit. The cat ran up to her, delighted. Then realizing this dog wasn’t Jack, she hissed violently and stalked off.

When ABCR got Dallas from the pound, she was not spayed and had arthritic or injured hind legs. Most dramatically, she had no hair on her back. “Her skin was like raw hamburger,” I was told. Allergy treatment and special food had cleared up the hair loss. Still, no one really knew what was wrong with her. We were recovering financially from vet bills for Jack and our elderly cat Henry, and emotionally from months of caring for chronically ill animals and the loss of them. Was taking Dallas asking for more expense and sadness? Quite possibly. But she looked like home, like she belonged here.

After a few more visits, Dallas came to stay. She had enjoyed visiting, but expected her foster mom to be waiting to take her home. The day her foster family left without her, she clawed at the door howling inconsolably. I was in tears.

If this is home…

A few hours later, after a good long walk, Dallas looked around and seemed to decide that, if this was now home, she’d make the best of it. She glued herself to me and is very protective. She doesn’t trust men, dallas and elsiebut is realizing that the one in her new house isn’t a threat to her or me. The cats have warmed up to her. Her extended human family welcomed her. My sister seems resemblances to her late Shepherd/Husky. My mother sees our old Shepherd Bing in her. I have taken her to Jack’s grave and to his favourite walking places. I tell her about him and she wrinkles her nose and listens.

She takes pills for hip dysplasia and allergies. A lump on her rear end was easily removed and was benign. Sometimes her legs are creaky, but she plays and chases balls. She’s not Jack, but she is Dallas, a dog who, like him, has adopted us for life. My sister said, “You needed her as much as she needed you.” It’s true.

Part 2: Loss

Dallas died almost three months to the day after we got her. One morning in July she threw up. She seemed ok later, but didn’t want to chase her ball and really just put up with  our walk for my sake. That evening, she was listless. Late at night, she was feverish and chilled. I should have called her vet. I didn’t. First thing in the morning, I took her in. I had to help her out of the car. They couldn’t see anything obviously wrong, so kept her in for observation and tests. She died in the night. No one knows why.

Her gift to us was to fill the void left by the deaths of Jack and Henry. I hadn’t known if I could open my heart fully again to another dog. But Dallas showed me I could. She reminded us of Jack and other Dallas with Dorothy at Jack's grave, Sandy Ridge Pet Cemetery, 2008dogs in our lives. But she was also her own dog, with her own ways of doing things and funny habits.

I was devastated at losing her. A friend said maybe she was a messenger whose purpose was to translate love of, and from, Jack to other dogs for us. Losing a dog is heart breaking, but the loneliness of no dog is worse. We’ll be adopting another, probably a Shepherd type, soon.

Part 3: After Dallas

A few months passed. We adopted Charlie, a little terrier mix, then Leo, a weird Standard Poodle puppy mill survivor. We didn’t so much adopt Leo as he adopted me. He later saw his way clear to adopt Jim too. They are absolutely nothing like Jack or Dallas or any dog that’s gone before them in our lives. I still “see” Jack and Dallas in the house and backyard. I tell Charlie and Leo about them. They don’t much care about my stories, but they love to run and play and snuggle. They’re both part of my heart now.

I started this story in July 2008 for an online dog story competition but didn’t submit it after I had to add Part 2. It was posted on the St. Thomas Dog Blog Nov. 19, 2010.


A Dog’s “Night before Christmas”

NIght before Christmas Dog Nicky an American Eskimo‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
in hopes that Saint Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
with nary a thought of the dog in their heads.
Holly, one of a litter of 7, at ABCRescue Dec. 2010And Mama in her kerchief and I in my cap,
knew he was cold, but who cared about that?

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
the dog must be loose; he’s into the trash!

The moon on the breast of the new fallen snow,
gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
Donner, 1 of 7 pups rescued by ABCR Dec 2010When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but Santa Claus with eyes full of tears.

He unchained the dog, once so lively and quick,
last year’s Christmas gift, now thin and sick.

More rapid than eagles, he called the dog’s name,
and the dog went right to him, despite all his pain.
Prancer, 1 of 7 shepherd mix pups rescued by ABCR Dec 2010To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!!
Let’s find him a home where he’ll be loved by all!!

I knew in an instant there were not gifts this year.
For Santa had made our mistake very clear.
The gift of a dog is not just for the season,
we had gotten a pup for all the wrong reasons.

In our haste to think of a gift for the kids,
there was something important that we had missed.
A dog should be family, and cared for the same.
Blitzen-ON229.18048098-1-pnYou don’t give a gift, then put it on a chain.

And I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,

Author Unknown

Night before Christmas real ABCR dogs

I got this poem in my email yesterday.  Maybe a lot of people will be getting it in their inboxes.  I hope so.  In this adaptation of the familiar and kinda hokey poem, there’s a lot of truth.  The unfortunate part of the truth is too many pets end up in this situation.  The other truth is “you were given a gift – a life.”  That is the most valuable gift there is.

The dogs in the pictures are all at All Breed Canine Rescue, and all are hoping for the gift of a home.  At top is Nicky, the elderly and ill American Eskimo recently found abandoned. He’s the end of the sorry tale told above.

The pictures below him are the beginning of the story.  They are some of a litter of seven Vixen- 1 of litter of pups at ABCRescuepups recently removed from a situation of neglect.   I wonder if they were intended to be sold as Christmas gifts.  It didn’t work out so good.  But, in the spirit of the Season, these are now named (from top to bottom) , Holly, Donner, Prancer, Blitzen and at right Vixen.