In 2009 a young man adopted a dog from our shelter. A Husky mix that we had named “Boyd.” Boyd was just a wonderful dog. He was friendly, gentle and loved everyone he met. And while not a puppy, he was an active, “non-couch potato” sort of dog. So when he was adopted by a young man, who seemed equally active, it seemed like the perfect fit. I could see them hiking the hills of West Virginia, running in the park, and Frisbee chasing in a field somewhere. Boyd that is. Not the man.
So it was shockingly disappointing when a year later, Boyd would come walking back through our door beside the same very teary eyed young man. It seemed that Boyd’s owner was being deployed to Afghanistan and none of his friends or family could or would take Boyd into their homes during his deployment so he felt he had no other choice. Few things touch me more than a man crying but this soldier going off to war on our behalf in tears over his dog was more than any of us could handle. There was not a dry eye in our shelter lobby when he hugged Boyd good-bye.
I can’t recall all the specifics, except that within 24 hours of his arrival back in our shelter, one of the rescues we worked a lot with contacted our rescue coordinator and said they wanted him. In fact one of the Rescue’s Board members specifically wanted to foster him. Apparently she, upon reading his story on our website had shared the story with her husband, who insisted that they help Boyd.
You see, while the wife had been actively and heavily involved in the rescue for some time, Boyd’s plight was hitting a little closer to home. As their two sons had also just been deployed overseas. The thought that this young soldier would, like their own sons be dealing with all that entails with leaving your family, home and loved ones would also have to have to leave his dog behind in a shelter with the uncertainty of his future, was too much to fathom.
They would take him in and foster him until a forever family could be found. And they were prepared to keep him for however long that took.
Boyd captured their hearts in no time and stayed with his foster family for several months. Honestly, I really expected that they would decide just to make it permanent and was a bit shocked when we got word that Boyd was being adopted. I supposed I may have been a little disappointed when this news came as somehow I felt like Boyd’s story should end with the passing of him from one soldier to the family of two others. But this was not to be Boyd’s happily ever after as somehow fate would have a different ending for Boyd’s story. Well maybe not quite so differently after all.
Apparently there was a family with a young son and daughter who had recently lost their dog of many years. “Dad” had promised the kids that they could get another dog as soon as he returned from a trip he was on. When the family heard of Boyd and his story, they knew he was the dog!
As ironically the trip that “Dad” was returning from was his own deployment in Iraq. And before long the entire family would be meeting Boyd. And without even a glance back, Boyd was jumping into the car as if somehow he knew that what had brought him from one soldier to the home of two others was also taking him into the home and life of another. Service to our country would make him homeless, help him find his foster home and then take him home again.
I only regret that I could never share these pictures with Boyd’s original owner, the young man that returned him that day as I was never able to make contact with him despite my sending a letter to his commanding officer where he was in training. It’s been over five years since Boyd found his new family and these pictures still put a lump in my throat. I’d love for him to see them too and know how loved he was and that he was still a Soldier’s dog.
Categories: Shelter Facts