Rose McGowan - Charmed Companion to Animals
By Merritt Johnson
Mar 4, 2005, 20:38
Photo by Jean Paul Aussenard/WireImage.com
First you hear barking behind the door about ankle-high when you knock, more of a friendly “Hello” than a vicious warning. Then the door opens and they are staring, eyes wide, heads tilted, their way of checking you out. Then you sit down, and there’s the immediate jump in the lap, curl up and cuddle. As you sit and talk and scratch the warm, loving, sleeping furballs in your lap (never mind the suit), you suddenly realize you’ve just been suckered into falling in love with two Boston terriers, Bug and Fester. But this might never have been possible if actress and animal activist Rose McGowan (WB’s “Charmed”, “Scream”) hadn’t rescued them in her campaign to give mistreated Bostons loving homes.
Always compassionate toward animals, her love for Bostons began eight years ago when she visited a popular Hollywood mall pet store. She remembers, “I didn't even know I wanted a Boston. But Bug's little feet had fallen through the metal cage floor, she was standing in her pee, and she'd been marked down twice.” She knew that in “pet store world” that was a very bad sign. “There was no way I could look at her sad eyes and leave her there.”
Six months later she went back and bought Fester. “I was looking at it as a very high-priced form of rescue.” Fester was scrawny, underweight, and obviously too young to be away from his mother. “He tried to nurse off of my arm.” Not cute and fat like Bug, he was sickly, had an eye infection, and had a piece of metal in his stomach. “He was a wretch.” She couldn't leave him in those miserable conditions either.
Rose subsequently worked with a music producer, BT, who rescues and fosters Bostons. “He has friends who break in and rescue dogs from Boston puppy mills.” They have even succeeded in shutting some of the mills down. “The idea of a Boston liberation group is genius.”She started visiting Boston websites, including Boston Terrier Rescue Network (BTRN), just to see cute puppies when she began reading about rescues. “The stories would reduce me to tears and fill me with so much disgust for humans. Out of the blue I decided to start donating.”
About ten years ago, Susan Hunter, Linda Trader, Susan Miller, Kelly Pankatz, Vivian Blanton, Carol Westinbrooke and Patti Stott established BTRN, a non-profit whose mission is providing financial assistance to Boston terrier rescuers to help curtail extraordinary medical expenses. Many Bostons often require extensive and expensive medical treatment before they can be placed in homes, in addition to high-quality food, crates and bedding, toys, vet care, and most importantly: TLC. Until that time, no such resources existed.
Primarily on the Internet, they solicited donations, gradually establishing a mechanism for allocating funds to financially strapped Boston terrier rescuers. With no official headquarters or paid staff, all rescuers are volunteers, many of them personally paying rescue-related expenses. While some of the larger rescue groups have become largely self-sustaining, virtually all of the smaller "Mom and Pop" groups have no outside financial support. According to BTRN President Frances Moody, “A rescue volunteer will spend hours each day caring for their rescues, picking up new dogs, reviewing potential placements, and ensuring that the rescues receive a loving home.”
Frances’ introduction into Boston rescue was similar to Rose’s. In 1997, while searching for a purebred Boston terrier, she drove to West Virginia to see a litter. Susan Hunter, the breeder, also a rescuer, encouraged Frances and her husband to volunteer in Boston rescue. Finally agreeing to provide occasional transport for Bostons, they had no intention of fostering rescues.
Eventually they found themselves keeping the rescues one night, then a couple of days, then weeks on end until it became their life. “We would get a telephone call or e-mail about a Boston needing a home, and would drive several hours to pick up the dog, have it checked by a vet, integrate it into our home, and care for it until we found the right placement.”
“On one occasion, we had thirteen Bostons in our home.” They ranged in age from three months to thirteen years, and Frances insists, “Regardless of age, we found them, as a breed, to be friendly, loving, energetic and eager to please.”
The number of Boston terriers needing placement has increased dramatically, mainly due to the breed’s growing popularity. Anything from a lost dog, to an owner’s death or illness, to a cruel or abusive environment, creates a situation from which a Boston may need rescuing. BTRN identifies cases of truly extraordinary need and supports the situation as much as possible, but since BTRN is restricted to assisting with only major medical needs, the volunteer still bears most of the rescue expenses.
Rose first contacted Frances last year, when she made a generous contribution to BTRN. Both Frances and Rose contend that had they known then what they know now, they would never have bought from a store, or a breeder. They'd get a rescue. Rose adds, “But that would mean I wouldn't have the true loves of my life.”
In addition to her own two Bostons, Rose has personally rescued and placed at least one other, the first of what she is determined will be many more. On her birthday, Rose McGowan asked her friends to make donations to the BTRN. “I realized that I don't need or want more stuff.” Having fallen in love with Bug and Fester, her friends donated generously. It amounted to a considerable contribution, which will go a long way in helping BTRN and the needy volunteers who selflessly give to deserving Bostons.
Through their website, their annual auction and other means, BTRN encourages people to donate in support of the BTRN mission. Whatever the amount, all contributions are welcomed and applied directly to the medical needs of Bostons in rescue.
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