Monday, August 08, 2011

French Fry Diary 254: Booger the Fry Loving Dog

My friend Terry Willitts has guest-blogged for me here before at French Fry Diary, and at Welcome to Hell as well, a few times. Here is another entry from him, one that started with a conversation on Twitter. I'll let Terry take it from here...

"Booger, the shelter mascot who loved fries"

I've been an employee of the West Volusia Humane Society since 2004. The WVHS is a non-profit animal shelter that has been around since 1955, and since 1999, has been a no-kill shelter. It's run solely on donations, and its tagline is The Little Shelter With The Big Heart.

In 2004, one of the "office dogs" (mascots, if you will) was an English Mastiff (or just Mastiff, as they were the original Mastiff breed - the other Mastiff breeds were created by breeding Mastiff with another breed) by the name of Bridget, though everyone usually called her Booger (or "Boogs" for short.) She was a big dog, weighing about 140 pounds in her prime, and by the time I started working there, was easily 9-10 years old. (Like the majority of the animals that end up there, she was found stray, so there was no way to know exactly how old she was.)

Booger was well loved by just about everyone and had quite the personality - unless you were another dog. She only tolerated one other dog, and that was her best friend, Annie, who is still the mascot at the shelter to this day. Any other dogs, Booger thought did not belong in her office or on her property, and if she saw them, she'd usually act all tough.

There's a story told from a few years before I worked there. One of the employees was leaving the state, moving away, and on their last day of work, pizzas were ordered in for a little pizza party. Shortly after the pizzas arrived, everyone went outside for a group photo. When they went back inside for the pizza, they found one of the boxes, open and upside down, on the floor. When the box was picked up, there was no pizza in sight. There was, however, a very sated looking English Mastiff.

By now, you're wondering why there's a person guest-blogging about a dog at an animal shelter who likes pizza. Well, as much as she liked pizza (and she LOVED pizza, obviously), her favourite food in the world was French fries. She spent much of her day sleeping in her office (she and Annie had their own office, it's true), but nothing would snap her out of slumber and bring her into the front office like the smell of French fries. Any time any of our helpers or volunteers would run to the burger joint for food, I'd always make sure that they got a small order of fries for Booger (and Annie, of course) to have.

Even if they didn't get some for Booger, she'd come out and beg for them - and if they didn't want to give her any, she was tall enough she could take them right out of the lap or hands of anyone seated.

Sadly, she developed cancer and on Saint Patrick's Day a few years ago, the hard decision was made to have her put to sleep, as the treatments for the cancer were not helping and she was feeling more pain than we felt was fair to her. However, that day, we made sure we had burgers and, more importantly, fries, for lunch, so she could have her favourite meal one more time.

The West Volusia Humane Society is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in DeLand, FL. As the economy has worsened over the past few years, donations (which are the sole funding for the shelter) have not been coming in as much. If this story touched you in any way, please visit the WVHS website and make a donation (either via PayPal or mailing in a check - it's a tax-deductible donation!)

Terry Willitts is an employee (formerly full-time, but cuts had to be made, and after thirteen months of unemployment, they were able to hire him back part-time) and blogs over at This is really the best blog ever. and tweets as cr8dv8 and would love for you to follow him on either.

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1 comment:

Gailyw said...

Ohhhh Annie and Booger!!! What precious dogs!!! How cute they loved French fries too!!!!! Such a lovely story Terry thanks for sharing :)