Al Boulanger... SRCI's New President
On behalf of SRCI, I want to welcome Al Boulanger as our new president. He has been a member of SRCI nearly 4 years, but began rescue work with Indiana Sheltie Rescue (ISR) over 5 years ago and adopted one of his fosters, Angus, about 4 years ago. Al clearly has an active life with shelties and his other varied interests. There will be more about Angus (and agility) further on down.
First off I want to congratulate Al on the several positions that he holds in his community. He is also vice president of Pawsitive Partners Agility Club of Indianapolis, a two year old club that I believe Al has contributed a lot too. He has held past positions as treasurer and secretary in neighborhood associations and has been a board member for about 8 years in the Indiana State Numisimatic Association, which he explains is a state wide club for coin collectors (holding a membership of about 400). I have dabbled in coin and stamp collecting and was unaware of such an organization. I am always glad to learn something new. Our lives can be so full of dogs that one can sometimes forget of all the other aspects of our lives.
Al and his lovely wife are owned by 3 Shelties and a pound puppy, Missy, a 14 year old Lab/Beagle mix. (I sense that ‘rescue work’ with dogs has gone on a little longer than Al is admitting to.) Their first Sheltie, Tuppence, was purchased from a reliable breeder “before we knew about rescue,” says Al. Tuppence is now 10 years old so Al’s family is watched over by 2 senior dogs.
Next came along Angus, the rescue from ISR, who clearly has stolen his owner’s heart, as Al writes with pride about Angus’ personal growth and accomplishments. Amazing what these rescue dogs can do in the right environment! Angus had been abused and was terrified of people. Al worked with him for 6 months before starting him in agility to help build his confidence. After a year of slow and steady progress, Al set a goal for Angus to compete in the Sheltie Nationals in St. Louis. Angus and his personal coach trained hard for two years, attending many classes, seminars and competitions to prepare for St. Louis. Given the right coach, athletes can often exceed their own expectations, as was the case with Angus. His improvement was such that Al began to worry about keeping up with his “little champion.” The coach now had to coach himself! Attending the Nationals is quite an accomplishment, even if the pair was just shy of 3rd place. Well done to both coach and athlete!!
Number 3 sheltie, Kia is a 2 year old SRCI rescue. She had been surrendered by a pet store due to a mysterious heart murmur. She now also runs in agility (not one vet she has seen can find any sign of a heart problem). Do you suppose she was ‘faking it’ to escape her surroundings for a better place?
What a smart little girl.
Al tells me he was given a Boston Terrier on his 6th birthday and as an only child, Pepper, became not only a little brother, but also a constant companion for Al. Apparently Al’s father had a Boston when he was growing up, and loved it so much that he wanted Al to have a very similar experience. What a wise father! Pepper lived on with Al for 9 years. Unfortunately, Pepper, then died during surgery for a hernia. That must have been a tough loss for his 15 year old companion.
Genealogy is another interest of our president. Al has traced two branches of his family tree back to early New England settlers. One branch arrived in 1710 and became one of the founding families of Lancaster, PA. (The question is, what breed of dog did they settle with?) Another branch goes back as far as 1639.
The need for foster homes is of great concern to Al and he is committed to working on this problem during his presidency. He points out that due to our great work with the ‘puppy mill’ dogs that we have lost several of our foster spaces, as several of us adopted our fosters last year. (Wiggles comes to mind!) Last year was a year of rescue that we should all be proud of and now we need to go out and recruit new foster homes. GET GOING!
Thanks, Al, for your time.
LL, rr (Wiggles mom)