I have been a volunteer since 2010, but got a lot more active after I retired in 2013. I primarily do transports, and also do home visits in my area and represent BSR at SEWE every year.
My favorite thing about being a BSR volunteer is being able to help Boykin in need of a helping hand. I have to try real hard not to bond with every one of them I come in contact with. I was scared stiff during my first transport, no doubt about it.
I would tell someone thinking about volunteering to just do it. There are so many different jobs available that there is something for everyone. The look on a Boykin's face when you do something for them is love with no bounds.
Editor's Note: Fred has driven thousands of miles to get many Boykin's to safety. He does long hauls for special cases that multiple legs would be very difficult for. He is a true BSR hero!
I joined BSR in 2004, I inquired about a female Boykin named "Mille" and have been involved ever since. That inquired led me to becoming a volunteer. When I first joined, I worked in Ivey Sumrell's region.
I have fostered, transported and consulted. Over the years I have been BSR's Merchandise Coordinator, Co-Executive Director and Executive Director. Currently, I transport and am available to provide support in any way that BSR asks.
My most recent foster was BSR PFC "Boogar Roux". Sadly, we lost our beautiful Boogar in May. We are "Boykinless" for the first time in a long time.
What I love about BSR are the dogs, the volunteers......and again, the dogs! I feel Blessed to have had the pleasure of meeting and helping so many Boykin's over the past 13 years. I have adopted three incredible Boykin's: Yoo-Hoo, and owner surrender at 11 years old; Charlotte, aka Monkee Butt, because she was hairless on her hind end and a stray with more issues that I can remember; and Boogar, also an owner surrender at 12 years old.
My BSR story would be complete without mentioning Annie, a blind stray from Greenwood, SC. She was in a shelter with a horrible, contagious infection oozing out of her nostrils. Their wonderful manager, Angie, called me and told me about the dog I named Annie. I said yes, we will take her. They had her groomed, and the groomer notice her belly. She was pregnant.
Annie was blind, pregnant and heart worm positive. Oh my. Never. A First. And, hopefully, the last. Thanks to so many folks, Annie delivered pups and lived a great, loving, safe and secure life in Florida after delivering her pups.
I have, what I would consider, many life long friends that I never, ever would have met had I not joined BSR. Great dogs and great people, what's not to love?
I initially had a fear of BSR, or any rescue, putting me on the spot when asking to help out. Ivey cleared up that misconception of mine in our first meeting. In BSR, you get to step up and offer to help. Sure, you may get called on to see, if by chance, you are available to help, but you will never be pressured, period. It's called volunteering for a reason.
If you are teetering, just do it. You won't regret the time spent volunteering for BSR and making a positive difference in a dog's life. There are many areas in which to volunteer- it is not all fostering- and everyone has something to give. As mentioned above, if the time is not right for you to participate, you can easily say no. But hold on to your hat if you say "yes" because there's a great chance you will meet lots of Boykin's (some in need and some already living the good life) and lots of Boykin lovers, just like you.
Editor's Note: Allyn has been an integral member of BSR since inception. She has held several roles within BSR, and we continue to rely on her and her knowledge of our history as we build on our future.
Are you a BSR Volunteer? We want to hear from you! Tell us why you love to volunteer. No matter how you help, it is so important to us. We would love your thoughts, and would love photos too! Join our #whyivolunteer campaign! We will be sharing these on social media to spread the word, so others will become involved. Send your #whyivolunteer stories and photos to email@example.com today!
BSR Junior Volunteers in Action!
These are some very hard working, cool kids!
BSR PFC "Suzie", Loved by Steve Trickett
BSR Alum "Chaco", loved by Alex Mozingo
BSR Alum "Fozzie", loved by the McRae Family
BSR Alum "Chipper", loved by David & Robyn D'Agresta
BSR PFC "Boogar Roux", loved by Allyn Johnson & Keith Spencer
BSR Alum "Red", loved by the St Cyr Family
BSR Alum "Dixie", loved by the Nettles-Horseman Family
BSR Alum "Gunni", loved by the Roseborough Family
2018 Gallery of Adopted Dogs
Oats' Journey by David D'Agresta
Our entry into Boykin Spaniel Rescue started in 2014 with Chipper, BSR #869. We’d had Boykins for over 15 years, and at the time had two great girlkins. We’d been talking about adopting, for all the heartfelt reasons, and were beginning to feel that the timing was right; when I saw Chipper on the Boykin Spaniel Rescue website, I just knew he was the one. He was an amazing boy who came to us at 6-7 years old, sporting only one eye, a big scar on one ear, and unknown scars we couldn’t see. It took about eight months for him to really come out. We bonded. He always looked to me, trusted me, wanted to be there, anywhere, with me. At home, Chipper was a serial toy hoarder. Leave a toy unattended on the living room ﬂoor? He’d slip out of his bed, quietly snatch it, and return to his bed with it. His bed was his own toy box, but he’d let his sisters raid his stash without complaint, only to re-gather, over and over. If you met Chipper you loved Chipper. He was mellow, easy going, and liked everybody, young and old. But take out the shotgun, go out to the ﬁeld, and he was the quintessential, relentless, Boykin. He won ribbons in club roustabouts, and was featured on a BSR T-shirt for the 2018 Spring Nationals called “The Hunt Is On”. He loved to sweep the dove ﬁeld after shoots, retrieving other hunters’ lost birds to hand. On most Saturday mornings, Chipper, along with our two girlkins, could be seen sitting up in their own chairs on the patio of a local coﬀee shop, to be admired, petted, and photographed by passing customers, a perfect ambassador for BSR. He was a star. Then, last year, at age 11, he was suddenly gone, taken too soon by a brain tumor. My boy...Chipper...was gone....damn it, and there was no dog that would ever take his place. And with that empty hole in the gut feeling, we told ourselves that we’ve got two great girlkins, so let’s just relax and enjoy them.
But we are BSR volunteers, too, and sometimes the phone would ring for a home visit or transport. One afternoon, my wife, Robyn, was contacted with a more difficult-to-consider request. BSR had recently been contacted about a young pup that could not be kept from wreaking havoc on the other critters on the owner’s farm, and in particular, those of a winged variety. So here was a dog who exhibited qualities that mark it as a dog with fantastic natural birdiness, yet living in a home that could not nurture that quality. The owner was more comfortable doing what BSR refers to as an “owner assist” meaning an outside-of-BSR placement with an approved adopter, but I was still not sure that I could handle another dog so soon after Chipper. So I told her no, I don’t think I’m ready, not yet. It’s only been four weeks.
When the phone rang again the following week, it was to say the owner was back in town after a trip and really needed to move this dog, could we just go meet him and see where it goes? If he needs to come into BSR because you’re not ready, I was assured that even temporarily fostering him and getting a bead on his nature would help BSR make the right placement. As with every dog that comes into BSR’s care, the organization is looking for what the dog needs to lead the most fulfilled life possible and which foster, then adopter, can give them that. I know that system works as I had seen it with my Chipper. And so, even if we weren’t ready to adopt, Jeannine asked, could we get the dog out of harm’s way and get him on his first steps into BSR? We were the closest volunteers with the past experience that suited this dog.
With a sense of foreboding, I agreed, and I called the owner. They were a nice family with a hobby farm, but they admitted not having done enough research on the breed. The more marketable qualities of Boykins—being beautiful, good natured and family friendly—had overshadowed the fact that they are bred to be bird dogs. They had some ducks and chickens, amongst other livestock and, thinking he was an average farm dog, left “Otis” to his own devices some of the time. Operative word here is “had” ducks and chickens. Just before he turned a year old, “Otis” discovered them, and set about collecting them. The ducks went ﬁrst, then the chickens. Nothing gruesome, just collecting. They tried to keep him behind a 5’ wire fence with a 4’ gate. I’m certain Otis laughed as he cleared it on his way back to the duck pond. To the Mrs., it was the last straw, to Boykin people, that’s potential! Ok, you’ve got my attention, but I’m going to be very deliberate, I say, I’m going to evaluate him, I say, this isn’t an automatic thing I say. I just don’t think I’m ready, I say.
I met Otis on the next Saturday, and from the ﬁrst moment, it was obvious he never meets a stranger. He was all puppy. A silly, rough and tumble, undisciplined goof, that makes you smile. He submitted willingly to a leash, walked easily, was reportedly crate trained, housebroken and liked car rides. After talking with the owner for a while, we loaded up, and headed home. Once home, he needed a basic clean up, so we groomed, washed, clipped nails, dealt with ﬂeas and a few ticks. Of course, he had a “nerves accident” on the tile, just a little pee, no big deal. He settled in his crate that night, and I told him he was sleeping in the bed of a past King. You’ve got BIG paw prints to ﬁll buddy, if you intend to sway ME.
….to be continued!