Who We Are at Strachan Strays
Kate and I met while both attending The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. Originally from Melfort, Saskatchewan, I made my way to Ohio on a scholarship to play hockey for the Buckeyes. Kate is a Michigan born, but Cleveland raised girl who made the smart choice of choosing Ohio State over Michigan. We met through a mutual friend at the end of our freshmen year, but did not begin dating until our senior year in 2006. In Kate’s junior year she made a fateful trip to a local animal shelter. She was mourning the recent loss of her grandfather and thought that some time playing with dogs would be a therapeutic experience. Little did she know that this trip would be the spark for a lifelong passion. That day she met her best friend Soder. As it turned out, Soder was supposed to go home with a family that same day. While Kate was playing with the then teething puppy Soder, the families’ young boy came over and Soder nipped him on the hand. The little boy turned to his mom and said, “This one bites,” and the mother responded with, “Maybe we should go look at some other dogs.” After leaving Kate to play with Soder for another ten minutes, the mother returned and mouthed at Kate, “If you take him, we will take another one.” That was the moment that changed Kate’s life forever. Soder was rescued two days before his scheduled euthanasia, and Kate became a rescue parent for the first time.
Over the past seven years Kate and I have moved all over North America, as I’ve been lucky enough to realize my dream of playing professional hockey. While playing for the St. Louis Blues, we met David and Kelly Backes. Now two of our best friends, their impact on us could not be overstated. Up until that point I have to admit that although our passion for animals was there, we were still naïve to the realities of the pet industry. In St. Louis we saw how terribly animals were mistreated at puppy mills, how stray and abused dogs were forced to live their lives, and how amazing the people are who dedicate their lives to fixing this epidemic problem. We became involved with two no-kill shelters in the area, Five Acres Animal Shelter, and Stray Rescue of St Louis. While volunteering with Five Acres, Kate and Kelly Backes went on a rescue mission to a local puppy mill. They brought home 32 dogs, and we decided to foster an American Bulldog that we named Bowser. He was a little over a year old, and had never been out of his cage. At first he couldn’t even walk up stairs. Bowser quickly became a part of our family. After having him for just over a month, Bowser passed away suddenly. He collapsed one day while on a walk. After performing the autopsy, the veterinarian found that Bowser had the worst case of heartworm he had ever seen. Heartworm is easily preventable, but in an effort to save money, puppy mills won’t give their dogs the medication necessary to prevent it. Bowser passed away because a breeder wanted to save a few dollars. We had him cremated and bring his ashes with us wherever we go. He was only in our life for a short time, but our experience with him taught us so much. He is always with us, and he is a driving force for what we do.
Soon after Bowsers passing we decided to foster another dog. There was a purebred Cane Corso named Raja at Five Acres. She had a tough life up until that point. She was just a year old and had already been through two homes. During her short life, she had been neglected and abused. When Raja was surrendered to Five Acres she was nervous and very apprehensive of new people, especially men. After spending some time with Raja and becoming familiar with her story, Kate and I decided to foster her. After having Raja at home for barely a week, and seeing how well Soder and her got along, we signed the adoption papers.
Raja and Soder have become best friends, and both have changed our lives forever.
Since our time in St. Louis, Kate and I have lived in Columbus, San Antonio, Chicago, Ft. Lauderdale, Calgary, and now are currently in Hershey PA. Raja and Soder travel everywhere with us, and we proudly carry our rescue stories with us. We try to foster dogs and become involved in every city we live in. We feel very fortunate to have met so many special people in our lives, who opened our eyes to see how immense of a problem overpopulation and overbreeding is in this country. After seeing how large of an impact a simple conversation can have on people, we have begun this website in order to create as many conversations as possible. Through education and the sharing of resources and stories, we hope anybody reading this can take the time to evaluate their options the next time they are looking for a special pet at home. Hopefully, like us, you will come to the same conclusion as us, don’t shop, adopt!
WHY ADOPT DOGS?
- You will get a healthy pet
- You are helping to improve your community