Recently, a call came in to Animal Control about an injured Chihuahua in a Punta Gorda home.
What they found when they got there was a nightmare.
The dogs were all seized and taken into custody. Blanche and Jacques Boudreau are well-known around the island as “animal people.” They support the Wildlife Center of Venice, have pictures of rescued animals on the walls of the ice cream shop, and have included their pets in the new mural on the walls of The Loose Caboose.
What isn’t as well-known is that they are among the “go-to” people for Charlotte County Animal Control. It all started with a dog that was hit by a car and left on the side of the road. Animal Control was called, but they were about 45 minutes out. The officer at the scene asked Blanche and Jacques if they could take the dog to the emergency vet in Port Charlotte. It was the beginning of a partnership that continues to this day.
One of the nine, Onyx, was left chained to a tree on the edge of the property for years. He was used for “hunting,” and has the scars to show for it. According to witnesses, the former owner hated Onyx, and refused to feed or water him for long periods. He was diagnosed as heartworm positive two years ago, but his owner also refused to get treatment for him during that time. Onyx is now living with Blanche and Jacques. He’s getting ready to come out of quarantine and join the rest of the family for his rehabilitation.
Even though his former owner neglected and abused him, Onyx doesn’t seem to hold a grudge. He is actually learning how to play under the care of the Boudreaus. In a recent email update to Animal Control Officer Reannon Juergensen, Blanche described Onyx as, “really goofy and cute.” Blanche also reports that, “He just chills out and waits for me to get him. He loves to have his belly scratched, and rolls on his back waiting for it. He loves to greet people.”
It’s an incredible change from the dog that she met. While the vet estimates Onyx as between 7-and 8-years-old, when Blanche first saw him, she thought he was much older because of the effects of neglect. Since Onyx isn’t the first dog they have fostered, and won’t be the last, they have learned that some unexpected supplies work really well. “We can always use old crib mattresses, the ones that are covered in plastic and can be bleached. They are great for sick dogs.”
View More images >>The basics are useful, too.
“The Boca Grande Woman’s Club donated doggy blankets,” Blanche said. “When fosters are adopted, we provide collars and leashes, if they are needed, so those have to be replaced pretty regularly.”
While Blanche and Jacque are fostering Onyx and paying for his vet care, there are eight other dogs that are being treated. Any donations towards the cost of that care, especially the heartworm treatment that they all have to have, would be greatly appreciated. Contact Blanche at The Loose Caboose (964-0440) or Charlotte County Animal Control at (941) 833-5690 if you want to help.
Update: As of January 25, all but one of the dogs survived. Three of the dogs are in permanent homes and two are fostered. One is at the Charlotte County Animal Welfare League and one is going to Suncoast. All but one were heartworm positive and have successfully undergone treamtment.
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