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Dog's 2,500-mile journey to his 'Forever Home'

  • (Photo illustration) Boomer, formerly known as Badger, traveled 2,500 miles from Texas to Minnesota to Kansas to Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania to his "Forever Home" with Irene and Andrew Hudock in Lake Hauto.
    (Photo illustration) Boomer, formerly known as Badger, traveled 2,500 miles from Texas to Minnesota to Kansas to Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania to his "Forever Home" with Irene and Andrew Hudock in Lake Hauto.
Published January 19. 2013 09:03AM

There's somethings that you will never know about a rescue dog. Things like how old he is, and the name he was called.

When he was brought in as a stray to the Animal Care Services, they called him Badger. Some guessed he was 4 years old, others estimated a year and a half.

The story began on Oct. 28, 2012, when Badger was dropped off at the city shelter in San Antonio, Texas. He appeared to be underweight with a sad look in his eyes according to his "Forever Home" owner, Irene Hudock of Lake Hauto.

"We lost our pet dog, Shadow, a Poodle Terrier mix about a year ago," Hudock said. "He died at the age of 13. He was 6 years old when we got him."

Shadow was one day away from being euthanized when Hudock rescued him from the Carbon County Animal Shelter. His owner had placed him in the shelter on the way to the adjacent Carbon County Correctional Facility.

After Shadow's passing, Hudock returned to the Carbon County Animal Shelter with the hopes of finding another rescue dog. Shadow was a 30-pound medium-sized dog, and Hudock wanted a dog about the same size, preferably a bit smaller. At the time she checked, the CCAS had only large dogs.

Hudock decided to search a suitable rescue dog on the Internet, where she discovered

"It's like shopping for a dog," Hudock said.

On, she found Badger, a medium-size silver-colored Schnauzer/Poodle/Westie mix. Badger had been rescued through Tracy's Dogs of La Vernia, Texas. The clock was ticking because Animal Care Services is a 72-hour euthanasia shelter.

"If you don't pick up your dog, or if he is not claimed within 72 hours, he is destroyed," Hudock explained.

According to Badger's paperwork, "He was a public give-up, a stray," Hudock said. "I can only assume that he was brought in by someone who found him on the street."

That day, Tracy's Dogs of La Vernia, Texas found three dogs that needed to be rescued.

"They took the dogs for a walk to assess their behavior how he walks on a leash, how he behaves with humans. Does he snap? Does he bite? Does he have any issues? That's how they assess whether he would be adoptable," Hudock explained. "They decided Badger was. But they were hoping that he would go to a family of only adults because they felt that because of his youth, that he could snap or bite."

Over Tracy's objections, a Minnesota couple with two small children found Badger adorable and adopted him.

"Apparently they were told not to leave the dog alone with the young children without supervision. But they did. When the child gave the dog a bone and then tried to take it away, the dog snapped at the child, causing an injury that required four stitches."

Having been adopted for only a month, Badger was placed in the Blue Ribbon Kennel in Burnsville, Minn.

"They didn't pay as much attention or feed him as well there as they did with the pets that were paid for," Hudock said.

Badger was rescued from the Blue Ribbon Kennel by Becky Roecher's Rescue of Topeka, Kansas. Roecher noticed an injury to Badger's side, possibly from being kicked. Becky Roecher notified Julie Stevens of HUGS (help us get safe) of Barnesville, Pa., who listed Badger on Petfinder, and sent out a message to dozens of rescue groups across America.

"That was New Year's Eve, Dec. 29, the first day it was posted on Petfinder," Hudock said. "Just as soon as she had posted the ad for a 'schnauzer poodle', I saw the posting and called her. She said that he was being rescued from, Kansas. The next day I emailed my application for him."

Application in place, arrangements had to be made to get Badger from Topeka to Julie Stevens' HUGS in Mahanoy City. Like the pre-Civil War era Underground Railroad, there is an equivalent network of pet-loving truckers who help the rescue conductors.

Tom Beard is just such a man. On Jan. 5, 2013, on his return trip, the trucker picked Badger up in Topeka and two days later, at 9 p.m., deposited him at HUGS.

At 5 p.m. the following day, Julie Stevens took Badger to Lake Hauto, to the "Forever Home" of his adoptive parents Irene and Andrew Hudock.

"When he first came in, he growled because he thought it was another handoff because the poor dog has been in so many places in the last few weeks, and so many hands have been taking care of him," Hudock said. "By the next day, he took over the house ran around as if he had always lived there."

Oh... and Badger is no longer Badger. He's now Boomer.

"We didn't like the name Badger," Hudock said. "My husband is a railroad enthusiast. He thought the best name should be Boomer a railroad term for men who used to travel from railroad to railroad. We thought that would be appropriate for this dog who was handed from person-to-person over three months and 2,500 miles."

"In the two days that Boomer's been here, my husband and I lost a lot of weight," she continued. "He always wants to go out for a walk. He is just really fascinated. In the evening, all he wants to do is cuddle."

"Boomer's a well-traveled dog whose future looks very rosy," Hudock concluded.

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