Billy died on January 19, 2022. We provided Billy sanctuary as he resided at the shelter for 9 years. Since any of us can remember, Billy found the most comfort and utility in BarkPark #2 here at the shelter, nearest to our office.
When he was young, he wandered around the Lemhi Valley of his own accord. Seen as a feral dog living on his own, the shelter received many calls about a black and white cow dog that no one could catch! He managed to survive unencumbered by restraint until someone was able to corral him in a horse trailer, then notified the shelter. Only by sedation could we manage to actually secure him on the shelter grounds.
Our staff and volunteers over the years spent countless hours trying to socialize and pet him, but to little success. Together, staff, volunteers, and Billy himself adjusted to his living arrangement at the shelter on the terms that he could manage.
He was certainly no burden – Billy was not only the recipient of sanctuary, but he earned his keep! He was quite invaluable to the staff and volunteers at the shelter. There is something about how he would get along with each and every dog that arrived at our door. When freshly arrived pooches were scared, nervous, or skeptical of their new surroundings, we could always trust Billy to bridge that gap and show them that they had nothing to fear anymore.
Like Ol’ Red, who himself passed merely weeks before his sanctuary counterpart, Billy will be missed. He was a shelter icon and always a favorite of shelter employees and volunteers. He was an odd dog, an enigma; we could never quite figure him out. But, we all accepted Billy’s approach to life and never forced him to be anything other than what he was. He had a happy life at the Salmon Animal Shelter. He died in the arms of one of his caretakers – that one lucky person who was finally able to hug Billy.
As we start a New Year, we honor their memory by working hard and achieving better outcomes for our adoptable pets. Our resolution is to have no other dog (or cat, for that matter) stay at the shelter for 9 years (or even 1!) again. Not because we didn’t love them, or that we think they were unhappy here, but because the shelter is not a home. We safely shelter them and YOU bring them HOME.