How Two Fast Friends Healed a Broken Heart: Save Ohio Strays Spotlight

Ask Sandy Caldwell—founder of Save Ohio Strays—what makes her most proud about the work they’ve done in the past seven years and she’s quick to tell you about the people that have helped this all-volunteer rescue. Some of them regularly give over twenty hours each week, and it hasn’t been in vain. To date, they’ve saved over 2,300 pets.

But ask her what she’ll always remember, what she thinks about to make it through days like today—when Pit Bull mix Duke was returned after they thought they had found him a home—and you’ll get a different answer.

She thinks about Buster and Rosie—two Boxers—and Scotty Kennard, the man who gave them a home.

When Buster and Rosie came to Save Ohio Strays, they had only known each other for one day. Buster had been brought in after being rescued from an animal cruelty case. He had a large tumor on his leg. Rosie had been at a shelter for a month. She was pregnant.

It didn’t take long for the two purebreds to become fast friends. By day three, they were squishing together in a crate to cuddle. On day five, Buster went in for surgery to have the tumor removed and to be neutered. Rosie refused to eat until Buster came back. A month later, Rosie gave birth to eight adorable Boxer mix pups. Buster played midwife, giving his encouragement from six feet away.

“They raised the puppies together, even though they weren’t his,” Sandy says. “Don’t assume dogs can’t have the same type of love we have for one another.”

She was so inspired by the love they had for one another that she kept them for five months, hoping someone would adopt them together.

But two Boxers can be a lot of work.

One-hour west, in Willard, Ohio, Scotty Kennard was still grieving the recent loss of his Boxer of 12 years, Shiloh. He was searching, hoping to find a pet he thought could fill the void left by Shiloh, when a friend came down to his office.

“You have to see this Boxer,” she said, pulling up a picture of Rosie.

The two of them made the trip east to meet Rosie and see if she would be a good fit. At the rescue, Scotty saw the bond Rosie shared with the badly scarred Buster, but when Sandy mentioned she was hoping someone would adopt the two together, he was hesitant.

Two Boxers can be a lot of work.

Scotty and his friend left the shelter in silence. It was broken two miles down the road, when she turned to him and said, “You’re going to take them both, aren’t you.” That was the moment he knew he would.

“There was a bit of an adjustment period,” Scotty says. Buster was so protective of Rosie he would intimidate anyone that tried to pet her. Even so, after the first two days of having both dogs home, Scotty called Sandy Caldwell in tears. “They made him so happy,” she said. “He didn’t think any dog would ever be able to fill the void left by Shiloh, but they did.”

It’s been three years since Scotty bought Buster and Rosie home. They go everywhere with him. Everywhere. He likes to say they’ve gone from the doghouse to the penthouse. Buster went from being abused to being given the best care and home a dog could ever hope for, as well as a person that has stuck by his side through two ACL surgeries.

They’re the piece that was missing in his life. He’s what was missing in theirs. And he’s the reason Sandy Caldwell keeps rescuing.

Scotty will be the first to tell you: taking them both home was hard. But it was totally worth it.

Two Boxers can be a lot of love.


Save Ohio Strays

The all-volunteer team at Save Ohio Strays has been working with shelters throughout the state to place sheltered dogs at risk of being euthanized with forever homes since 2005, and their work has not been in vain. In the seven years they have been active, they’ve seen the placement rate climb from 60% to 92%. We’re proud to have Save Ohio Strays as a Shelter & Rescue Partner. To learn more about them or donate to their mission, please visit their website or like their Facebook page.