For the Love of Mercy

Story submitted by the adoptive family of “Mercy” – a former BTRC foster dog known as “Pyper”

I hardly know where to start this story, but here goes…

We are a family of four, my husband Jake and I, and our two sons, Aaron 8 and Adam 7. Jake is a millwright, I am an accounting technician. I volunteer in the community and for Boxer Rescue Canada, not as often as I would like, but whenever I can. We have two rescue boxers, Gunner and Velvet, and at the time of this story, we had just lost our beloved pug DeJa at the age of 13. We are just your semi-ordinary family, working hard, plugging along, making the best life we can for our kids.

Then June 20, 2013 came. We live on a small acreage just west of a beautiful little Alberta town called High River. That day our town got swallowed up by the Highwood River. It was devastating, still is. Our home got flooded while the river moved toward town and we thankfully, but harrowingly evacuated our home with our skin and fur babies in tow. I can’t even describe in words how horrific that day was and how it has changed our lives.

Now 7 months later, our home and our life is well on it’s way to recovery. But there is one thing that makes this story a bit more unique and the reason I called us a semi-ordinary family. Our sons both have Aspergers Syndrome. It’s a high functioning autism, lots of social awkwardness, gifted IQ’s, anger, frustration, uniqueness, anxiety. Honestly, it’s a constant roller coaster, but we manage and our boys are beyond amazing.

All that being said, the hardest part of this flood for our family has been getting our boys through it. With their Aspergers, they absorb so much of everyone’s emotions, not just ours and people they know, but everyone and let me tell you, the emotion in our town during and after the flood, and even now, is thick and ugly. All that emotion kind of gets trapped in them because they have such a hard time processing and releasing it. It just builds up and then comes out in behaviour, anxiety, rage, depression, it’s not pretty. We were also dealing with our own emotions including post traumatic stress, as you can imagine. Our family needed something to help us get through.

We are avid dog lovers and I have always accredited our amazing dogs in helping our boys deal with the stress they feel. It’s amazing to watch really. But there was a gap that our pug had left that we were all feeling before the flood but only seemed to had grown through the ordeal. We had thought that maybe we would stick to two dogs for a while, but I had fallen in love with a picture of “Pyper”. A Boston Terrier Rescue Canada foster that was in my friend Carolyn’s care. Her crazy blue eyes, long tongue that always hangs out, and way too large ears spoke to me every time I saw a picture of her, plus she was white, just like our boxers, a matched set. She was just semi-ordinary enough for our home. But I figured someone else would snatch her up really quick. But they didn’t…

I only needed to show Jake her picture once for him to know that this little Boston Terrier/French Bulldog would fill that gap we were feeling and help our boys release some of their anxiety. She had to be ours. We filled out the application, waited for the answer and wow when we told the boys that she was ours, they were happier than I had seen them all summer. Now all we needed to do was pick a name. We made lists and narrowed them down and started again and none of them felt right. Not until I said to Jake that I was so looking forward to a little bit of Mercy after such a long hard summer. I swear I can still hear our thoughts collide, Mercy would be her name. We needed Mercy.

As fate would have it, Mercy’s story was unfolding in the hands of my friends. Follow along…

  • She was rescued not from the flood, but during the flood, by a Boston Terrier Rescue volunteer, who is also my friend Wendy, who also lives in High River and was a flood victim
  • She was transported to British Columbia by a Boxer Rescue and Boston Terrier Rescue volunteer and also my friend Kristen
  • To be fostered by yet another friend and Boxer Rescue and Boston Terrier Rescue volunteer Carolyn
  • Then transported back to Alberta a couple more of my friends and Boxer Rescue volunteers Holly & Sherryl who happened to be in BC on a rescue transport at the time.
  • Lastly brought to me, having come full circle, by my friend, rescue volunteer and fellow flood victim Wendy

She was fated to be our girl. Our friends had facilitated her journey every step of the way. The first day Wendy brought Mercy to our home for a short visit with our dogs, she and our male boxer Gunner played and played and played. They adored each other. It was a no-brainer that this was a perfect fit.

I’m thrilled to say that she most definitely belongs here, she owns our hearts, she has helped my sons deal with their anxiety, she makes the most adorable contend little sigh in her sleep, wrestles the boxers like she is one, is a toy hog, always needs a warm body to sleep on and she makes everyone smile, every where we go. Not only that, but her appearance is so unique, she draws people to her, which gives us an opportunity to talk about animal rescue and interestingly enough, diversity. Every single time I bring her to school to pick up my sons, at least one child will ask me or one of my boys, “why does her tongue do that” or “why are her eyes like that”. Each one of us proudly replies that not everyone is the same, we are all different and it’s wonderful.

Thank you for the chance to tell our Mercy story. I’m so privileged for the lessons she has taught us already. She’s a blessing to us. She is love.