I am from Ontario; Ana-Maria lived on the west coast. Though it may sound funny, calling someone I only spoke to through phone calls and the computer one of my closest friends, her personality shone just as brilliantly from over 4000 km away.
Ana-Maria’s passion for dog rescue, and the Boston terrier breed in particular, brought us together in 2002. Inspired by her love for her own Boston terriers, Simon and Trinket, Ana-Maria was recruited by The Boston Terrier Club of Canada, and was volunteering as their National Rescue Representative at the time. I will never forget that first phone call. Her enthusiasm – and considerable powers of persuasion – quickly won me over, and I agreed to do whatever I could to help her from Ontario.
It was Ana-Maria’s vision, commitment and hard work that laid the foundation for the present day Boston Terrier Club of Canada Rescue’s success.
As more volunteers joined our group from across the country, and the number of dogs needing our help steadily increased, a separate non-profit organization, Boston Terrier Rescue Canada (BTRC) was formed in 2009, and was granted official charitable status in 2010.
Over the years, hundreds and hundreds of dogs have been saved because of Ana-Maria. The volunteers she has inspired continue to work tirelessly to take in dogs that are abandoned, neglected, abused or that can no longer be cared for by their owners, and provide them with a safe haven, medical care, training, support and TLC.
BTRC’s ultimate goal is to match every dog with a permanent, loving home. But sometimes, especially with the old ones, the sick ones, the ones with special needs, finding that adopter doesn’t happen. Even though others may have given up on them, these dogs were always especially near and dear to Ana-Maria’s heart. I’m happy to tell you that Boston Terrier Rescue Canada has committed to keeping Ana-Maria’s promise to these special dogs – to love and care for them for the rest of their lives – in her name, through the “Ana-Maria Davies Set for Life Memorial Program”.
As a sponsor of these “forever foster” dogs herself, we think this is a fitting tribute to a woman whose love of dogs, perseverance and never-give-up attitude made many a miracle out of what seemed impossible situations.
I know that many of our past and present volunteers have their own memories of Ana-Maria. Colleen Peacock shared a story about the 2005 Rescue road trip to Texas from Ontario, when four Rescue volunteers brought back eight homeless Bostons from our overloaded US rescue friends, to place in Canadian homes. Ana-Maria wasn’t on the trip, but her support was invaluable. One particular passenger, an incredibly cute but equally mischievous little male, refused to listen to anyone on that long journey, and even snatched Colleen’s Egg Mcmuffin at a rest stop. Turned out that “Tate” was deaf, a fact Ana-Maria quickly determined when this one-time Texan was lucky enough to find himself a permanent part of her family pack.
Our current rescue President, Margot Arsenault, said how she will miss Ana-Maria’s guidance and help. She was always available to act as a sounding board, to offer advice and encouragement. BTRC was Ana-Maria’s baby, after all, and her name and Boston Terrier Rescue will be forever intertwined.
Aundrea Wright shared her memories of meeting Ana-Maria at a walkathon she organized, just one of the many fundraising ideas she spearheaded.
I remember one foster, named Benson, who was timid and fearful. He was also blind. The specialist told Ana-Maria that a surgery could be performed to remove his cataracts; the dog was a perfect candidate, and restoring his vision could make his world a far less frightening place to be. In 2015, Rescue’s vet bills topped $60,000. But this was early days, and I thought raising thousands for one surgery was impossible. Ana-Maria disagreed. She put her considerable skills towards making this happen, and soon the cheques were rolling in. Benson got his sight back, and a new lease on a happy life.
Just one of many happily-ever-afters, all because Ana-Maria believed.
Ana-Maria was dedicated to making just the right match between dog and family. Over the years, scores of happy BTRC adopters have expressed their gratitude for Ana-Maria’s role in finding them their new best friend. Without a doubt, however, Ana-Maria’s greatest impact was in the life of each and every rescued dog she helped to place in a loving, forever home.
Sadly, Ana-Maria was faced with many health challenges in the past few years, but through them all remained incredibly upbeat and optimistic. Forever finding that silver lining. So much so that I believed she was invincible. That she’d always be there.
Ana-Maria and I never got the chance to meet face-to-face. But Ana-Maria was a kindred spirit, and the honour of knowing her enriched my life – and the lives of countless others – in so many ways.
“It’s strange to have a friend that you have never hugged, shook their hand or looked into their eyes. But you have been touched by their soul, seen the good in their heart and felt the warmth in their being.
This friend I have never met is not my friend untouched, for I have felt her with me when I needed her. I have confided in her, laughed with her, and she was one of the best people I have ever known.”
Thank you for everything, Ana-Maria. You will be greatly missed.
Past BTRC President
A link to Ana-Maria’s obituary can be found here.