C.J. Hayden of How to Become a Hero tells part of Pali's story in her post, The Call to Heroism in the Howl of a Dog.
"Boucher was the child of a homeless, drug-addicted mother who died when she was ten. After a short time in a foster home, she ended up on the street herself. For many years, she was in and out of jail, became addicted to drugs, and contracted HIV. But she always loved animals. As a child, she took care of pigeons, feral cats, and junkyard dogs. As a homeless adult, she visited animal shelters to spend time with the dogs there.Grace of What if No One is Watching saw Pali and Rocket Dog Rescue profiled on Animal Planet in early 2006 and tells more of Pali's story in her post, Meet My New Hero, Pali Boucher:
At the SPCA, Boucher fell in love with Leadbelly, a hound who no one wanted to adopt because he howled all the time. Learning that Leadbelly was in danger of being euthanized, she scrounged up some money, faked an address, and adopted him. After almost losing her beloved hound when she went back to jail, she checked herself into a detox program. 'It was the first time in my life I realized that I wasn't just affecting myself by going out and getting loaded, that I was directly responsible for the pain of somebody else,' Boucher recalls."
"Then Leadbelly died, and Rocket Dog Rescue was born. Pali doesn't just rescue any dogs, but dogs that are on their last chance. She specifically chooses dogs that are old, or sick, or have other issues that are keeping them from being easily adoptable, and she often swoops in in their last hours and saves them from being put down by city and county shelters. Judging from the both the show and the rescue's website, Pali has quite a network, but she also fosters up to a dozen dogs at a time at her house, and it was clear in the program that she is tireless in the work she's doing. The show said that she'd placed about 700 dogs in the five years since she founded Rocket Dog Rescue, and that is an amazing number, particularly given the type of dogs she takes in. And though Pali's active time may be limited (she's HIV-positive), she also has big plans for the future, including an urban sanctuary dog shelter in San Francisco."In 2001, Pali received a Points of Light award for outstanding volunteerism. In 2006 she and Rocket Dog Rescue volunteer, Laura Beck, were named local heroes by the American Red Cross Bay Area and received their Animal Rescue Award.
Rocket Dog Rescue is a 501(c)(3) that you can support with a donation of time or money. According to their donation page:
- $10 donation will buy chew toys, treats and bones which on a rainy afternoon can make a dog's day.
- $25 donation will pay for a microchip to help a lost dog make his way back home.
- $50 donation will cover a dog’s adoption fee, saving that animal’s life.
- $100 donation will cover the cost to spay/neuter a dog and help alleviate overcrowded shelters or puppy vaccinations.
- $200 - $500 donation will pay for the cost of dental work or other necessary care to give an elderly dog a pain free future.
- $500 -$1,000 donation will help pay for major surgery for a dog that has suffered severe trauma. Rocket Dog Rescue believes that these dogs, who are traditionally considered poor candidates for adoptions, deserve a chance as well.
You can also support them by buying a copy of the book Tails of Devotion: A Look at the Bond Between People and Their Pets by Emily Scott Pottruck (Foreword by Amy Tan). All of the book's proceeds go to animal welfare nonprofits, including Rocket Dog Rescue.
Image Credit: Screenshot on October 29, 2007 from Rocket Dog Rescue of dogs available for adoption.