Many people think that their most impactful years are when they are young. They raise families, help people through their jobs and by volunteering, and make connections with countless other folks. But in some ways, Eugene Bostick has performed his most impactful work in the past 15 years – that’s how long he’s been retired.
Not long after Mr. Bostick retired from the workforce he began a new career. For over a decade he has been a train conductor for rescued stray canines. The spry 80-year-old native of Fort Worth, Texas says that he never intended to spend his golden years helping needy pets, but that’s just the way it worked out. He says the duty was put upon him by the heartlessness of others.
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If you ask him, Mr. Bostick will explain that he lives on a dead-end street. He and his brother have a horse barn, and sadly some people find that it is a good place to dump unwanted dogs. Mr. Bostick and his brother could not stand to see the dogs sad and hungry, so they started feeding them, taking them to the vet to have them spayed and neutered, and letting them into the barn. They made a home for the unwanted animals.
Not only does he want to keep the animals safe and well cared for, but he also wants them to be happy. The dogs have plenty of room to run and play on the farm, but Mr. Bostick wanted to take them on little trips too. What better way to do that than to take them all for a ride? But how do you fit more than a dozen dogs in one vehicle? Simple; you build your own!
One day while he was out, he saw a man with a tractor who had attached a number of carts to it to pull rocks in. He thought the same idea may work for his pack of rescue dogs. Mr. Bostick used his welding skills to attach wheels to plastic barrels. He cut holes in the barrels and tied them all together. And with that, his recue dog train was born.
Currently the brothers have nine rescue dogs in their care, and once or twice a week Mr. Bostick takes them all for a ride down the streets on the outskirts of Fort Worth or through the woods near their home. Sometimes they take a trip to the local creek for some fresh air and a swim. He says that these trips are something that the previously unloved dogs have come to love and appreciate. He says as soon as he starts hooking the tractor up, they all run over and jump right in.
The dog train has begun to draw a lot of attention from local residents who will occasionally stop Mr. Bostick and ask to take a few pictures of the contraption. But for him, it’s not about the attention – it’s about bringing joy to a few dogs that have been through a lot in their short lives. It’s about showing love to a creature who felt completely unwanted and unloved not too long ago.
Mr. Bostick understands that he isn’t as young as he used to be and that he won’t be able to provide a fun and loving environment for the dogs forever. Hopefully someone will step in to help care for these animals when Mr. Bostick can longer do it. But for now, the pack will continue to go on their weekly adventures and enjoy their life on the farm.