Boston Terrier Action Group (BTAG) originated in the KZN Midlands 8 years ago. For a brief time, the group joined forces with Boston Terrier Rescue SA which operates primarily in CT and JHB. However in 2014 the KZN group registered an NPC, BTAG, and whist our primary focus area is KZN, we go where the call takes us.
BTAG is volunteer run and managed and we have people on the ground from Ballito, Durban, South Coast, Hillcrest, Pietermaritzburg to Howick. Eight volunteers are responsible for the day to day running of the organisation but we have a large network of other supporters that get co-opted in where and when necessary for various tasks and projects.
From the outset, it was our goal not only to rescue and rehome Bosties in need, but to play a role in the general education of the public with regards to for example the plight and rights of animals in this country and to promote the debate on adoption vs buying dogs. As for the Bosties, to educate on the irks and quirks of Bosties, their health profiles and when a Bostie is right and when it is not right for your family.
Our rescues (whether actively rescued or surrendered) live with foster families in their homes. Foster parents are such an essential cog in our work as they take these little kids in and make them part of their home environment. The dog is assessed by our team and placed with the foster family we believe will be most suitable to rehab that dog. It remains a team effort right through the process. The doggie is assessed medically and treated for whatever is necessary. In the last 2 years we have had 5 soft palate/ nares operations done, a knee op, MRI for epilepsy investigations, cancer treatments, extensive eye surgery. This was over and above the normal spaying and neutering, inoculations, micro chipping before adoption takes place.
At the same time the emotional and behavioural rehabilitation process starts. The most common situation we face is aggression tendencies. In all the cases we have dealt over the years with, only 2 cases could be ascribed to as aggression due to medical reasons such as brain tumours. The rest, sadly, most often are due to misunderstanding the breed, mistreatment of the breed as a result and a recipe for disaster that then occurs. Human error therefore. Hence the importance we place on educating the pubic that although a Bostie can easily be termed the cutest kid on the block, they are not suitable for all homes.
Having said all of this, many Bosties are rehomed via BTAG that are fully socialised, well trained and have no issues, where circumstances of the owners might have changed. Often heartbreaking stories for the doggies and the humans involved.
We pride ourselves in the fact that when a Bostie goes to a new family, that we have done absolutely everything we can for that doggie to start with a clean slate in it’s new family.
When the dog is ready, we invite applications and then we find the best match for that Bostie. We are often criticised for this long process and people sometimes do not appreciate it when we say that they are an approved family, but that this particular dog is not for them. Once we have identified a family, the home and family meet and greets have been done, then the dog is taken to the new family and the intros with other dogs are done with one of our volunteers. If all goes well, the doggies stays for a play date and then that becomes a sleep over on a night by night basis. Once everyone is happy the adoption contract is signed. The new family becomes part of the BTAG family and most of our previous adoptive families now become the support system helping the newbies along.
At the end of each year, we all gather in Hilton for the Annual Bostie Party and we have about 50 Bosties all running wild whilst the families picnic. It is magnificent chaos!
Yulinda – 082 260 3401
Charmaine – 082 444 2086
Follow our group on Facebook! @btagkzn