Helping animals makes life better for the Busches – Published in South Mississippi Living
Story by PRISCILLA LOEBENBERG
Photos by JOHN STRICKLIN
For more than a decade, Mark and Jodi Busch have altered and enriched their lives by adopting sick or imperiled animals. The rescued dogs often have heartworms and an array of injuries when they first meet the Busches, who nurse them back to health and make them permanent members of the family.
In October, the Busch family added one more to their family of 10 in an unusual way — they bid on him. The newest Busch dog, Beau, is a one-year-old border collie/springer spaniel mix who was among the adoptable dogs featured at the Humane Society of South Mississippi’s Rock-N-Roll-Over fundraiser.
“Seeing the energy he had — it was meant to be,” said Mark.
High energy dogs like border collies require so much exercise that many families cannot handle them. Dogs who don’t get enough exercise often become destructive and are more likely to be abandoned or abused. Beau now has plenty of room to run at the Busches’ three-acre property, which is dog-friendly inside and out and alive with playmates.
In addition to “Mom” and “Dad,” Beau now has human sisters Jasmine and Taylor; Roxie, a 14-year-old chow/golden retriever mix; Brandi, an 11-year-old medium sized mix of undeterminable parentage; Cierra, a five-year-old chow/akita mix; Bella, a three-year-old border collie; Princess, a five-year-old lhasa apso; and Shadow, a 15-pound black Maine coon cat who thinks he is a dog.
“It’s the most amazing thing to come home and see all of these faces waiting to greet you,” said Jodi. “They are all so special.”
One might think all the attention the couple gives to the dogs might make the girls a little jealous. But, the couple said the children are devoted to the animals. Instead of gifts for her eighth birthday, Jasmine (now 9) asked friends to bring donations for HSSM.
When the family delivered the truckload of supplies to the shelter, they encountered Princess. The dog was suffering from heartworms, bladder stones and infected injuries and was scheduled for euthanasia, but Jasmine couldn’t allow that to happen on her birthday.
One of the most unusual rescues the Busches carried out was for the cat, Shadow. He was in a container next to a boa constrictor’s enclosure and was only hours away from becoming snake food when the family whisked him away. He and Beau now share Jodi’s pillow with her every night in the couple’s crowded, though always warm and furry, bedroom.
The Busches go through about 30 pounds of dog food a week and cater to three special diets. The mobile vet is a frequent visitor and caring for the animals can be expensive and time-consuming. They caution people to make sure they understand the needs of the breed they are considering and can afford it before adopting. That being said, they encourage everyone to improve their lives by adopting a needy animal.
“Rescues make the greatest pets. They always show appreciation,” said Mark. “Some of the best-kept secrets are at the local shelter.”
Humane Society of South Mississippi 228.863.4394
Hancock County Humane Society 228.467.7686
Jackson County Animal Shelter 228.497.6350