Jennifer Agne, left, and Robin Wood sit in the back of Wood’s newly donated van with Buttercup. (Photo provided by M.C.H.A.T.)
GOLDEN VALLEY — Robin Wood got a pleasant surprise recently when the neighbors of a deceased couple donated their van to help her trap wayward animals.
The story began in September, when the neighbors, Kevin and Sheree Burns, of Golden Valley, learned their neighbors, Michael and Dolores Watson, had died from unknown causes about four months earlier. Their bodies had gone unnoticed in a house, as well as those of three of their rescue greyhounds. No foul play is suspected.
Kevin Burns soon noticed the Watsons’ fourth dog, a terrier/corgi mix named Buttercup, in the middle of the road, but she ran into another neighbor’s yard. Sheree Burns reached out on Facebook to find a humane trap to catch her. She was contacted by Mohave County Humane Animal Trapping (M.C.H.A.T), which captured Buttercup.
“We planned on fostering her, but quickly fell in love with her,” said Sheree Burns. “Buttercup needed surgery, and to be nursed back to health. We met the wonderful family of the deceased and lucky for us, they let us keep Buttercup.”
The deceased couple’s daughter and son-in-law, Kimberly and Joel Walton, had the difficult task of cleaning out the house and disposing of property. One of the items was the van.
“Buttercup is the only thing they had left from their parents, and they so appreciated us taking her in that they offered us the van,” said Sheree Burns. “The Watsons had rescued at least a dozen greyhounds and we knew that rescues were a passion of theirs, so we felt like it would be honoring their memories by donating the van to the wonderful ladies of M.C.H.A.T.”
Actually, the van will go to Robin Wood, said Jennifer Agne, who along with Wood, is the co-founder of M.C.H.A.T. It is currently undergoing some repairs. Agne said she has her own vehicle, which is used about 90 percent of the time for trappings. Wood shares a vehicle with her boyfriend and it is only available part time.
“Fortunately enough for Buttercup, she was able to get out of a little doggie door,” said Agne. “We believe that she went back and forth in and out of that house during that four-month time period. Kevin and Sheree wanted to gift that van to us for saving Buttercup and bringing her into their lives. This is just an amazing gesture and opens the door for what Robin can do.”
The van, aptly named Buttercup, is a 2005 red Dodge Grand Caravan. Buttercup the dog is four years old and the Watsons, in their 70s, had rescued her when she was a year old. Robin Wood said the van will be crucial to humanely trapping more lost animals.
“I am beyond thankful for the generous gift from the Burns family,” said Wood. “It is such an honor to be carrying on with the van’s purpose of the original owners, which was rescuing dogs. The blessing from such an amazing gesture will be that now even more lives can be saved.”