Babyboy’s Legacy Lives On

Terri Davis is one of those people who has fought her way through depression, tears and heartache to change the bad things that happen into good.  The memory of Babyboy has touched thousands of lives and raised awareness against animal abuse, not only all over the country, but the world.  Babyboy’s memory has spurred Terri to become an advocate for animal rights which has rescued countless dogs from abuse and homelessness.  She also provides comfort and counseling for those suffering from the loss of beloved animal companions.  (Terri and her fellow volunteers rescued Buford and Billy Bob from death row in Alabama, who were recently adopted into ABC families.)

In 2006 Terri brought the Basset Hound puppy, Babyboy, home for her two daughters.  Rebecca was 12 and Courtney was 13.  As any Basset savvy person knows Bassets and kids are made for each other.  Her daughters bonded with their new puppy.  Terri herself loved Babyboy as a son.  In Terri’s own words: “He was with me through my darkest time in life and words can’t explain the bond we shared. That bond of love will never be broken.”  Babyboy was coddled and loved as a beloved son.  He was never left outside and slept indoors with her children.

In June of 2008, Babyboy got loose from the house through an open door.  We all know that sick, frightening, gut-wrenching feeling when we notice a beloved pet is missing.  Most of the time everything turns out ok and we renew our efforts to keep the dog protected in our home or pens.  In Terri’s case the nightmare became reality.  Babyboy, loose for the first and only time, wandered into a neighbor’s yard where he was shot in the back and killed.  An eyewitness account said he suffered for about five minutes before passing away.  The vet who examined him said that had he lived he never would have walked again as the bullet hit his lower back in his spine.  The angle of the shot showed that Babyboy had been walking away from the shooter.

Terri and her children were distraught and traumatized.  Becca who shared a special bond with Babyboy was inconsolable and Terri sat up with her many nights trying to comfort her.  Terri herself suffered illness from depression and post-traumatic-stress disorder.  They all missed Babyboy and grieved for his passing.  They wanted his life to have some meaning and to be remembered.

Babyboy’s killer admitted to shooting the Basset Hound and Terri embarked on a two year long fight to gain justice for Babyboy in the courts.  Animal cruelty can be a felony crime in Alabama and is, at the very least, a Class B misdemeanor.  Terri’s intent was to hold the shooter responsible for the killing of a beloved family member.  When no criminal charges were pressed, Terri embarked on a civil suit endeavoring to provide some comfort and closure for her family to this terrible event.  As things turned out the courts did not grant her family the justice they sought and the case was settled.  However, Babyboy’s murder changed the lives of Terri and her family forever.

During this process Terri learned a great deal about animal cruelty.  Turning to Facebook to connect with others who had been victims of animal cruelty she met literally thousands of folk who shared her pain.  She began to appreciate the plight of unwanted animals and set out to make a difference in their lives.  The list of her achievements since 2008 is very long (I’m sure I will miss some so take a look for yourself.)  I think that Babyboy must be very pleased at the legacy he has left the world.

Over 1,700 people attended a memorial for Babyboy on June 28, 2011 and Terri set up Babyboy’s Memorial on Facebook.   It includes pictures and videos of Babyboy in his loving home.  In response to the overwhelming interest in and support for Babyboy’s story, Terri set up The Official Voice for the Voiceless which reports stories of animals who were the victims of abuse and cruelty.  This site boasts more than 7,000 members and truly is their voice that tells the stories that otherwise would never be heard.

Terri set up Voice for the Voiceless and Rainbow Bridge Paws on My Heart, blogs for people whose animals lost their lives to violent crime.  The blogs received 60,000 views in the first year and her Rainbow bridge page has more than 3,000 members.  She began making beautiful jewelry and keepsake memorials for families grieving the loss of beloved animals.  She holds auctions for her memorial jewelry (Jewelry 2 Benefit Paws) and rainbow bridge artwork and donates the proceeds to Basset Hound rescues across the country.  Many grieving families gain comfort through Terri’s wonderful artwork.

She set up a Facebook site to Turn FB Purple for 1 Week to Raise Awareness Against Animal Abuse.  Its mission is to raise awareness globally and to take a stand against animal cruelty.  This Cause Page had an amazing 230,000 members to date, and is growing daily.  The week she chose to change Facebook profiles purple is the week of Babyboy’s shooting – June 24-30th.

Terri is also very involved in local rescue of homeless animals and her own house is always full.  She became Administrator of Basset Hound Rescuers AL and Surround States which has as its profile picture our very own Buford (now Duncan in his forever home).  They are a group of hound lovers who work tirelessly for homeless and abused Bassets and are saving as many lives as they possibly can without funding of any kind.  In appreciation to ABC for their work in the March Southern transport (which brought Buford, Billy Bob and six other houndies to NY to find their forever homes) Terri set up the page Cause to Raise Funds for ABC Basset Hound Rescue of NY which has raised $475 for ABC since March 30th.

Terri’s philanthropy through her Cause pages is so successful mainly due to the huge member base her ‘Raise Awareness’ page boasts.  Most recently, Terri was struck by the awful losses AL suffered in the terrible March storms and tornadoes.  She came across the now famous photo of Greg Cook finding his dog Coco alive in his home, which was levelled to the ground in a tornado.

That photo, depicting the love of a man for his dog, prompted Terri to create a Cause page to raise funds for Mr. Cook which raised an amazing $2,400.  Here is a video of Terri Delivering Donation to Mr. Cook.

There are way too many rescue efforts Terri is involved in to mention here but one more that really touched our hearts was for the House of Puddles, a nonprofit sanctuary for senior, homeless Basset Hounds.  Terri’s Cause page for the Basset Hound Retirement Home raised almost $900 for their rescue.

To date Terri has raised $6,633 for the Causes she has championed.  Quite an amazing achievement for one person!  You can view her Causes at Turn FB Purple to Raise Awareness Against Animal Abuse.

Terri’s campaign against animal abuse has spread far and wide.  Maria Daines is a multi-award winning international vocalist and songwriter who was deeply touched by Babyboy’s story.  Her music is called United for Animals.  Maria calls her music ‘rock for the voiceless’.  Her band opened for US artist Pink, at Cardiff International Arena for the Party For Animals World Wide concert in August 2007. The concert raised over £90,000 for six animal welfare charities. Based in the UK, Maria and her guitarist/ producer Paul Killington, write songs in many genres, including rock, country, folk, blues and soul.  Here is a link to Maria Daines website – “Rock for the Good Times, Blues for the Bad, Music for the Soul.”  On her website Maria describes her mission, “I endeavour to give voiceless beings songs to make their plight visible and their stories heard, the fight to overcome injustice and cruelty must never be silent! Compassion is the vital link that makes life bearable when all else fails.” They donate their music CDs to rescues around the world to raise funds for rescue.  Daines/Killington wrote and produced this beautiful song In Memory of Babyboy.

The following article was published on Terri and Babyboy’s story article – ‘Animal Cruelty: What Can We Do To Stop It’ (5/29/2011).

Terri’s remarkable journey from the very pit of animal cruelty is an inspiration and example for animal rescuers everywhere.  Her love and devotion for her Basset Hound Babyboy has raised awareness against animal cruelty all over the world.  The comments on these sites are amazing.  So many people connected with Babyboy’s story and now keep him in loving memory.  A fitting legacy for a loving Basset Hound who had a very short life that ended in tragedy, but a very long reach that is educating and comforting thousands.  All we can say is, thank you Terri for making such a difference in the lives of our beloved homeless hounds.

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