This weekend we remembered a man who was a special part of the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter foster and volunteer programs.
George “Buck” Loomis was a familiar and welcome face at the shelter. Since the very beginning of the shelter’s foster program, Buck has been there for our animals. He has loved and cared for so many, from the tiniest of kittens to the oldest of dogs.
Buck answered a call for foster homes by coming directly to the shelter, ready to take home kittens. In traditional Buck fashion, unknown to us at the time, he joked about eating the kittens, which sent our horrified foster coordinator directly to his house for a home visit. Buck’s warm smile, joyful family, and amazing home visit reassured us all that our animals were in good hands with him.
It takes a special person to accept this and to see the beauty that hospice fostering offers as well. Although hospice pets go into foster care to pass away, Buck still managed to breathe life into them and make their last days or weeks or even sometimes years, beautiful.
Buck spent some time fostering kittens. At his memorial service this weekend, we reminisced with his beloved wife, Liz, about the dogs they have helped and their experience fostering kittens. We remember Buck coming in and telling us that his wife had become very attached and wanted to keep them. So in love with her he was, he couldn’t tell her no. And so, they adopted an entire litter of foster kittens! However, Liz told us the story a bit differently, we laughed as we learned that it was actually Buck who became too attached to the kittens to let them go!
In addition to fostering, Buck was a dedicated volunteer. If you have attended any of SJRAS’s events, it’s likely that you experienced Buck’s music as well as he was a frequent performer with his band. There was never a time he told us no, he was always willing and happy to help us.
I can’t recall a time that Buck didn’t have a smile on his face and a friendly greeting. Buck was driven by a love for animals, made clear at his memorial by the many pictures of him with different pets and foster pets from his younger days to just recently.
The only thing stronger than Buck’s love for animals was his love for his family. From day one, we could tell what a strong and special bond Liz and Buck shared in their marriage. Buck adored his grandson and his daughters. He loved life and lived each day to its fullest.
He was a Marine Corps veteran who served four years in the Vietnam War. Buck managed to give back, even as his life ended. He made the choice to donate life. Because of his decision to donate his organs, tissues, and corneas, many people will have their lives improved, extended or saved.
At Buck’s memorial, “A Biker’s Prayer” was displayed, “If I must join my fallen brethren, please show me the way to Biker Heaven.” I have to imagine that Biker Heaven is located very close to the Rainbow Bridge, because I know that as Buck joins family members and friends, there are many pets that are celebrating his arrival as well. Rest in peace and joy our friend, you will be missed.
Shelter needs: Canned pate cat food, canned dog food, paper towels, dog treats, cat nip, guinea pig/rabbit bedding, hand sanitizer, hand soap, paper towels, and gift cards to pet, grocery and hardware stores.