FOREVER HOME – Austin the dog

Austin finds forever home

  • Dec. 18, 2013 3:10 p.m.

The heartwarming tale and the triumph of a stray dog who was found living on the streets in Red Deer for months before being rescued, has received a positive ending this week.

Austin, the once homeless pooch is homeless no more thanks to his new owner Thomas Hart.

After the publishing of Austin’s tale in last week’s Express, owner of Forever and A Day Animal Rescue, Cathy Bourassa, received over 15 emails and 15 phone calls with people wishing to adopt Austin.

“I’d brought him to a few places to see how he would fit in there because he’s a bit of a barker,” said Bourassa. “But then I brought him to see Tom and the two just hit it off immediately. They had this incredible connection and within five minutes Tom had him on his back giving him belly rubs.”

Upon reading Austin’s story, Hart immediately phoned Bourassa and had her bring the dog to see him.

After a workplace accident off the coast of Nova Scotia on Feb. 21st, Hart was in the hospital with neck, back, arm, and leg injuries.

“It started back when I was 10 and I fell off a few pails and hit the back of my neck off of an auger,” explained Hart. “Then I was in Maui for my son’s wedding and we were surfing and I got taken under the waves and it left me paralyzed from the neck down because of the previous injury to my neck. A shred from the C3 vertebrae went straight through my spinal cord.”

Hart surprised neurosurgeons when he walked out of the hospital days later and returned to work after that.

Upon returning to work, it was then that Hart fell off a ladder on an offshore oil and gas processing plant.

“The ladder was unmarked and I fell but managed to grab onto it before falling the 14 feet.”

Hart has been on a lengthy journey to recovery from the fall and will be undergoing surgery on next month on his neck and back and again in February for his knee.

“I’m going to be laid up for quite a while and plan on retiring in the near future and normally I never would’ve done something like adopt a dog,” said Hart. “But I need a companion to help me get through this and this little guy is great and he doesn’t leave my side now. There is just a connection between us.

“I walk and try to exercise and am trying to heal and now I have Austin to do that with, he’s my little walking buddy.”

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