You may have never heard of Howard Deese, but to those involved in rescue in the metro Atlanta area, the man is a real hero for dogs. A retired military vet, Howard spends his days with his wife and the other love of his life: dogs, particularly English Bulldogs.
Two years ago, Howard and his wife adopted an English Bulldog, Moses, from Georgia English Bulldog Rescue (GEBR). Since then, he’s become one of its “most dependable and loving volunteers,” according to the director of GEBR, Ruthann Phillips.
He took in a senior English Bulldog, Gertie, as a permanent foster, and he helps the rescue transport dogs to and from vet appointments and other locations; he even transports Bulldogs in danger to safety. He ended up taking one such dog, now known as Victor, home as well. Above and beyond his volunteer work, Howard had his vehicle retrofitted into a sort of Bully limousine, adding platforms so that the dogs can see out the windows, ramps for access, and bowls for refreshments.
Howard also is a hero to his neighbors. When Christa Benton moved to her new home outside Atlanta, she was happy to have a bigger yard to play in with her dogs, Chase and Truman. The new place wasn’t without its cons, though, as she now had a longer commute. When she met Howard, he stepped in to help with her two dogs while she was away at work.
“Howard is truly an angel,” Christa says. “Without asking for anything in return, Howard just stepped in and helped with Chase and Truman as though they were his own. He takes them for rides in his Bully mobile, lets them have play time with his dogs, and sends me pictures of them while I’m at work. He even sends texts as though Chase or Truman wrote them. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing my dogs are safe and getting love and attention when I’m not there.”
She went on to describe how Howard’s involvement with her dogs has particularly helped Truman, an English Bulldog she took on as a foster from GEBR. “Truman is deaf, and he didn’t have the best start in life. He really had a bad time, and he needed a lot of work to come out of his shell. Howard has been a huge help with that,” Christa says. Ruthann also noted the significant improvement in Truman’s behavior and quality of life because of Howard’s involvement.
“I don’t know what we would do without him,” Christa says. “He is just such a giving individual and brings such joy to dogs and people alike.”
On the other hand, Howard himself doesn’t think he’s doing anything special. “I don’t think I do any more than anyone who loves our Bullies,” he says.
Christa, Ruthan, and the countless dogs Howard has helped certainly disagree! The dog community could certainly use more people like Howard — people with boundless love for dogs.
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About Meghan Lodge: Fits the Aquarius definition to a fault, loves animals, and is always pushing for change. Loves ink, whether it’s in tattoos, books, or writing on that pretty sheet of blank paper. Proud parent of Toby (cat) and Axle (dog). I’m a former quiet nerd who’s turned bubbly animal-obsessed advocate.