It wasn't Eugene Bostick's plan to retire from farming and turn into the most recognizable pet savior in Fort Worth, Texas. But sometimes, fate drops things on your front door.
In Bostick's case, fate — or rather, terrible pet owners — did the dumping, frequently abandoning their dogs on his street and leaving their futures in Bostick's hands. So he did what he had to do, and that did not involve taking them to the local pound.
It involved rescuing them, finding them good homes and ferrying them around on a homemade dog train!
That's right, dog train!
The 80-year-old has been doing this for years, driving the dogs around in "cars" made of blue barrels attached to his tractor and taking them out for some fresh air or a dip in the local creek. And he's become quite well known around town for doing so — but recently became more nationally known once a picture taken of him was posted on Facebook and went viral.
"We live down on a dead-end street, where me and my brother have a horse barn," Bostick explained to webzine The Dodo. "People sometimes come by and dump dogs out here, leaving them to starve. So, we started feeding them, letting them in, taking them to the vet to get them spayed and neutered. We made a place for them to live."
There's lots of room on the farm for the rescues to run around, but having them out and around the town was also a goal, he said.
"One day I was out and I seen this guy with a tractor who attached these carts to pull rocks," he said. "I thought, 'Dang, that would do for a dog train,' I'm a pretty good welder, so I took these plastic barrels with holes cut in them, and put wheels under them and tied them together."
Bostick and his nine dogs (for the moment) venture out around twice a week now. "Whenever they hear me hooking the tractor up to it, man, they get so excited," he said. "They all come running and jump in on their own. They're ready to go."