He was rescued from Hurricane Katrina floodwaters in 2005. Now Boots, a 14-year-old Golden Retriever and chow mix, is helping foster rescue kittens. Shelter volunteer Susan Juergensen fell in love with Boots while caring for him and decided to adopt him. She says Boots immediately took to caring for the foster kittens in her home.
Juergensen is from Indiana, but now lives in Arizona. Boots has reached a milestone by taking care of his 350th rescued kitten at home. Boots’ story is the focus of a book for school-age children written by Juergensen called “Boots: Hurricane Katrina Survivor and Kitten Nanny”.
"Everyone is really in a rush and hurry to do other things and be geared toward other things" says Juergensen. "Compassion has really been forgotten. So when this became a thing that he was doing on a regular basis, I just thought; let's start with kids. Let them hear his story because kids are the best critics"
When he’s not fostering kittens at the shelter or at home, Boots visits school children around the country to teach them about compassion, kindness and resilience.
Telena Eldridge with Noblesville, Indiana-based Woofs and Books says the organization uses copies of “Boots: Hurricane Katrina Survivor and Kitten Nanny” in schools. The organization takes dogs into Central Indiana schools and libraries and helps children improve their literacy skills by having them read stories to canines.
“I can’t even begin to describe how much I love this book and how perfect it is for our program,” Eldridge says. “It covers everything we stand for and want to educate kids about: rescue, spay-neuter importance, responsible pet ownership and, most importantly, compassion.”
Juergensen says they both are more than happy to return to Indiana to visit schools and share their story.