The Star-Herald

A groomer’s story

Editor’s note: The article that appears in this column is reprinted with permission from The Maine Snowmobiler.  

I enjoyed this story that was in the December issue of The Maine Snowmobiler magazine. It was written by Jim Boyce, a snowmobile groomer in western Maine. I wanted to share it with all of you.

It’s not just grooming, but a responsibility to help

by Jim Boyce

With the season at our door steps, I would like to reach out to my fellow groomers that make roads in the snow. We have a responsibility to make smooth trails and keep machinery running well but we also have another and I would like to share with you what happened to me. 

It was two years ago on a very cold night in February, minus 9, when I crawled into the groomer. I started my six-hour run which I’ve done hundreds of times, this time alone. I had my usual Thermos of coffee, some Yodels and sparkling water. I was set. I got started and I don’t know what you guys listen to but for me it’s the Grateful Dead Jerry music. I headed over our biggest bridge in Kingfield, a 100-footer, and across a field where something catches my eye. You see a lot of an mal life at night, which is one of the great perks. I see this animal run and hide behind a bush on the side of the field so I stopped to get a pic, but to my surprise, it was a beagle. Well, ​​it was minus 9, and with no nearby houses I walked over to her and she didn’t move. I looked at her collar but no tags. It was cold and so was she. I picked her up and put her in the heated cab. She didn’t mind it.

The first thing I did is take a picture and send it out on social media. I got a lot of feedback within minutes but nobody was missing a pooch. So I get back on social media and [told] everyone that she is safe and going to be my passenger for the rest of my trip. We’re driving along listening to Jerry, which she didn’t mind at all! I looked over and said “You need a name,” so I called her Daisy.

We rode up to the turnaround where Carrabbassett meets us on ITS115. I stopped to get out and stretch and I went over to the passenger’s side and put Daisy down. She did her business and came back to my feet. I was hoping she wouldn’t run. I picked her back up and put her in the seat. I gave her one of my yodels but didn’t have any regular water, only sparkling so I grabbed a handful of snow and put it in the cup holder to melt. She enjoyed that.

Now for the trek back to the shed … I looked over; she is curled up in a ball sound asleep. In the meantime, I get a phone call from a local store owner who raises hunting dogs. He tells me to meet him in the morning and he will find a home if nobody claims her. So it is after midnight and I’m bringing Daisy home with me. I get her a bed and feed her. The next morning I drove up to the store to drop her off and the owner comes out and said “Put her in my truck.” We look her over and he turns to me and says she is pregnant — her back is smiling. I had no idea! He tells me people abandon dogs all the time in that field. He called me later that day to tell me he found a good home for her and he would pay for the doctor visits. Well lo and behold, that little beagle had 12 pups. One didn’t make it. And by the way they were black labs.

On that very cold night, I was able to save 12 lives. This is the other responsibility I talk about. It might be an animal or a broken-down sledder or a lost hiker. We groomers are an island of heat in these cold winter nights. I haven’t seen Daisy since that day but I do see some of her pups and that makes all this worth it. 

Stay safe my friends and keep making those roads.

End of article

This is a wonderful reminder for us all to stay vigilant, whether it is watching out for lost or neglected animals or keeping an eye on our family and neighbors.  

Stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society or check us out on Facebook.  Stay safe and healthy in this New Year.  Please be responsible pet owners — spay and neuter.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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