Kathy Hynes with Roxy on Friday. Hynes runs a dog rescue, Got Spots. She took Roxy in last year and nursed her back to health. She hopes that the neglect case against Roxy's former owners will finally be heard in court.
ADAMS, Mass. — Roxy was supposed to have a happily forever after.
Abused and starved, she was taken in by rescuer Kathy "Skippy" Hynes almost a year ago and nursed back to health.
But a cancer prognosis meant there was no fairytale ending for the cheerful pit bull mix. She "crossed the rainbow bridge" on Friday night.
Hynes choked back tears as she recounted how a cough on Wednesday led to Friday's decision to euthanize Roxy on the advice of her veterinarians at Berkshire Veterinary Hospital.
"I knew when she had that cough Wednesday night, I just knew," she said. Hynes had taken Roxy in to be checked and she had just returned home when the phone rang, with doctor telling her the dog's "lungs are full of cancer."
At best, she might have six to nine months but the cancer is aggressive. Hynes said Roxy was already showing signs of pain, discomfort and irritability. It was a difficult decision, she said, but she promised Roxy she would not died suffering.
Roxy has already suffered enormously. She was discovered by Animal Control Officer Kimberly Witek last July in pitiable condition.
Photos taken at the time show a gaunt tan and white dog, her ribs poking out. She had several health problems, including poor vision, a cancerous tumor that had to be removed and diabetes. Authorities have been working on a case of neglect but said last year that it was complicated because there were multiple involved before Witek rescued her.
Witek contacted Hynes, who runs a small rescue, Got Spots Etc., to see if would take on the challenge. Hynes did, wholeheartedly. She nursed Roxy back to health and has been working to see that Roxy's former owners are called to account.
Maybe Roxy would have gotten the cancer anyways, Hynes said, but if she'd had proper care during her life, it could have been found sooner and she might have been OK.
"If she had gotten veterinary care she would not have been in this serious situation," she said. "I'm so angry ... It's just killing me because you don't know how a sweet a dog she is."
She credited Witek and Dr. John Makuc of Berkshire Veterinary Hospital for working with her to give Roxy the brief months she had in a loving home.
On Friday, a much fattened up and wiggly Roxy was happy to see company. But it was obvious she was having difficulty breathing and she tired quickly.
It's particularly hard for Hynes, who's had to say goodbye to three other aging and ill pets in the last four months -- her two Labradors and, just three weeks ago, her 16 1/2-year-old cat.
Roxy won't live to see her day in court, but Hynes is not giving up on her neglect case and she's considering lobbying for a "Roxy's Bill" to make sure these types cases are adjudicated.
"I want to be able to face them in the courtroom," she said of Roxy's abusers. "I want five minutes to have my say."
Hynes said animal abuse often points to domestic and child abuse, which she'd encountered during her time working as a registered nurse. And she's not afraid to take on abusers, as demonstrated by her efforts on a successfully prosecuted abuse case in North Carolina.
"People have to report it and the courts have to jump on it," she said.
Hynes was making sure Roxy's last hours were peaceful and happy, and imagining her with Hynes' late mother and her dog friends who had preceded her in these past months. Hynes acknowledged that the costs for her small rescue can be difficult to cover.
"I've got a volunteer who offered to pay for her euthanasia and if someone wants to pay for her cremation I'll take it," she said.
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Adams General Government Review Committee Creates Working Plan
By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
ADAMS, Mass. — The General Government Review Committee has created a working plan for the next several months as it continues working on updating the town charter.
Community Paradigm Associates consultant Bernard Lynch created the plan, which will guide the group in future meetings, based on discussions the group has had previously. Topics include town meeting structure, executive and personnel functions, modes of appointment for town officials, financial management and other issues.
Lynch said he hopes the committee is able to complete discussion of one topic per meeting but noted some discussions might take more or less time than others.
"We don't have to make a decision [on a given topic] that night," he said. "I think we should try, if we can, to make decisions as we go on. But if somebody has to be held over for additional information, we can."
Three years after the town received its official Appalachian Trail Community designation, nearly 100 community members gathered for a dedication of the Father Tom Appalachian Trail campsite.
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But members asked for further discussion on four items, including Article 25, which ratified a $25,000 deal negotiated by the Board of Selectmen to sell the former community center and about 5.7 acres of land at 20 East St. to CMV Construction Services.
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