All dogs do indeed go to heaven — if they’re fortunate enough to cross the path of Jimmy and Vicky Allen of South Boston.
The Allens are the caped crusaders of animal rescue and take their roles seriously as the saviors of the homeless and unloved four-legged critters in Southside Virginia.
Jimmy, a recent retiree and his wife, Vicky, have taken on the job of rescue in Halifax County. Jimmy was the owner and operator of Riverdale Auto Parts and Vicky retired when Atlantic Medical closed its doors.
They work tirelessly in search of the perfect homes for orphaned pups with the Halifax Dog Squad, matching each pup to a potential dog mother or father. It’s an endless chore that they’ve devoted their lives to.
“I’ve always loved animals,” Jimmy said. “I got that from my grandmother, I’m sure.”
The local shelters are filled to the brim with dogs and cats, especially after the pandemic began to come to an end. During the time many people spent confined inside, residents freely opened their homes to the idea of a pet.
However, when they moved from remote work back to the office, many found they could no longer keep the animals.
“How unfair to the adopted furbabies,” Vicky said. “It’s a full-time job.”
They also drive a transport van to other rescues and shelters to ensure the population of homeless dogs have a safe haven to lay their heads. Many of their resident pups are often flown to areas such as Northern Virginia and Maryland with a lesser population of abandonment.
“The simple solution to this problem is spay and neuter your sweet pets,” Vicky said. “Halifax County could do better and gets a C-minus on the grading curve. But it’s never too late to do better.”
Jimmy and Vicky have built a fully heated and air-conditioned building on their property that houses those lucky pups. Each dog has its own kennel, access to a large play area for rough housing and each one gets all the love and attention they deserve.
And the reward at the end of the day is when they’re saying farewell and watching the pups go home to the forever family they’ve waited patiently for.
In addition to the rescue pups, the Allen family consists of five dogs and two cats that they adore. And of course, they were all rescues too. “Foster failures,” as Jimmy calls them.
Jimmy and Vicky are having fun these days in their rescue effort, both now retired and doing what they love.
“Together, it’s just like dating again,” said Vicky. After 25 years of marriage, this is the icing on the cake.
They can sometimes be seen riding around town on a joy ride with their furbabies.
They also have two children, Michael Compton, stationed in Alabama, and Jenna Wilmouth in South Boston.