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'She's a hero': Cowichan Valley woman helps hundreds of people and animals in need


While Allara the dog is dressed to impress in a flower-print dress, her owner Judy Bobke is dressed in her best jeans.

“This is dressed up for me,” Judy laughs.

Judy says she’s usually too focused on rescuing dogs to care about clothes.

“I get calls [to help animals]," Judy says. “And it doesn’t matter what time of the day or night, I go.”

Which means the volunteer is often wearing pyjamas outside her house, and occasionally after being locked out of her car by one of her rescues

“A dog would jump up and hit the button [closed],” Judy laughs. “And I’m standing there going, 'You got to be kidding.'”

A comical inconvenience, as opposed to Judy’s devastating diagnosis.

“My whole world fell apart,” Judy says.

Judy says she couldn’t endure multiple health issues, including two bouts of cancer, without the unwavering support of her human friends, and the unconditional love of her furry ones. So she committed to pay it forward.

“It keeps me going every day to know that I can help people and animals,” Judy says.

Over the past few years, Judy has raised tens of thousands of dollars through initiatives like bottle drives to pay for her rescue animals' vet bills, support women's shelters, and help the low-income elderly with their bills.

Judy is currently planning a large fundraiser in the spring to support a youth centre run by the Cowichan Valley Mental Health Association that will be staged at Pride Motorsports in Cobble Hill.

“Judy is amazing,” says David Horner, who has fostered and adopted some of Judy’s rescue dogs. “She has a huge heart that gets bigger every day.”

“She’s a hero around here as far as I’m concerned,” says another member of the community.

A hero who — rather than donning a cape — will get into a Goofy costume to support sick kids on their birthdays or raise the spirits of patients waiting for serious surgeries.

“I just started crying,” says Kimmie, who received a visit from Judy’s Goofy in hospital. “It was such a beautiful thing to do.”

But Judy doesn’t want compliments for her kindness. “I’m very uncomfortable,” she admits.

Although she was recently notified that she’s rescued and found new homes for almost 500 animals, Judy was quick to credit all her accomplishments to people in the community she serves.

“It takes a village and I have a village,” Judy says. “And that gives me the hope to carry on.” Top Stories

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