First State Animal Center loses a big furry ambassador

Bill Moser and Ace, his Great Pyrenees, had become a regular fixture at SPCA fundraising events throughout Delaware over the past seven years. (Submitted photo)

Bill Moser and Ace, his Great Pyrenees, had become a regular fixture at SPCA fundraising events throughout Delaware over the past seven years. (Submitted photo)

DOVER — Bill Moser and his big white fluffy dog, Ace, were just gearing up to make several jingle-bell ringing charitable appearances as Santa Claus and his faithful friend when a painful decision had to be made.

Unfortunately, Felton’s Mr. Moser was forced to have Ace, a Great Pyrenees, euthanized at the Middletown Animal Hospital on Nov. 15 after the dog experienced organ failure at the age of 13 years, 11 months old.

The two had become a familiar duo at fundraising events for the First State Animal Center (FSAC) and SPCA over the past seven-plus years. Ace, with his friendly personality and outgoing demeanor, proved to be a popular ambassador for the SPCA.

“Being a canine ambassador for the FSAC, he attended every adoption event and fundraiser he could fit into his busy schedule,” Mr. Moser said of Ace. “My constant companion, he was a loved, high-profile constant around Dover and throughout the state where he liked to walk and visit with the public.”

Mr. Moser and Ace could frequently be seen walking together through Silver Lake Park in Dover, Wyoming and Felton.

He said kids loved Ace “because he was so big that they could just run up and maul all over him.”

The FSAC at 32 Shelter Circle in Camden holds a special place in Mr. Moser’s heart because it was there where workers presented Ace to him for adoption at Christmastime eight years ago.

Ace, an outgoing Great Pyrenees, had to be euthanized after suffering from organ failure on Nov. 15. (Submitted photo)

Ace, an outgoing Great Pyrenees, had to be euthanized after suffering from organ failure on Nov. 15. (Submitted photo)

Dr. Lynn Lofthouse, an associate professor of speech communications at Wesley College who also does volunteer work for the SPCA, said that Ace turned out to be the perfect companion for Mr. Moser.

“Back when (the FSAC) got Ace after his previous owner had passed away, we thought to ourselves, ‘Oh my gosh, who’s going to adopt this dog? He’s huge,’” Ms. Lofthouse said. “It just so happened that Bill (Moser) had recently lost his dog and he was coming to an open house … it was love at first sight and he just fell in love with Ace.”

Ms. Lofthouse said Ace will especially be missed by adoring children and grown-ups alike at SPCA adoption events.

“Ace was really an icon,” she said. “He was kind of the front dog for the SPCA. He was adopted from the SPCA and would do all of the events as we were trying to promote the organization.

“Ace was scheduled to do a lot of Christmas events with Bill (Moser), who poses as Santa Claus at PetSmart in Dover for SPCA and Petco at Rehoboth and at the FSAC shelter.”

Mr. Moser is no stranger at adopting rescue dogs. He had adopted Kelsey, an Alaskan Malamute, from the SPCA before she passed away and Ace eventually came along.

In fact, one of his wishes in the aftermath of losing Ace was for people to keep on supporting the SPCA and other animal rescue efforts. So far in 2016 a total of 894 pets have been adopted at the FSAC shelter.

“In Ace’s memory, I ask (people) to contribute to the FSAC-SPCA, or any other rescue, during the holiday season to help animals get good care and a chance to make an adoptive family happy all year, but especially during this holiday season,” said Mr. Moser.

Nearing 14 years of age, Ace had actually exceeded life expectancy for his breed, which is usually between 10 to 12 years old. Mr. Moser said the dog would have cost him anywhere from between $500 to $2,500, depending on his lineage, had he bought him from a breeder.

Ms. Lofthouse fully expects Mr. Moser to put on his beard and red suit for the upcoming SPCA fundraisers. She wouldn’t be surprised to see him with a new furry friend soon, either.
“He’s committed to helping the SPCA and animal rescue efforts,” Ms. Lofthouse said. “He’s actually hoping that fate finds him another dog … some needy dog that’s perfect for him.
“Of course, everyone will always remember Ace … He was our gentle giant.”

Mr. Moser said he is in no rush to find a new dog. He just knows his next canine companion will be an older dog, because he has to commute up-and-down the state for work every day and puppies require much more attention that mature dogs.

“I do know my next dog will be another rescue dog,” he said. “Right now, I haven’t really been looking but people always seem to bring dogs up to me to look at.

“I figure that’s probably the way it will all work out – I sort of let the dog pick me.”

Delaware State News staff writer Mike Finney can be reached at mfinney@newszap.com.

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