Couple devote lives to rescuing animals (video)
Sept. 19, 2013 at 4:19 a.m.
NORDHEIM - Pat Hull rescued his first animals more than 75 years ago.
"I was walking home from school when I was 6 years old, and a lady handed me a burlap sack with kittens in it," said Hull, now 82.
"I took them home, and my mother wasn't real happy about it. It was the Depression, and we barely had enough food for ourselves."
That incident as a child stuck with Hull.
Around the small DeWitt County town of Nordheim, Hull and wife, Margie, have been taking in strays for years, paying for them to be spayed or neutered and trying to find homes for them.
"He's our unofficial animal control officer," joked Nordheim Mayor Kathy Payne. "But seriously, Pat does a great job taking care of animals that have been discarded by others.
"Besides taking care of the strays, if a family can't afford to have their dog spayed or neutered, he takes care of it. I commend him for that."
Hull said he doesn't pay for spaying or neutering to help the pet owners.
"I don't do it for them. I do it for the animals," he said. "I have more feelings for animals than I do a lot of human beings."
Hull, who grew up in Alice, is a former coach and educator in the Crossroads, including stops as a football coach in Yorktown and basketball coach in Nordheim.
His love for animals comes naturally, he said.
"I don't know if it's inborn or what," Hull said. "I can't stand to see an animal hungry or uncared for. I can't pass them up. We keep carriers in the truck.
"They can't take care of themselves."
Hull's partner in caring is his wife of 45 years, Margie Hull.
"We try to adopt them all out, but right now, we've got 14 or 15 dogs at our house," his wife said. "And four cats.
"We name them all. Sometimes, they have funny names, but we name them."
As an example, she said, the most recent eighth dog they took in was dubbed "Henry," as in Henry the Eighth.
The Hulls estimate they've rescued thousands of animals since they moved to the Nordheim area in the mid-70s.
"There's been so many," Pat Hull said. "People dump them in town or out in the country, and we'll find them. Sometimes, they dump them near our house because they know we'll take them in."
Besides the sheer numbers, another difficulty, the Hulls admit, is their advancing age. Pat Hull suffered a stroke in 2010, paralyzing him on the left side, and had knee replacement surgery this past April.
"We're getting old," his wife said. "Some of those animals are going to outlive us. Then what?"
To help answer that question, the Hulls are attempting to organize a Yorktown-Nordheim Humane Society to get some assistance with the stray animal problem.
"It's hard because there are just so many," Hull said.
His relationship with animals over the years has made Hull realize at least one thing.
"If most people were as loyal as dogs, it would be a better world."