Advocates of B.C.
"Until he extends his circle of compassion to include
Lillian (Babe) Ruth Couture,
March 13, 1927 to June 8, 2001.
After a life-long battle with colitis and Crohn's disease it was time to find a pain-free place.
Pre-deceased by son Greg. Survived by son Vic, daughter & son-in-law Maureen & Ken Knight along with grand-daughters Megan & Shannon.
Lillian worked hard all her life bringing up her 3 children by herself along with her mother Edna Sibley.
Among many interests she sang in various choirs including the Dairyland and Burnaby General Hospital choirs.
As one who could not stand cruelty to animals she was a passionate member of Animal Advocates Society.
Recently retired, she joined the Sapperton Fish & Game Club and was looking forward to a summer full of fishing in B.C. and Alaska.
AAS can tell you a lot more about Lillian - for example how feisty she was. When AAS was asked by reporter Chuck Montgomery of Vancouver Magazine for an interview on the subject of why dogs are rescued off chains we put him in touch with several women brave enough to tell what they had done, and why. Lillian was one of them. Here are the excerpts of the parts about Lillian, but we can now set the record straight: it was no nice little border collie that Lillian rescued that dark night, it was a huge Rottweiller that weighed more than she did and was as strong as a tank.
From Vancouver Magazine, September 2000:
SEVENTY-THREE-YEAR-OLD "Ruth" HAS DIME-SIZED bruises on her arm where a friends German shepherd pawed her minutes before we met. She is alarmingly thin. When she walks, she seems to sway. Fragile. Not the kind of woman you would expect to leap a neighbours fence in the dead of night and run off with his border collie. But leap she did.
Ruth rubs her bruises, takes a swig from a bottle of black-cherry root beer, and remembers the day she first heard Barbies imploring whine from behind the planks. "I peeked through to see her fur matted and excrement all around," says Ruth, who prefers not to use her real name. "I found a gap in the fence and put my arms around her. She wagged from end to end."
Every night for two years Ruth reached in to hug the dog and be licked in return. She never saw Barbie off her six-foot chain. Ruth says the owner, "a rough, rough man" who never paid attention to Barbie except to yell at her, admitted he never walked the dog. As the months went by, Ruth noticed Barbies spirits fading. One January night she arrived to find Barbies water frozen solid. "It broke my heart. She put her head on my shoulder and I started to cry. I thought, Dear God, what am I going to do?
That, Ruth tells me between sips of her root beer, is exactly why she decided to save Barbie that winter. Ruth began scratching a little dirt away from beneath her neighbours fence on each visit. After a couple of weeks, she had a hole big enough to crawl through. Then she called a friend.
"We sat in my house drinking tea until the lights went out. I tucked my hair into a turban. I put dirt on my friends face and we crept over there, but that hole was filled in. I thought Damn it, and took a run down the alley at the fence, leaped up and grabbed the top of the fence-it must have been 10 feet tall, but I used to climb trees as a kid."
The two managed to climb into the yard. They unhooked Barbie from her chain, checking to see if the owners bedroom light was still out.
"I was terrified. I thought, Please God, dont let him catch me. Hell kill me. But you cant live with a broken heart, so I said, run Barbie, run! We went out the front gate and ran for three blocks to my car. Then we got the hell out of there." Barbie now lives somewhere in Fraser Valley, with a family that treats dogs the way Ruth would.
Is it any wonder AAS loved her so much? And she was the first to volunteer to stuff envelopes and help in anyway she could. What a loss to her family of humans and animals.