Once upon a time…there was a Rhodesian ridgeback/beagle mix puppy running the streets of East St. Louis. His life was changed one day in 2011, when Blues forward Alex Steen and a team of volunteers working with Stray Rescue of St. Louis found him and brought him back to the shelter. On the way, Steen stopped by his car dealer Bomarito Audi, where he introduced the pup to sales manager Joe Wolk.

“I sent a photo to my wife and petted him for a few minutes,” Wolk recalls of his first encounter with the dog. “A few days later, Tonja and I were out to dinner, and we thought, Why don’t we adopt this little guy? We filled out the application online; and a few days later, they contacted our references and came over to the house.”

It was a perfect fit for the Town & Country family, and Alex, as they soon named the pup, fit right into the family. “We named him after Alex Steen—he’s a practical joker and their personalities were the same,” Joe notes. “He was used to living outside like a wild animal. It takes a bit to domesticate them, but I’ve had dogs my entire life, and this one is very special.”

At first, the mischievous Alex was a bit of a handful, but consistent training paid off, Joe says. “He had so much energy—he’s like the Energizer puppy. It was incredible. We asked ourselves, How do people handle puppies like this? Hopefully, he’ll calm down. It happened overnight. If you stay with him and stick with the training, overnight, they turn into perfect pets.” Tonja agrees: “His nature is very gentle and he’s also a very sensitive little guy,” she says. “He’s kind of shy and you can tell in his eyes that he’s very in tune with what’s going on around him.”

These days, Alex enjoys playing with the couple’s other pets—a cocker spaniel and a cat—and playing in the swimming pool with the Wolks’ 26 nieces and nephews. “We’ve always had smaller dogs and they’re great,” Tonja says. “I was hesitant at first because he’s bigger and a male, but he’s been a blessing to our whole family. He’s so good and so smart and has a lot of life to him, and energy. We always say he gives us his goo goo eyes—he’s so shy and sweet. You can’t resist him. I would do it again in a second.”


Stray Rescue of St. Louis

2320 Pine St., 771-6121, strayrescue.org

Proudly sponsored by Carol House Furniture

With their belief that bigger things can come out of selling furniture, Carol House and the Dubmans proudly donate a portion of each sale to local charities. One of the organizations the company supports is its very own Carol House QUICK FIX Pet Clinic, which spays and neuters pets for low-income families. Furthermore, Carol House believes the best way to rescue a pet is by adopting from a shelter that is not affiliated with any puppy mill. For more information, call 771-PETS or visit CarolHousePetClinic.org.

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