Alexis Bouyea Fund keeping memory alive

Apr. 20—SARANAC — Watching Alexis Bouyea interact with animals was an amazing sight for her family to see.

"She was Dr. Doolittle," her cousin Sarah Pray said, referring to the famous 1998 movie about a doctor who finds that he can talk to animals.

"I think she saw that the truest and purest thing on earth is animals. They love you unconditionally and that's what she poured her heart and soul into. and she was amazing at it. She would rescue and rehabilitate and you would watch her in awe of what she could do.

"To this day, I can't get my dogs to listen to me for nothing. She would walk in my front door and just make a noise and they would all sit at her feet."

Unsurprisingly, Alexis created quite a reputation for herself when it came to helping animals in need. Using her previous experience of working at Eagle's Nest Veterinary Hospital in Plattsburgh, it was not unusual for her to bring home hurt animals and either nurse them back to health or find someone else who could.

Her family even came to expect that of her.


"There was a groundhog, she got a towel, picked it up and threw it in the backseat," her mother Kim Bouyea recalled with a smile on her face.

"He was growling at her, snapping at her and she brought it to the vet."

"She was fearless," Pray added.

"In every aspect of life she was fearless and it was just an amazing thing to watch her in action as a person, because people would look at her and you would wish you had that kind of bravery, you would wish you had that kind of fearlessness. She was always an animal lover."

She also had five dogs and three of them were rescues from abusive situations.

"She never questioned that for a second. She never doubted herself," Pray said, about training and raising the dogs.

"She knew she could do it and she did it."

Tragically, Alexis Bouyea's life — and pursuit of helping as many animals as she could — was cut short after she got into a one-car accident on Jan. 4, 2023 while traveling on Route 9N in the Town of Westport.

Four of her dogs were in the car with her and also died in the crash.

At just 27 years old, the impact she left behind was immeasurable.

"She is woven into the fabric of who we are as people," Pray said.

"Her absence is like the sky, it's spread over everything. The world is a lesser place because she's not here."


However, no matter how much time passes by, Alexis Bouyea's legacy will continue to live on.

Her friend and Saranac Veterinary Clinic owner, Amanda Lutzy, made sure of that.

Just days after the accident that claimed her friend's life, Lutzy established a fund — named the Alexis Fund — at the Saranac Veterinary Clinic in her honor.

Lutzy said she and others at the clinic, who knew Alexis Bouyea from previously working with her at Eagle's Nest, were inspired to create the fund by the Bouyea family.

"We were really surprised and touched when we read her obituary that her family had decided that all donations would be made to Saranac Vet Clinic for people who might not be able to afford care for their pets," she said.

"We were like, 'oh my gosh, that's amazing.'"

The fund, which operates off of donations from the community, is essentially a contingency plan for those who may not be able to afford expensive and potentially life-saving veterinary care for an animal they bring to the clinic.

"Whether it's people who have their own pets and they can't afford it, or if they find an animal on the road or something — like a good Samaritan type situation," Lutzy said.

"(It allows) for us to ... not have to turn people down because of cost, or for them to be able to afford something that we feel that we could actually fix the animal if money wasn't an issue."

There are guidelines on how the money can be used as well, Lutzy said.

"We knew we wanted it to last a while, so we didn't want to end up using the money frivolously I guess, so we set up some guidelines as to how we use the money so that it would last years to come," she said.

"Over the past year, people still steadily continue to donate to it. and there's been some fundraisers, where people have donated the funds to the Alexis Fund. So it has stayed steady and I think her family's really dedicated to continuing to honor her memory and make this fund be very successful and last, so it's been great so far."

"We all trust her that she ...knows that when an animal is truly in need and when it's going to benefit from using some of the funds and clearly, she has done wonderfully with it because of all the animals that have been able to be helped," Pray said of Lutzy.

To date, Lutzy said the Alexis Fund has helped over 70 pets, including:

—Multiple dogs with parvovirus.

—Multiple dogs with pyometra who required emergency surgery.

—A cat with a life-threatening urinary obstruction.

—A dog with severe dental disease requiring the extraction of 16 teeth.

—A young kitten with a large abdominal wound.

—A cat found on the side of the road at the brink of death.

—A young dog that was critically ill after giving birth to puppies.

—Multiple dogs with pancreatitis.

—Multiple dogs and cats with allergic skin disease.

"She'd be very proud of that," Kim Bouyea said.

Lutzy said anyone interested in donating can do so at the Saranac Veterinary Clinic.

Scott Bouyea, Alexis's father, said he will work to keep the fund going for as long as possible.

"As long as I'm here, we're gonna make an effort to do stuff (fundraisers) every year and keep donating to it," he said.

"Amanda is a great person. She's very nice to us and I think it's a good thing."


Pray said every future generation deserves to know who Alexis Bouyea was and what she believed in.

Now, thanks to the Alexis Fund, they will.

"I can't think of anything that would honor Alexis more, or be more true to who she was as a person, than a fund with a foundation of saving animals, because that's really who she was," Pray said.

"This fund allows her legacy, her memory to stay very present, because unfortunately, a lot of times, the passing of time steals that from us and we slowly say people's names less and those memories become blurrier and blurrier," she continued.

"But this fund keeps those memories vivid, it keeps her here, it keeps us talking about her."


Twitter: CarlySNewton