By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

For Sadie, living with complex PTSD became a lighter load to bear when she welcomed a service dog into her life. After many years of profound companionship, Sadie’s service dog lost a battle with cancer and was humanely euthanized. 

After such an enormous loss, Sadie turned to her neighbor’s dog, Sky, for comfort. The two dogs had been best friends, but Sadie hadn’t seen Sky in a while. She thought she could honor her dog’s memory by visiting and taking Sky for a walk. At the very least, maybe it would help her stop crying.

But when she saw the conditions Sky was living in, she could only cry harder. Sky’s nails were long and curled underneath her feet, her rectum was bleeding, her ears were infected and she was suffering a severe allergic reaction to a poor diet, plus urine burns from being confined to her kennel. Sadie walked her for two or three days before she just couldn’t bear to bring her back to her owner. She tried to convince her neighbor that Sky needed medical help. But he refused. She pleaded with him before finally offering $100 to buy her. He shrugged and said, “Sure, take her.”

Sadie brought Sky home right away, and set about trimming her nails and cleaning her ears. The poor dog was suffering from a urinary tract infection and uncontrolled diarrhea on top of everything else. That same day at the veterinary hospital, she was given antibiotics, anti-diarrheal medication and probiotics to stop the diarrhea, with little success. Her body was overwhelmed.

Though having a service dog made a positive impact on Sadie’s life, she was unable to work due to her complex PTSD and received SSDI benefits to get by. Already she had spent what she had on Sky’s treatment, but it was just the beginning.

The veterinarian recommended that Sky receive a subcutaneous injection to relieve the allergic reaction, in addition to more medications and a prescription dog food. Sadie didn’t know how she would be able to heal Sky from all the neglect from which she had been rescued. But to honor the loss of her service dog and to hopefully form a deep bond with Sky as her new service dog, Sadie was committed to giving Sky the second chance she deserved.  

With the help of a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant, Sadie was able to give Sky the full treatment she needed to heal physically and begin the journey of healing from neglect to develop trust, love and companionship for the first time.

Though Sadie was looking forward to when she could train Sky to be her service dog, she knew it would take time and patience for Sky to become a confident and happy dog. As she administered Sky’s special food and medications with the utmost care, she gradually taught Sky that this was her home, too, and that they were family now.

We are happy to share this update from Sadie on Sky’s progress in becoming a beloved member of the family:

She is better, and still has a way to go. She goes in and out all day as she likes. That is something she does about every five minutes. She scratches to go out. Then scratches to come in. It’s as if she can’t get over the novelty of being able to do that. The patio is carpeted and she likes to lay in the sun on it. There is exercise inside, in the way of toy play. Whew, she plays hard! She is learning how to be gentler when “mouthing” during playtime and not to do that to my face ever. Poor thing. Can you imagine…four years old and just learning how to play?

It breaks my heart beyond words how she recoils and winces, expecting a blow at any sudden hand movement. This is a real struggle for me. There is no pill for this. I fight tears every time this sweet girl does that and I reassure her as often as I can that I don’t hit anyone, ever, under any circumstances, that I would never hit her! 

She still can’t seem to believe that she can crash out on the futon or the bed or wherever she wants. I am over the moon about this dog. Thank you so much for caring and for helping with Sky.

Thank you for making Happy Tails like Sadie and Sky’s possible with your support of RedRover!

Help spread kindness by sharing  Sky’s Happy Tail with your friends and family or consider making a gift to the RedRover Relief program to give more cherished pets like Sky a second chance.