August 24th, 2020
By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator
Six years ago, Seira rescued a mama dog and her three puppies from an irresponsible backyard breeder who had been neglecting and abusing the dogs. She took all four dogs to a local rescue, but when the time came to say goodbye, she held on to one puppy. This pup came home with her and joined her family.
Seira named that puppy Star, a beautiful bluenose pitbull with a big smile and an even bigger personality. From the very beginning, they shared an inseparable bond. Seira had Star by her side through a painful divorce, the loss of two family members back to back, financial difficulties and the verge of homelessness.
The years had been a test of Seira’s perseverance and resilience, but caring for Star gave her the strength to keep fighting and eventually move from the East Coast to San Francisco for a new beginning.
With all of her family members still on the East Coast, Star more than ever was the greatest source of comfort in Seira’s life. Every evening when she returned home from working in a restaurant, Star would be there waiting for her. Though they had little, they had each other.
“My dog is my child. It’s always been my dog and I. In the past six years, she went through a lot of struggles with me…. I would do anything for her. I can’t even imagine the world without her.”
Seira was laid off from her job early in March when San Francisco issued a shelter-in-place order, closing restaurants and other non-essential businesses to stop the spread of COVID-19. She immediately applied for unemployment benefits, and over the weeks as restaurants slowly reopened with new restrictions, she began looking for a new job.
Once the end of July approached and the unemployment benefits were due to expire, Seira had yet to find a new job working in the restaurant industry, despite her 15 years of experience. Turning to Star often for comfort, she noticed one day a mass on the side of Star’s left paw pad. Only a few hours later, she noticed that it had grown significantly larger. The mass continued to grow and ruptured after a few hours, appearing raw and painful.
Star had not been acting like herself while the mass grew. She had been sleeping more and more, and lost her appetite. Seira knew she would need to get her to a veterinarian right away. If so much had changed in such a short amount of time, where would Star be tomorrow?
The veterinarian at her local SPCA told Seira what she knew in her heart: Star would need to have the mass removed with surgery as soon as possible. It felt hopeless. Seira didn’t know what income she would have in a few weeks, or how she would pay her bills if she spent what she had now… but Star couldn’t wait.
With the help of a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant, plus an act of kindness from one of RedRover’s On-Call Angels, Seira was able to get Star the surgery she needed right away before the mass got any worse. Just nine days later, with her stitches removed and a clean bill of health, Star brought her signature grin to a photoshoot in the park to say thank you!
Seira translated Star’s grin for us:
“People like you and organizations like RedRover keep hope alight in times of despair, and I really, truly appreciate what you do. Unlimited kisses xoxo Star and Seira”