By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

How many times have you found yourself saying, “My pet saved my life”? Perhaps for you, like so many others, that statement goes beyond the abstract to a moment in time where our pet truly did make a lifesaving difference that we can never forget. We can only repay them with our attention, compassion, and love. 

For Marlana, it was her little pup Lolly’s smile that saved her. 

I found this little dog living in the yard of a hoarder. She was tied to a tree, lying in the bare dirt all by herself. The day I found her and picked her up, I never put her down, She is the sweetest, most loving little dog. She was with me for a short while during my stint of homelessness until I found a friend who could take care of her until I got my own place. There was a day when she was with me in that old car and I was contemplating suicide. I could not handle all of the hardship that I had been going through anymore. I looked down at her and she looked up at me with her smile and I couldn’t do it. I thought to myself, “What is going to happen to her if I were to do this?” She needed me as much as I needed her. She has changed my life for the better in just about every way. She has helped me so much with my depression and anxiety. She keeps me going and keeps me happy. 

Through thick and thin, Lolly’s good-natured smile gave Marlana the strength to persevere, eventually making her way out of homelessness and getting back on her feet. She found a job with a non-profit organization offering treatment for women with substance abuse disorders and found peace in her new day-to-day routine. She saved up the money to replace the old car where she and Lolly had lived when things were at their worst.

Things were certainly looking up. She was now able to put some money away each month to save, and she was considering pet insurance plans to take the best care of Lolly she could. 

One afternoon, she took Lolly out for her regular walk. A curious soul, Lolly liked to sniff around and explore before doing her business. As they walked back to the house, Marlana noticed Lolly had a small item in her mouth. She bent down to take it away from her, but Lolly swallowed it before she could.

Whatever it was, the item got stuck in Lolly’s esophagus. She was not interested in her food, and she couldn’t keep water down. Marlana took her to the veterinarian to receive subcutaneous fluids because without them, Lolly would quickly be in trouble. 

The veterinarian took x-rays to confirm that the item was stuck in her esophagus. In such a complicated position, endoscopic surgery would be the only way to remove it and save Lolly’s life. But without an insurance plan, that surgery would be prohibitively expensive. 

Even feeling so unwell, Lolly’s resilience shined through.

She is my best friend and I don’t know what I am going to do without her. She is not feeling well physically but her spirit is still strong. She still loves to stick her little head out of the car window and enjoy the fresh air. I am absolutely devastated to be in this position.

At her lowest point, Marlana had turned to Lolly for the courage to hold on to life despite so much hardship, and because of Lolly she was able to believe that life would get better. Now it was her turn to get Lolly through this crisis and make sure they could enjoy their new happiness together for many more years.

Marlana was diligent – she applied for CareCredit, created a fundraiser, and reached out to organizations for help. Whenever she told her story of saving Lolly and Lolly saving her, people wanted to help. Between all her hard work and what money she had been able to set aside, she soon had enough for Lolly’s surgery.

After saying her goodbyes in the morning and waiting anxiously all afternoon, Marlana was finally able to pick Lolly up from the veterinary hospital and take her home to heal. Even having just come out of surgery, Lolly was smiling and sticking her head out of the car window to catch a breeze. 

Marlana was so thankful for the help she received from RedRover, and she was excited to share this update on Lolly:

It has been a long journey and she is not 100% yet but she is getting better little by little now which is AMAZING!!!!! She has been eating, drinking water, and even barked at the maintenance men at home. 🙂

I had been told several times she had no chance and to let her go. Y’all helped me prove that wrong!! She’s doing great and so happy and energetic again. Thank you so much, thank you so much to all the donors for helping to save my fur child’s life and taking a chance. She is my emotional support animal and my life would be so empty without her. 🤗🥰🥰  I honestly can’t thank you enough.

We can’t thank you enough either. Your support as a FurEver Friend keeps families together through the most challenging of times, creating strong bonds that last a lifetime. For every family that has a story to share like Marlana and Lolly’s, you too are the lifesaving difference they can never forget.

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