By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

Ten years ago, Tiffany was surviving day by day in an abusive relationship. On a visit to a friend of a friend’s house, she met a dog that would change the course of her life.

The owners had not been feeding the dog, and they were giving him different kinds of drugs for their cruel entertainment. She wanted to take the dog home with her, and when she asked, they replied with, “we don’t like him, you can have him”.

Named Bruzer, the gorgeous English Springer Spaniel had a fiercely loving spirit waiting underneath the trauma of neglect. Tiffany and Bruzer grew together, and witnessing his resilience gave her the courage to leave the violence behind and begin a happier life.

Tiffany now has four children with their own four-legged babysitter and best friend.

“Bruzer is our best friend, our hero, our protector. I saved his life when he was a puppy, then in turn he saved mine from an abusive relationship and he went everywhere with me. Every car ride, every park, every movie – we have always been together. When my kids were born, he greeted every single one of them home and has been fiercely protective of them ever since. No one messes with his babies. He lays with them if I leave the room. He goes in and stays with them until I’m back, even if it’s only for a minute. My children adore him. They cry when he can’t come for car rides. They love picking him special dog treats for holidays, and buying his favorite pillows and blankets. They helped pick his bed he sleeps on during the day and at night he moves between beds of all the kids and myself.

Bruzer IS our best friend. He has the biggest spot in our hearts that would be empty without him. I had his paw prints tattooed on me when I was 18 in the spot he always jumps up on me to say hi when I come in the door! Bruzer is one of a kind. He knows all of us when we are hurt, sad, upset, happy, and he knows exactly what to do when we need him to do it. He’s learned so many tricks for the kids, and loves his tummy rubs. This is not just a dog. He’s one of my kids, and he’s a part of our family, he is our best friend, our protector.”

Bruzer was there for Tiffany and her family when they were deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Having lost her job that supported the entire family, Tiffany soon lost her apartment and needed to move immediately. Through an exhausting search and a hasty move, Tiffany sought comfort in Bruzer and her children’s love for him.

Soon her husband was called back to work, which provided their sole source of income, and Tiffany could begin to get caught up. But Bruzer began to act strangely, becoming lethargic and refusing to eat. He was losing weight, and he would only get up to follow the kids to bed.

On a visit to the veterinarian, Tiffany learned that Bruzer was suffering from stage 3 kidney disease and would need immediate hospitalization to receive intensive care and improve his kidney function. If he was hospitalized soon enough, there was a strong chance that he could maintain a healthy life with medication and a prescription diet. Tiffany had just ten days to get the money together.

“Losing him is like losing one of my babies. It shatters my heart to think about. I’ve spent three sleepless nights trying to come up with just a few hundred to get our baby taken care of.”

While Tiffany and her husband had money they could spend on Bruzer’s treatment, it would leave them with nothing to care for their family of six. They were heartbroken, but they weren’t defeated. They set aside what they could, while applying for a line of credit and creating a fundraiser, even empowering their children to help Bruzer. They searched high and low for help from organizations, before being referred to RedRover by a compassionate friend.

With so much heart poured into their efforts, they came up just shy of the total needed for Bruzer’s treatment. Because of generous animal lovers like yourself, RedRover was able to award a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant to Tiffany and Bruzer to begin his hospitalization and save his life.

The hospitalization worked! Bruzer is home now with his four best buds and two doting parents, being spoiled in the name of rest and healing. He continues to receive medication and fluid therapy at home, and while he doesn’t care for his prescription diet kibble, Tiffany is testing out home-cooked kidney diets that he gobbles up happily. He has more energy, and he’s enjoying his walks and hunting for squirrels in the yard.

Tiffany shared, “We could not be more thankful, truly. My kids are so happy to see their best friend and hero acting more like himself and us as well!!!”

We are beyond grateful for the support of RedRover that makes Happy Tails like Tiffany and Bruzer’s possible. Your belief in our mission is what keeps families together through crisis and allows the special bonds between people and pets to flourish in health and happiness. Thank you!

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