By Savannah Verdon, RedRover Development and Engagement Coordinator

For Skeeter (they/them/their), there is one form of therapy that has been the most rewarding in managing their anxiety, bipolar disorder, and OCD: fostering dogs. When Skeeter is caring for a dog and helping to prepare them for a new life in a loving home, the positive effects on Skeeter’s own emotional wellbeing are undeniable. In a word, they are happier. After fostering several dogs and shepherding them toward a positive future, Skeeter decided the best thing for their mental health would be to adopt a dog of their own.

Winnie, a sweet little Miniature Pinscher, had had a rough life before Skeeter adopted her. As a breeding dog, she had been made to give birth to litter after litter before being abandoned to the streets. Despite it all, she was very loving, and after just two short weeks with Skeeter, all she wanted was to nap together during the day and snuggle together at night.

When Skeeter adopted Winnie, they were told Winnie was only three years old and in good health. But a check-up at the veterinary clinic revealed that Winnie was actually closer to six years old, unvaccinated, sick with giardia, and desperately needed to have her infected teeth pulled. 

With their college classes all online, Skeeter hadn’t been able to get an on-campus job this year, and being a full-time student, they were too busy to find a job elsewhere. Their mother was also unemployed and living with a disability. Together they lived off their savings and loans, which so far had taken care of all of Winnie’s needs – food, vaccinations, and regular veterinary care. But the unexpected and large expense of emergency dental extractions was outside of their budget.

As a transgender person of color, Skeeter had struggled to find a sense of community, especially throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Having Winnie in their life gave Skeeter the connection they were searching for, and the thought of having to part ways due to a lack of finances was unbearable.

“I am in a position now where I have to decide whether I can keep her or not. I want to keep her so badly. She has made me less anxious, more excited about life. Winnie is the sweetest dog in the world and I love her so dearly. She means SO much to me, she is such a caring little companion. In general, I love dogs more than anything in this world, and although I cannot afford her medical bills, I am hoping that I can get some assistance so that I can continue to build a lifelong relationship with Winnie.”

Skeeter’s veterinarian recommended they reach out to RedRover and apply for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant. Winnie would need anesthesia, multiple extractions, antibiotics and pain medication. Fortunately, because we have the support of so many compassionate animal lovers like you, we were able to help with Winnie’s emergency treatment.

Now recovered from giardia and with her mouth feeling much, much better, Winnie can fully enjoy her time with Skeeter, including taking a daily hike among the wildflowers with her renewed energy and enthusiasm. Today, both of them are smiling bigger than ever.

We are grateful for your support and the Happy Tails you make possible! Thank you for helping RedRover bring hundreds of animals like Winnie from crisis to care!

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