April 6th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
Nearly 10 years ago, Elizabeth returned from living abroad in Nicaragua with a little stowaway. Pipe had big brown eyes and even bigger ears, and this Miniature Pinscher mix had been living on the streets of Managua before she was taken to a shelter to be adopted. Once she was spayed and healed enough to travel, Pipe began the long journey to the United States, where she would have a home – and Elizabeth’s love – for the rest of her life.
They were best friends from the start and grew closer with each passing year. When Elizabeth finished her graduate degree in the midst of the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, she was particularly grateful for all the times she had leaned on Pipe’s love and companionship for support throughout her academic career.
Graduating into a turbulent economy and job market due to the pandemic made it difficult for Elizabeth to find employment in her field. Still, she needed a job to survive, even if it wasn’t what she dreamed of doing. She was working two part-time jobs while she kept her eyes and ears out for a better opportunity. Her income went largely toward staying current on her bills and tackling debt she had accumulated in school. In between shifts, she made sure she and her little girl spent as much time together as they could get, growing closer through the hardship of a transitional period in life.
Elizabeth assumed that Pipe was spayed at the shelter in Managua, and in their 10 years together, she never noticed anything that might suggest otherwise. When she noticed blood in Pipe’s urine, Elizabeth was naturally concerned that Pipe might have had bladder stones or a urinary tract infection, as nothing else made sense to her. Regardless, Pipe needed to see the veterinarian.
The veterinarian took X-rays, revealing Pipe had developed a pyometra infection in her uterus – which Elizabeth thought had been removed 10 years ago. Most likely the spay procedure at the shelter had not been done completely, and in addition to her uterus, Pipe was left with partial ovarian tissue that the veterinarian was concerned had become embedded in her abdomen.
Now Pipe would need an emergency spay procedure to remove the infected uterus and any remaining ovarian tissue. Elizabeth’s heart sank when she heard the quoted price of the surgery. Her credit card was maxed out, and she wasn’t in a position to apply for another one. With so much of her income going toward paying off her existing debt, she hadn’t been able to start growing her savings, and the veterinarian made it clear that Pipe’s surgery couldn’t wait – the infection might soon become septic.
At home with antibiotics for Pipe to help keep the infection under control, Elizabeth focused on finding the help she needed to afford the emergency spay procedure. It was reassuring to see that there were organizations that understood her bond with Pipe and were willing to help, and among these hopeful options, she applied for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant.
Just days after finding blood in Pipe’s urine, Elizabeth was able to get her sweet girl the emergency spay procedure she needed to continue to lead a healthy, joyful life. Elizabeth visited Pipe in the hospital the day after the surgery. Though Pipe was wobbly from her medication and had a hard time standing up, she came to Elizabeth and stood by her, ready to go home with her mama. But she needed to prove that she was eating well and feeling good, and after another night at the hospital, Pipe came home with Elizabeth the following day.
Now that Pipe is well, Elizabeth can take comfort in knowing she will still have her best friend by her side as they continue to the next chapter of their lives together. We are so grateful for these opportunities to keep families together through crises, and we are thankful that we can count on the support of the FurEver Friends each month to make that possible.
From families like Pipe and Elizabeth and all of us here at RedRover, thank you! We couldn’t do it without you!