May 11th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
Patricia is the quintessential dog mom to her two Akitas, Bene (“Ben-ay”) and his sister Mika-San, (plus their spoiled cockatoo sibling). Being the older of the two, handsome boy Bene had spent nearly 12 years at Patricia’s side in mutual devotion.
“Bene is my best friend in life. He’s been my constant companion since he was a baby…I’ve taken him with me everywhere and socialized him completely. When I walk him, he smells every house and he knows who lives where. Everyone at the vet’s office loves Bene. They can vouch for what a super gentle dog he is. He also understands everything you tell him. You’d love him too if you could meet him.”
With such a close, attentive relationship, Patrica was keenly aware of Bene’s health and was always quick to notice any changes. As he began to age, he had the gray muzzle and lumps and bumps to show it, but they never gave Patricia much cause for concern. But it seemed his eyelids were particularly prone to these lumps and bumps. During a routine dental cleaning several years ago, the veterinarian removed a growth from one of Bene’s eyelids at Patricia’s request. Now the growth had returned, and both lower eyelids were affected.
Patricia didn’t know if these “old man tumors,” as she called them, were benign or not. Either way, the constant friction on his eyeballs was bothersome to Bene and caused frequent infections. At his age, any infection had the potential to become lethal, and more than anything, Patricia wanted her old man to be comfortable: “I just want to take good care of him. It’s going to be so hard for me when he’s not with me anymore.”
The veterinarian did all of the necessary diagnostic testing and bloodwork, and cleared Bene to have the eyelid growths removed surgically. Patricia was sent home with medication to ease the pain in his hind legs and an ointment for his eyes. For the moment, that was all she could afford to do to help her sweet dog feel better.
After paying for his diagnostic work and prescriptions, Patricia was now facing a bill for this unexpected surgery that was several hundred dollars more than she could spend. Patricia is disabled and shares a home with her elderly mother, and both of them live on a fixed income. Mika-San needed to be spayed, and both her and Bene were soon due for their annual vaccines. Patricia had been saving money to pay for their necessary care, but even if she used all of her savings on Bene’s surgery, she was still coming up short for the full cost and didn’t want to delay Mika’s spay procedure or their vaccinations.
Patricia searched online for financial assistance and applied for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant, hoping against hope that her special bond with Bene would inspire others to help. When she learned her application had been approved and she would have enough to cover the cost of his surgery, it was Bene she told first before calling the veterinarian to schedule an appointment. As she counted down the days until he had his surgery, Patricia reached out to RedRover to express her gratitude:
“I am so grateful for the help you all are providing for me and my very best of friends. Bene knows a lot of English and I’ve been telling him we’re going to get his eyes fixed for him, so he doesn’t have those things rubbing on his eyes. You guys are truly the best Bene and I could ever ask for.”
With Bene’s eyelid growths removed, he returned home with Patricia to be greeted by his little sister Mika-San and their cockatoo, both of whom missed him in their own ways – but none more so than Patricia.
We are so thankful for opportunities like these to keep families together in their moment of need, and we couldn’t have done it without kindhearted people like you. Thank you for putting your compassion into action for animals like Bene and for bringing this family from crisis to care!