July 13th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
When Erica became a single mother, she was grateful to have her handsome Pittie, Judge, by her side as she juggled nursing school, working to pay the bills, and caring for her two children on her own. Judge was her loyal companion and protector, and while she knew caring for him too could be a financial strain on just one income, she had promised him a lifetime of happiness and love.
“Judge loves my children, but most of all he loves me. He is my boy and another member of the family.”
Judge, for his part, took his role as one of Erica’s boys seriously and reveled in the delights of dog-hood. She called him her “happy, hoppy hippo” for his boundless, exuberant joy and, at just under three years old, he still had much to explore about the world. Earlier this year, he sank his teeth into a stick and chewed to his young heart’s content. But the joy of the stick soon turned to discomfort as an infection developed in his mouth.
Erica brought him to the veterinarian, who prescribed a course of antibiotics, believing that would cure the infection and Judge could quickly return to his hippo ways. She was right, but the infection returned just one month later, more aggressive and persistent than before. There was substantial inflammation toward the back of his mouth, leading the veterinarian to suspect that a splinter had been lodged near Judge’s throat for a month and had now become embedded in the soft tissue. It was unlikely antibiotics alone would work this time without surgically removing the splinter.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Erica had lost her job and steady source of income. She began delivering groceries to support her family the best that she could, even working the maximum number of hours available while still being able to attend school and care for her children. So when the veterinarian quoted her the cost of surgery to remove the splinter from Judge’s mouth, she was heartbroken.
As a single mother, Erica had proven to herself that she was capable of conquering obstacles, and she saw the high cost of Judge’s surgery as just another obstacle to overcome. She couldn’t imagine her life without Judge, much less giving him up to another family due to a temporary situation.
She could put a little bit more money toward his treatment after paying for his exam and antibiotics, and she had also been approved for a line of credit. With just a small gap in funding left to afford the full cost, she searched online and applied for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant.
Her application was approved, and Judge promptly had the surgery to remove the splinter from his mouth. He was healed and back to his “happy, hoppy hippo” self in time to celebrate his third birthday with Erica and her children, complete with extra special treats and more love than ever before. Thanks to compassionate people like you, Judge will have many more birthdays to celebrate as part of this family of four.
We are so grateful for our supporters and the Happy Tails they make possible!