August 15th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
Tracy noticed right away when her family dog Wolf became lethargic, which was out of character for the handsome German Shepherd, who at 10 years old was still spry and energetic. The mood in the house darkened over several days as his lethargy set in and the family’s worries grew. Tracy was shocked and heartbroken when she brought Wolf to the veterinarian for bloodwork and an ultrasound and learned that he was bleeding internally from a ruptured mass on his spleen. The prognosis: They could lose him at any moment.
Her husband had become disabled during his Marine Corps service, and the family got by on his monthly Veterans Affairs benefits. Living on a fixed income would make it next to impossible for Tracy and her husband to afford Wolf’s urgent surgery to stop the bleeding and remove his spleen. They had spent what spare money they had just to learn what was wrong, and they were quickly running out of time to raise the money and save Wolf’s life.
When Tracy searched online and found the RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant program, she wasted no time in submitting an application for help. Though she was anxious and afraid, she could vividly describe the Wolf-shaped hole in her family’s heart:
“Wolf is a fully certified PTSD service dog. He was donated to my husband when he was at Wounded Warrior Battalion before being medically discharged from the Marine Corps for combat-related injuries. My husband returned from Afghanistan in late 2011, and our youngest daughter was born in 2012. She was just over a year old when we received Wolf so the two of them have grown up together quite literally and are also very close.
Wolf has been very lethargic over the last few days but managed to stir up enough energy to go out in the backyard with our daughter yesterday when she returned from school. He is a very intelligent dog, and I am confident he was aware that our daughter is also having a hard time not having her childhood playmate outside with her. We could tell he was tired but nonetheless he managed to comfort our daughter. I truly believe he was letting her know that he will be okay. He is still very lethargic, but he does eat and drink which are very good signs as he tries to comfort my husband as well.
My husband served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He does a great job at portraying your typical tough-guy Marine exterior; however, he is a very sentimental man with a big heart and this news about Wolf is weighing very heavily on him. My husband has had little sleep over the course of the last few nights, pacing and laying beside his ‘partner’ for extended periods of time. Seeing both my husband and daughter having such a hard time coping has been extremely taxing. He is not just a service dog, he is very much a part of our family.”
Tracy welcomed the news that her application for an Urgent Care grant had been approved with such immense gratitude that the dark cloud over her home quickly gave way to warm feelings of hope. Her sweet old boy made it through surgery successfully, so much so that you would never know he was pawing at death’s door just days before. Now back at home, Wolf is ready to report for duty as a cherished member of the family.
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 our kindhearted FurEver Friends who put their compassion into action for animals like Wolf!