November 15th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
After Cynthia lost her sweet older dog Polly to metastatic breast cancer in the spring, she and her other dog Tiger Lily were left with a home too quiet for comfort – but another little senior dog would soon bring joy back into the family.
Late in the southern Arizona summer, Cynthia came across an abandoned dog in a rural part of her community. This small, fragile Chihuahua had been left to suffer the elements blind and with a ruptured tumor on her stomach. There was no telling how long she had been out there alone, but the puncture hole on her back suggested she had been attacked by another animal. Leaving her behind would have been unthinkable.
Cynthia called several animal shelters to check if the dog had been reported missing, and she posted online hoping to find her owner. She hadn’t been reported missing, and no one replied to Cynthia’s post. Reluctantly, she called the animal shelter again, and they told Cynthia that the dog would likely be euthanized because of her medical needs. Unwilling to let that happen, she went to her veterinarian for help.
Because Cynthia brought her in as a found dog, the veterinarian’s staff tried calling the animal shelter one more time, and this time the shelter had good news. A couple had reported their little dog Lola missing, and the dog Cynthia rescued fit the description. In fact, when Cynthia and the staff called the little pup Lola, she perked up and turned her head at the different voices calling her name, despite how awful she must have felt.
It was a relief to think the dog would soon go home with her family, but Cynthia was heartbroken when the husband and wife arrived at the veterinarian’s office only to find that this was not their Lola. The dog didn’t recognize the couple either, but because she had responded so well to the name, Cynthia decided to name her Lola.
Amidst the rollercoaster of emotions that they had all just experienced, the veterinarian took Lola’s blood for lab work. She was somewhere between 12 and 14 years old, and though she had the ruptured tumor on her stomach and the bad teeth typical of an older Chihuahua, she was overall in good health. No one could replace Polly, but Cynthia was delighted to welcome Lola into her family.
More importantly and urgently than getting a new collar and a warm bed, Lola needed to have the tumor removed. It had been leaking fluid and bleeding since Cynthia found her. Without knowing whether it was cancerous or not, every day it remained on her tiny body posed a threat to the new, happy life she had found.
Because Cynthia lived on a fixed income, the majority of which went to paying her bills, she started a fundraiser to pay for the cost of Lola’s surgery. She didn’t receive a single donation, but rather than feeling angry and defeated, she persisted in finding Lola the help she needed. Her application to the RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant program detailed the resilient pup’s story and was soon approved, fulfilling Cynthia’s promise of a better life for Lola.
The surgery was a success. Though the tumor was biopsied and found to be skin cancer, the veterinarian was confident that they had removed all of it. As soon as Lola’s stitches were removed, she began to blossom in her new home. Cynthia shared this heartwarming update on Lola:
“She knows my house now and she knows my other dog Tiger Lily, and they get along very well. Finding little Lola has been a blessing for me and Tiger Lily. She hasn’t taken the place of Polly but she has brought love and blessings into my life again and I am so grateful and thankful to RedRover that I cannot express the difference you’ve made by helping this little dog.”
Lola’s second chance is the reason the support of our FurEver Friends matters so much. Because of compassionate people like you, we can always answer the call when families like Cynthia and Lola need help.