December 9th, 2022
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator
Sweet Pea the dog has the voice of an angel – a smiley, slobbery, wiggly pit bull angel. She and her brother Austin are the light of their mama Lisa’s life, “singing” and howling the blues away. In fact, Sweet Pea came to Lisa at a very dark time:
“We had a horrible flood here in our town in October 2015 and many people lost their homes and pets. A lady who rescues animals found Sweet Pea and her buddy in the middle of a very busy intersection during the flood. She rescued them, and tried to locate their owners but couldn’t so she took them to the vet and kept them until she decided to look for forever homes for them. In November 2016, I lost a senior dog I had adopted 18 months prior and it caused my severe depression to set in again. I had vowed not to get another dog. I’ve owned only pitbull-type dogs for the last 20 years and they are dear to my heart. One night when the depression was so bad that scary thoughts came into my mind and I decided I needed the companionship of another dog, I found Sweet Pea online, contacted her rescuer, and told her about me and my living situation. She felt we were a perfect fit. Sweet Pea and I have been inseparable since then. She saved me and she is my heart.”
Lisa noticed one afternoon in the fall that now-8-year-old Sweet Pea had a lump under the skin near her ear, blemishing her beautiful, velvety, always pinchable cheek. Lisa’s number one priority was her babies’ health, so she brought Sweet Pea to the vet to have the lump checked out. The vet collected a sample of cells from the lump to biopsy, but whether the lump was cancerous or not, it would need to be surgically removed – a large, unexpected expense in Lisa’s budget. In the pit of her stomach, she feared the worst, recalling the tragic loss of a cherished dog:
“Being able to make sure my pets see the vet is very important and when I am not able to do that I begin to panic. I had a cocker spaniel, Dominoe, many years ago who suddenly got sick and I had only been taking her for her shots and such to the mobile clinics so she didn’t have a regular vet. I knew she was in bad shape and HAD to see a vet immediately. I called every vet I could think of and asked if there was any way I could make payments for her charges if they’d just see her. No one would agree. I lost Dominoe because I didn’t have the money to get her cared for and it has haunted me ever since then. I have spent a fortune making sure Sweet Pea has proper vet care, taking out loans and whatever was needed. The last thing I need is to lose her because she and I are like one. My mental health would not withstand that.”
Lisa had lost her job shortly before Sweet Pea’s lump appeared. She received disability benefits due to a mobility issue that limited her ability to work, and for which Sweet Pea had always been her watchful protector. But with no reliable additional income, it could take months to save enough money for Sweet Pea’s surgery – months that, if the lump was cancerous, might be the last few they would have together.
Much like the dark night when she first found Sweet Pea online, Lisa searched for some way to save her baby. She had some money set aside to put toward the surgery, so all she needed was that last little bit of help to keep her perfect family of three whole. When she discovered the RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant program, she wished more than anything that she had known about it when Dominoe was sick all those years ago. But now, she could get Sweet Pea the help she needed.
Within just two weeks of the lump first appearing, Sweet Pea had her surgery – all thanks to compassionate people like you. It was good news when Lisa learned that her application for an Urgent Care grant had been approved, but it was great news when Sweet Pea’s pathology report showed no signs of cancer, just inflammation! Sweet Pea healed beautifully under her brother Austin and Lisa’s loving care, soon feeling well enough to sing her joyful song once again.
We are beyond grateful for the Happy Tails our supporters have made possible in 2022. Because of animal lovers like you, RedRover makes a lifesaving difference for families like Lisa and Sweet Pea, and we can’t wait to share more heartwarming stories like theirs in 2023!