March 7th, 2023
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator II
Jeanie and her family had endured more in the last few years than many of us hope to brave in a lifetime. They lost many of their personal effects when their house suffered structural damage in a flood. The damage wasn’t covered by their insurance policy, and FEMA could only offer construction loans that Jeanie couldn’t afford to take on anyway. Between paying for repairs out of pocket and replacing their belongings, their finances quickly fell into disarray.
In the midst of rebuilding their lives, Jeanie took on the responsibility of providing in-home hospice care to both of her parents in addition to raising her six children. Every day was physically and emotionally exhausting. Her parents passed, and within a year, she lost her grandmother too. She felt completely alone and overwhelmed.
But things soon changed when Lacey found their family:
“One day while my kids were in school, my husband Mike and I were grocery shopping near a local pet store. He decided to stop in just to look around. As we entered the pet store this big, brown boxer just ran right down the aisle. She had broken free from the staff member who was holding her leash loosely to put her back in the display area where they kept the adoptable animals for people to see. She just ran right toward me, wagging her tail. At that moment I knew she was perfect for me, perfect for our family. She has loved us so much, and shows how thankful she is every day for our family. When I pick up our kids from school, hundreds of kids run out of the school building through the school yard just to pet her. She loves to be petted by kids. This routine has continued in rain, snow, and sunshine. She is there to greet my kids and the neighborhood kids. Even our principal pets her. She is loved by so many people including our mailman. When we are sick she sleeps with us. She is like clockwork daily and knows when it’s time to go to school to get the kids. My kids look at Lacey as their sister, not as a dog. She is a part of our big family and we love her with all of our hearts. Whatever Lacey’s story was in the past and how she ended up in a shelter, I believe in my heart that during our time together we have both healed one another. She is loved, she is safe, and she is the heart to our family.”
Sweet Lacey started itching uncontrollably in the summer, and their veterinarian suggested it could be due to a food allergy. They gave her Benadryl and switched dog foods, which seemed to help at first, but Lacey’s itching persisted. Jeanie noticed that her big girl had developed a tiny lump on her abdomen, and that’s what she couldn’t help but scratch at all day. Within a few weeks, the lump had grown to the size of an orange and was oozing blood. The veterinarian performed a biopsy and diagnosed Lacey with a type of cancer very common to her breed. Fortunately, her prognosis was good – as long as the lump was surgically removed.
Just as Lacey was facing uncertainty, Jeanie herself was dealing with medical issues of her own. She had recently had a second surgery to address her disability, and she was making more frequent copayments to manage her heart and autoimmune issues. She received social security disability benefits while she stayed home full-time to care for their children, an arrangement that had worked well for the family when her husband was working. But he was recently injured in the line of duty as a police officer and would soon undergo a medical procedure, all while receiving workers’ compensation only. The urgency of Lacey’s surgery could not have come at a worse time for the family.
Thinking of her children and everyone in the community who adored Lacey, Jeanie knew she had to find a way to pay for this surgery, no matter what. Lacey was only six years old with a long life full of love still ahead of her. To honor all the joy and healing Lacey had brought to the family and to save her life, Jeanie applied for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant that would help pay for the surgery. Within days, her application was approved and Lacey underwent surgery to remove the lump. After some time spent recovering alongside Jeanie and her husband, Lacey was herself once again, free from the itching and ready to play with her siblings:
“I just wanted to let you know that Lacey is doing wonderful. She just got her stitches out last week, and is now running around and playing. I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping my family with giving us a grant.”
Compassionate people like you keep families just like Jeanie and Lacey’s together in their moment of need. Thank you for committing to our lifesaving mission and making these Happy Tails a reality! ♥️