June 5th, 2023
By Savannah Verdon, Development and Engagement Coordinator II
The first year of Abbey’s life was spent with a family who wanted to give this little chihuahua everything in the world. When her family’s father was diagnosed with cancer and the family needed to focus on his treatment and recovery, they had to make the tough choice of finding a home who could take care of her in the way she deserved. Andrea was fortunate to be the one to bring this sweet girl home, and had diligently provided Abbey all the best care for twelve years. She got regular check-ups and dental care at the vet. She could roam freely indoors and explore the wonderful outside world with the safety of a leash. Most of all, she was deeply cherished and loved unconditionally.
Several years ago, Andrea gathered Abbey and her cat, Lucky, to leave the narcissistic and financial abuse she had endured in her marriage. The financial abuse her ex-husband subjected her to had a devastating and long-lasting effect on her finances. She was still recovering from that, rebuilding her life day-by-day, and things were beginning to look better. But she soon suffered another painful setback when, in a matter of just eleven days, she had to say her goodbyes to Lucky.
Andrea’s beautiful cat had developed an aggressive form of oral cancer: one that, even with treatment, did not have a good prognosis. As Lucky received compassionate care and pain management at the veterinary hospital, Andrea held onto the gift of being able to spend those last few days together. She would have given anything to have more time with Lucky, and the memory weighed heavily on her heart and mind.
Like many senior dogs, Abbey had her fair share of lumps and bumps. Andrea was greatly concerned by a pea-sized lipoma she noticed on Abbey’s chest when she was 11 years old. But on the advice of her veterinarian, the lipoma was not removed. Instead, Andrea was to monitor it as Abbey aged. In the months leading up to Lucky’s passing and for several months afterwards, the lipoma kept growing, reaching the size of a grapefruit before it began to seriously affect Abbey’s health.
It hindered her movement and her breathing, and because her blood work panel showed several irregularities, Abbey missed her regular dental care because the risk of putting her under anesthesia was too high. Given the size and location of the lipoma, her veterinarian recommended having a board-certified surgeon remove it to ensure the best outcome for Abbey. Andrea had always wanted nothing more than the best for her pup and at 12 years old, she didn’t know how much time she would have left with little Abbey, but she was hopeful knowing the prognosis was good with surgery.
“Things are looking up and it would mean the world to me for Abbey to have the best quality of life that she deserves and to make the most of our time that we have left making the best of memories. I want my sassy girl to have an easier time breathing, to be unlimited in her movement again, and for her quality of life to be restored without the mass that is now restricting her breathing the more time passes. We have been through so much together and [I] cannot imagine life without her. It’s hard to see her struggle. I just want my girl to have the best days ahead so I am doing everything in my power to find funding for this surgery for her.”
Andrea worked in the gig economy, and most of what she made went toward getting back on her feet following the divorce. The quoted cost of Abbey’s surgery was eye-popping, especially with the board-certified surgeon, and it would take far too long for her to save up the money. Abbey was already struggling to breathe, and it broke Andrea’s heart to think of losing another pet so soon after Lucky. She did everything she could to raise the money for the surgery, including applying for a RedRover Relief Urgent Care grant.
As she waited to hear back from organizations offering financial assistance, Andrea doted on Abbey, hoping that she would soon be helping her through her recovery instead of just keeping her comfortable. Before long, the good news came, followed by more good news: her application for an Urgent Care grant had been approved, and her local humane society would be contributing to Abbey’s surgery too. She had raised all the money she needed, and she no longer had to fear losing Abbey long before she was ready. They had just a few more days to wait before the surgery, and as soon as it was finished and Abbey was resting at home, Andrea reached out to RedRover with an update:
“Abbey’s surgery went well yesterday and the advanced surgery team was able to remove the mass. Now for the next two weeks I will be following her post-treatment plan. So far things are going well and I am so relieved and grateful that she is on the road to recovery.”
And another update two weeks later:
“Abbey just got her sutures removed yesterday! She is healing nicely and already has so much energy with her new life force! She is like a completely different girl without that mass on her chest! I’m so grateful that she is back to her feisty, spunky, and sassy chihuahua self. The lipoma was about a pound in weight and I know she is so relieved to have that off her chest! She even walks differently with a little “sashay.” I almost cried when I saw her criss cross her front paws and lay her head flat on them after surgery. She hasn’t been able to do that in a while. I can FINALLY breathe a sigh of relief knowing that Abbey is feeling better and SO HAPPY. The life has returned to her eyes and spirit and that is EVERYTHING to me. What a gift that I can never repay. There are not enough words to express my gratitude. Abbey will be 13 years old this year and we look forward to enjoying and making many more memories. Thank you again with all my soul.”
From families like Andrea and Abbey and all of us here at RedRover, thank you! Compassionate, generous FurEver Friends like you make these Happy Tails possible ❤