By Janet McAfee
I huddled in the back of a kennel in the Orange County shelter, suffering with pain from a mass growing on my chest. Finally, a woman came to adopt me. Soon a man began visiting our house, but he did not like me or the other dog in the house. He hit us when he got angry. Soon my human was gone most of the time, and we dogs were left locked up in a bathroom.
One day we heard the woman say she was going to get rid of us, and we were afraid we would go back to the shelter. Meanwhile, the growth on my chest grew bigger, and I could no longer run and play.
A kind woman from Loving All Animals came to rescue us dogs. She was shocked by the growth on my chest which was almost as big as my 7 pound body. I was afraid she might leave me behind, but on the drive to Palm Desert I sensed life would get better. I was in a wonderful loving home for the first time when Sharon Richardson and Gina Rosenthal fostered me. I knew what it was like to feel pain, and I sensed Sharon was sick. When Sharon lay on the couch watching television all night, I stayed by her side to comfort her. Sharon’s friends came to visit, and I heard one of them say Sharon had “cancer”.
One day, Loving All Animals took me to a place where they help dogs like me. A nice woman in a white jacket examined me. She looked grim when she said the mass on my chest was a severely inflamed mammary tumor. The location and size of the tumor made its surgical removal complicated. She said I might not survive the operation. But without surgery, the tumor would rupture or become infected and it would kill me. Loving All Animals agreed to pay for my operation. Afterwards, I was so happy to go home with Sharon and Gina. We celebrated when a biopsy showed my tumor was benign. There was more good news when Sharon and Gina decided to adopt me!
I grew healthier every day, but Sharon became sicker. I stayed by her side, and Sharon loved to take of me. One day Gina drove Sharon away, returning home alone. The next day I found out where Sharon went when we visited her at Desert Regional Hospital. Sharon looked pale, but she smiled when she saw me, and I sat on her pillow trying to amuse her with my antics. Gina and I visited every day, and everyone at the hospital was so happy when I arrived. One day when we arrived, Sharon’s eyes were closed, and she did not smile. Everyone was crying, and I worried about Gina who was so sad. I knew then that I had a new job, and now my purpose was to help Gina feel happy again. My mom, Gina, tells this story about me:
Gina states, “Pixie was a great support to Sharon, and then later to me. It was Sharon’s idea that it was time for us to get another dog. People with cancer often sense they are not going to survive, and Sharon wanted me to have a dog for comfort when she passed. Pixie was a great diversion when family and friends came to visit Sharon. Pixie brought joy and light into our lives during the most tragic time. Pixie distracted Sharon from her pain. Sharon had a hard time losing her independence, and it brought her joy being able to care for Pixie during her illness. Since Sharon died, Pixie stays close by my side and sleeps next to me to make sure I’m okay. It’s life changing to have a dog like Pixie when you are grieving. Pixie was a part of the life I shared with Sharon.”
Dogs have a purpose, and often that purpose is to bring comfort and joy to humans who are sick, lonely, or struggling with life’s challenges. Our purpose at Loving All Animals is to save the lives of abandoned and shelter animals. Many of these animals, like Pixie, were neglected and had little or no prior veterinary care. Others have behavioral issues that require loving foster homes and training.
Your tax deductible donation helps Loving All Animals give more dogs like Pixie a “second chance” happy ending. Their animals need to be spayed and neutered, and some need extensive veterinary care. Your donation also brings comfort and joy to their lucky humans during this holiday season! Please send a check payable to “Loving All Animals” and mail to 83496 Avenue 51, Coachella, CA 92236, or donate online www.lovingallanimals.org and list “Pixie” as the reason.
(This story is from December, 2018. Today, Pixie has a new name, “Lucia,” but she is still always by Gina’s side providing comfort and joy.)
Photography by Alicia Bailey