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Rally

WA - 2016

My name is Rae and I am the life-long guardian of a much beloved pet angel Rally. Rally came into my life as a foster dog back in May 2008. I had been a volunteer with the Seattle Animal Shelter and held a number of roles with them over 6 years-one being a foster parent. Rally was my 4th foster dog-I had become known as someone that could work with the abused dogs that needed loving rehab to navigate life. Rally was by far the most shut down and terrified foster I worked with, out of 8 total for the shelter. She had been surrendered to a municipality north of Seattle where she couldn't get the nurturing she needed and was set for euthanasia. SAS had been called up to take 5 dogs from that shelter, and the animal care officer saw Rally, and just knew I could save her. I brought her home with me on Mother's Day-and she began her journey in experiencing love and human kindness/safety for the first time in her life. She was covered in wounds and scars-including bb's in her shoulder, and had no idea what it was to be a dog-not food or treats, not toys, not splashing in water, not going for a walk, not even belly rubs. As she began to emerge from her shell (along with the help of a senior golden retriever) I fell in love and adopted her in July 2008.

Her name became a testament to her resilience and ability to keep giving new things a try, to learn from others (humans and dogs), and to move forward in joy.  She also helped 4 additional foster siblings, all abused and scared of the world, through their rehab and find their forever homes between June 2010-Sept 2011. She has brought me much love, joy, and companionship and we have a mutual partnership in life.

 In mid-January, just a couple weeks ago, a lump the size of a half golf ball appeared overnight on her right leg at the elbow. I took her into to vet and it was biopsied. The tests came back, and the lump was Spindle Cell Tumor (cancer). Due to the location, the aggressive overnight growth, and the nature of the cancer Rally needs/needed surgery ASAP. I was devastated and I was really scared. I just cannot imagine my life without Rally yet. There was no question in my mind that the surgery was to take place-at all costs, I just didn't know how I'd pay for it, as I live on a modest income.

I found Brown Dog Foundation only a couple days before surgery, I didn't know if there would be enough time to submit my application and be approved; but I submitted my application as a Hail Mary the day prior to surgery-and Brown Dog Foundation, along with incredible efforts of our case manager and staff at the vet clinic, came through with nothing short of a miracle!

I have prided myself on being a responsible, upstanding, and contributing person in the community all my life. So why the financial need?: I have experienced long-term unemployment, although trying consistently to secure viable full-time employment and having no luck swing my way-yet. I lost my job through corporate downsizing and am in a professional field that gets cut early and brought back late when economies go bad. I had done everything "right" in my life to be a responsible person: put myself through undergraduate school, put money in a retirement account, had money in savings, had no credit card debts, my car was paid off, lived well within my means; bought a house through reliable programs after the housing crisis; earned my graduate degree to be more eligible for jobs; have no addictions...The house and most of my belongings had to be sold, the savings and retirement accounts used to survive, and the credit card used for emergencies (and daily prayers the old car that needs replacing keeps running). We've even been on the brink of living in the car. I never could have predicted the outcomes I've experienced since losing my job. I am hopeful a job will land my way very soon-as there has been renewed interest in my applications, finally. BUT-I'm still waiting for that happy event.

In the mean time, through it all, Rally has given me a purpose to keep trying in the face of tremendous losses; she has given me a purpose; and she has given me unconditional love and affection. She is more than a dog to me. She has kept me alive. She has helped me to rally time and time again.

Now, with the help of Brown Dog Foundation, I can provide her another opportunity to Rally and to keep sharing her love...

For more information about Spindle Cell tumors in dogs, please visit VetInfo.com.

Update, September 2016:  I wanted to share with you an update. You all helped save the life of my dog Rally in January. That act of kindness has meant more to me than I can possibly express. I am forever grateful. And grateful to still have Rally-who is doing incredibly well and has bounced back to being a youthful and joyful dog. She truly is a pet guardian angel to me.

As you may recall, I was working incredibly hard to find viable and supportive full-time work. In June and July I went through long and involved interview processes for two different full-time positions, and was received offers from both.
 
I accepted a position as Organizational Development Manager for one organization where I am focused on strategic people programs and processes that improve the employee experience for about 60,000 people globally. It's a brand new role for the organization, and it plays to my strengths and capabilities and my background. I have stepped into a role that plays to my calling and is my vocation. It's an incredible feeling.
 
I am getting back on my feet now and taking the first steps toward rebuilding my life. In fact, I move into a place of my own this weekend. It will be a long while before I feel truly financially steady and safe again. But at this time, I'm excited to be in this rebuilding phase and to have found a place that can feel like home.
 
Rally has done very well and we made tremendous friends throughout the neighborhood we've been in. She underwent surgery to remove some broken teeth right after I accepted my new job. We knew about 2 teeth, and the vet found a 3rd tooth (that had been broken off and under the gum line since before I adopted Rally 8.5 yrs ago). With this additional health intervention, Rally has become more energetic, youthful, and joyful than I've seen her in many years. She is playing with dogs, running in the park, and still discovering new ways of "dogginess". She is a true joy and blessing.
 
Helping out someone in my situation can and does have positive outcomes. I hope those in the network can continue to open their hearts and share unconditional love and support to those in need. When one of us is lifted up-we are all lifted up. When one more is able stand on their own, we are all better able to stand together.
 
Thank you for what you did to contribute to my positive outcome.

Update, August 2018:  Rally is still going strong! Here's a photo of her enjoying the summer sun from her favorite perch outside the door.