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article imageViral story about dog in need has happy ending Special

By Justin King     May 4, 2014 in Lifestyle
Sanford - A story about a puppy and his human companion who was willing to spend his entire disability check on vet care is still circulating like wildfire on the web. The heartwarming story reached a happy ending when Dolly’s Foundation stepped in.
The story being shared on social media recounts the tale of Dusty and “N.” “N” is identified as Dusty’s human. The narrative posted on the Dolly’s Foundation Facebook page reads:
I passed him while I was dropping off some cats we transported for an older woman who lives in a part of our community that is really struggling. I circled around and pulled into the convenient store where he was, dug around in my car for some pizza gift cards and hopped out, walking towards him. I smiled, handed him the gift cards and said "I hope this helps". He got quiet, so I used the opportunity to ask him about his puppy.
"Who is this little guy?"
No response.
"What's your name, little buddy?"
No response.
I figured he didn't want to chat, so my next step was to walk back to my car, wave and tell him to have a nice day. But then, he broke his silence.
"My friend's daughter; she's real hungry. This would be perfect for her. Thank you so much."
I told him not to mention it, then he looked up and smiled and said proudly, "This is Dusty!"
We spoke about Dusty for a little while, I found a new leash for him, some treats, toys and canned food that I always have stuffed in my car. I told him a little about me, about how I was helping his neighbor with her cats and how I run an organization that assists families with their pets.
"Do you need help with Dusty?"
"Nope. He has a vet appointment tomorrow. I just had to wait for my check to come in."
"What is Dusty getting taken care of tomorrow?"
"Shots. For sure. Then a chip, in case he gets loose, and if I can afford it, some Comfortis. The fleas are bad. I wash him every day with Dawn soap and I even got some of that stuff for his back but nothing works."
I offered to take care of all of these things for Dusty, and "N" was in near tears. He was so determined to provide his dog with what he needs, he made an appointment for the vet on the very day he received his disability check. I told "N" to keep his money for important things, like food for himself, and we'd help with Dusty.
Since public transportation doesn't allow pets on board, and "N" doesn't have a phone...or a house, we had to set up a meeting time and place to talk again about transporting he and Dusty to the vet.
We know the stigma about people that are struggling, and how so many believe that "these people" don't "deserve" pets and we couldn't disagree more. At 10 weeks old, Dusty can "sit" and "shake". He spends 0% of his life in a crate, and he never leaves his dad's side. While the rest of us crate our dogs, go to work and "responsibly" care for our pets, Dusty is receiving more mental and physical stimulation than most puppies his age. "N" is doing a really good job at caring for Dusty, and I can't think of a better time to have a companion by my side than when I'm struggling and need a boost. Their situation isn't ideal, but they make it work, and they're both HAPPY, especially with one another around.
Dusty needs a sponsor. Between flea medication, vaccines, heartworm prevention, and a microchip, we're hoping to find $200 in sponsorship. If anyone is interested, you can donate right through our website.
Digital Journal spoke with Erica Daniel, Founder of Dolly’s Foundation, about the incident and her organization. Erica was happy to report that the community stepped in to provide the necessary funding for Dusty’s treatments, and that the Facebook page has been updated with photos of Dusty franticly licking an employee of the SPCA of Central Florida. She was also quick to point out that this is just one of many success stories to emerge from the foundation, and that Dolly’s Foundation is always searching for funding to help with accomplishing their goal of assisting the animal population.
The Interview:
OK so how did Dolly’s Foundation start, and who is Dolly?
I started Dolly's Foundation back in January of 2011 while I was working at my local shelter. Originally, Dolly's Foundation was a rescue organization and we rescued and rehomed dogs. We realized we weren't making a dent in the overpopulation problem by rescuing, so we opted to go bigger. Last year, we adopted our last dog and began focusing strictly on spay/neuter for families in need, as well as helping families with keeping their pets. We decided prevention was the way to go, it makes a lot more sense keeping animals out of the shelter all together than scrambling around to get them out once they're in there, right?
The Dolly Foundation website features a large collection of pictures under the heading “Happy Tails.” How does your organization get the funding necessary to do the work you do?
We're in the middle of rebranding and restructuring our website. Currently, all of the dogs under our "Happy Tails" section were dogs rescued and rehomed by our organization.
We receive funding from multiple grants we apply for, but for the most part we rely on donations from the public. We also design merchandise and sell it through our Facebook, all of that goes towards funding our programs. We also really, really need a van to help us transport all of these animals to the vet! We work with so many people who are disabled and elderly and cannot drive!
The story about Dusty has gone viral on Facebook. Are there any updates you can share about the pup and his human?
Dusty and his owners are doing well. I picked them both up today and we visited the vet, Dusty received all of his vaccines, a microchip and heartworm prevention as well as flea medication.
What do you think makes Dusty’s case so heartwarming and appealing to people?
I think Dusty and "N"'s story made people sit back and think about something they've probably never taken the time to think about before. We aren't crusaders, people have been helping others since the beginning of time. We saw a need, and we fulfilled it.
Why do you think it got the response it did?
I think the tide is changing in the animal welfare world. For so long people were so hell bent on needing a "bad guy" to blame for our pet overpopulation problem, and we're realizing now that it is a direct correlation with our poverty problem and the lack of available resources for people in need. I think people are realizing that and are beginning to have an understanding that we have to help one another in this world, rather than pointing the finger and judging.
One of the volunteers at Dolly s Foundation.
One of the volunteers at Dolly's Foundation.
Dolly's Foundation
Have you been able to raise the necessary money to help Dusty out?
We have!
What other cases are you working on that need support from the community?
We constantly have families that we're assisting. Typically, we target specific neighborhoods or areas that are either poverty stricken or have a high intake of animals, according to animal services. We go door to door and offer assistance, and we have a lot of luck. I can't think of anyone off of the top of my head that has turned us down, if help is needed. People are really welcoming once they find out we have no ulterior motive other than helping them, some people think we're evangelists or trying to sell something.
Every few months we target an area and hold a Community Pet Day. It's an amazing day filled with free vaccines, free spay/neuter vouchers, free leashes and collars, free food and free advice from a trainer. We've had some great experiences with those, but obviously they're expensive. We usually have a few hundred people show up with their pets.
A primary focus of your organization is spaying and neutering. What makes that so important to the pet population?
We have a serious problem with a lack of resources in our community. So many people are desperate for help with spaying and neutering their pets, but they're unable to afford the costly surgery, especially when they have multiple pets. Since pets can reproduce so quickly and easily, owners often find themselves with accidental litters.
Jacksonville is leading the country with their programs for their residents. First Coast No More Homeless Pets is providing 32,000 surgeries in Jacksonville per year. They've managed to take their intakes from 23,000 down to 13,000 in 5 years because of spay/neuter access. Its simple math, and it works. Spaying and neutering for families in need is the ONLY way we'll lower intakes at our shelter, period.
So what’s more important for a dog to have: a $150 dollar dog bed or good companionship?
Companionship, of course!
Is there anything else you want to tell the readers?
It's important to think before you judge. Just because someone may not have all of the material possessions that you do, doesn't mean that they don't have a heart of gold for their pet.
Also, one of my favorite quotes; "Here is what we seek: a compassion that can stand in awe at what the poor have to carry rather than stand in judgment at how they carry it." -Father Gregory Boyle
More about Dolly's Foundation, Dusty, Spca, Animal rights, erica daniel
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