Within a few short hours of learning of the “beast”, I received a phone call from our vet. I’m no stranger to chronic calls and questions to various veterinarians and specialists about Beauford, but these – these were different calls. Beauford needed either an MRI or CT Scan and several other tests to determine exactly what battle we were facing.
Verbal quotes had been received from two of the best canine cancer treatment centres in Toronto and the GTA. After speaking with the specialists everyone seemed to concur that this mass in all likelihood was cancer, but we needed to learn more.
Diagnostics and treatment figures ranged from $2,500 to $25,000+. Thankfully Beauford has insurance (some say it’s a scam, and everyone is entitled to their opinion. But I can tell you right now Beauford would not be alive if not for the coverage I so wisely enrolled him for when he was 10 weeks old!), but even with insurance I was not in a financial position to afford the care that Beauford so desperately required.
I was ashamed to admit just how bad things were. I thought people might (and some may still) judge me for having a dog (and one with special needs to-boot) that I can’t afford. As a single, self-employed contract worker, finances can be tight. And sometimes they can be so tight I feel a bit like I can’t breathe too well.
As I sat in our local Pet Valu, and absorbed the figures that were being tossed at me, little did I know the employees already had a plan. I spent the night worrying about how I could come up with the deductible, exam fees, 10% and taxes I would need to get Beauford to the Ontario Veterinary College in Guelph. Not to mention the hotel expenses and the money required for gas and incidentals to get us there. Needless to say, not much sleep was had.
Saturday morning we walked into Pet Valu. Beauford immediately ran behind the counter to relish in the joys of his now greatly nibbled knuckle bone. And as I stood there, smiling but fighting back tears, an envelope was placed in my hand by one of the kindest and most thoughtful store owners I’ve ever met. Hanna and her staff had gotten together, written a beautiful card and donated enough funds to cover the exam fees required for Guelph. The tears flowed freely now. I was absolutely humbled by the kindness that was being extended to us. I was one step closer to getting Beauford the CT scan we needed to get clearer answers.
Hours later Anthony, who works at the store, had taken it upon himself to set up a Go Fund Me Page, Help Give Beauford a Chance, and donations began to trickle in. I can’t adequately express in words how grateful I am for the outpouring of love, and generosity friends, family, and strangers showed us. A friend – and mother of 3 – whom I haven’t seen since high school (though we’d known each other since the age of 3) donated. People that are living on disability or old-age pensions donated. People who have don’t have a lot, gave so much. For every single cent donated, we say thank you.
On Sunday a donation box was placed at the cash desk of Pet Valu, and Hanna had printed flyers with Beauford’s story. We were literally being enveloped in a blanket of love, support, kindness, and generosity. I cried thankful tears, and received many hugs. Beauford, meanwhile, was working on his second bone given to him by Hanna as his wages for being such an excellent pawployee — he’s kind of on staff as a greeter and quality control (quality control is also known as sampling without paying). But if you ask Beauford he’d insist he is doing it to make sure everything is fresh 🙂
Beauford and I are committed to paying-it-forward, or in his case paw-ing it forward and already have a plan as to how we will give back.
The community rallied together around us, to help get Beauford to Guelph. And within a week the appointment was made and we were on our way.
Thank You — two words that don’t begin to scratch the surface of the gratitude I feel. It’s a feeling that humbled me, something that I will never forget.
This love, support, and unwavering encouragement is what gave me the strength to keep going.
I will be forever thankful.