Carl's Story

“King was my grandfather’s German Shepherd and King and I would play most every day especially in the summer where we had 5 acres of cleared farm land to run and play in. I was always amazed that King never ran away after being let off his wire, as I called it, having been on there for days on end seemingly waiting for Saturday morning when I would run out there after breakfast and let him off to run. King and I would play throw and go get it for hours on end. You know the game. It’s the typical stick and fetch game so many children play with dogs. I tried to make it harder for him to find the ball when the grass would get to about 2 feet high I would use a baseball bat and hit it what I thought was a mile but old King would put his head down and go straight for it. I can’t remember him ever not finding the ball. Even as I type this the memories come flooding back like they happened yesterday. Many years went by and still every weekend I spent with my grandparents and with King. As I became a teenager and as most teenage boys do, my thoughts turned to girls more then to spending weekends with my grandparents and with King. Sadly, I guess I kind of forgot about King and started spending every weekend back at home and meeting girls and doing what teenagers normally do back then. It had to be 3 or maybe 4 years that had gone by and even though we had gone to my grandparent’s house for Thanksgiving and various dinners throughout the years, I played less and less with King and really just wanted to go home mostly. I distinctly remember one Sunday when we arrived for dinner and noticed that King didn’t stick his head out of his box to greet us when we pulled in the driveway. He always did that so I had to go see why he didn’t this time. As I got close to his box I remember seeing his wire dangling from the overhead line it was attached to. No King. No nothing for that matter. I ran into the house and asked my grandmother who was in the kitchen preparing dinner for us where King was. She sat me down and told me that King had gotten really sick and they did everything they could afford to do for him but he was 14 by then and they just didn’t have the money required to treat him and he had to be put to sleep. I was devastated that I had to find out this way. Why couldn’t they have just told me before they did that so I could have been there or helped out somehow? The whys that kept coming out of my mouth never seemed to stop; mostly because I was the one that felt guilty that I wasn’t there for him after all those years together but also because there wasn’t a good answer for the whys I was asking them. We generally outlive our pets and it’s devastating when we do, but it happens all the time and there’s nothing I could do about it at 16 years old. I’m telling this story because I can distinctly remember telling myself over and over that when I get older and have the financial where with all, I want to help animals that are sick so hopefully I can help some people from feeling the way I felt when I found out what happened to King.

This is one of the reasons why I chose to be part of this great organization. Until 2012 I had never heard of Paws 4 A Cure. My wife and I got a white German Shepherd named Iggy, when we moved to Pahrump, Nevada and had room for him to run outside and play. He’s an inside dog but he loved going out to as most dogs do. Iggy was to us the best dog ever. He followed me no matter where I went. If I’d stop walking I could be assured he would run into me from behind. He never let me out of his sight it seemed. He was protective of us both but gentle as a lamb when told to be. He loved trick or treat before they changed it to daytime hours, He loved meeting all the trick or treaters come to the door in costume. We always had agate there so they wouldn’t come in too far. All the kids wanted to pet Iggy and he loved every one of them. He slept with us every night and was always in the same room as us every day. Since we didn’t have children, he basically was our child and we loved him as much as anyone could love a pet. He got along great with our cats, which we had 3 of at the time we had Iggy. It started out as 2 when he was born but a tiny underfed siamese showed up at the patio door one night and she hasn’t left us since. We named her Peepers for some reason. I still don’t remember why but it stuck and she’s still with us today.

Back to Iggy and 2012. We had just gotten back from vacation which we very rarely take and it was the first time we ever boarded Iggy ever. He was very well taken care of while we were away but wasn’t eating at all when we got home. My wife took him to the Vet the next day. I was in Vegas about an hour away handling business I believe but I will never forget the phone call from my wife. She told me she’s at the vet with Iggy and he has cancer and they recommend putting him down before it gets worse. Besides that, the vet who didn’t know us from Adam, told my wife that we couldn’t afford to treat him as the cost was too high so he’s better off being put to sleep now. How would the vet know what we could or couldn’t afford to do? How dare she assume like that? As it turned out, she was right, we couldn’t afford everything he needed unless we sold the house and everything in it and probably still took out more loans. That’s when my wife found out about Paws 4 A Cure through a pamphlet I believe that someone handed her, not the vet. All the while, we started Iggy on chemotherapy right away. A different vet that was closer to us was doing the treatments for him so we didn’t have to load him in the car every week, we could just walk him up the street ½ mile and we were there. He was the only veterinarian in out small little town doing chemotherapy at that time so we got lucky. Iggy was great too. He took it better then I ever thought he would and on top of that he seemed to be responding to it. We were told the tumors were shrinking. The hard part came when we got the bill for the next round of treatments he needed. The vet needed thousands of dollars more but we had spent everything we could afford to spend. The veterinarian insisted he needed more yet to complete the third round of chemotherapy. We did all the paperwork required for what was needed along with the financial statements as well and sat back and waited. Like a gift from the heavens we got accepted by Paws 4 A Cure the next day and the treatments continued for months and months afterwards. This allowed us to get back on our feet a little bit and at least start paying the bills we needed to pay to keep the lights on and the house mortgage paid. We didn’t have any extra but we were OK because Iggy was responding, the bank wasn’t taking the house, we had AC in the summer just outside of Vegas and the world seemed to make sense again. As the months went on and Iggy finally stopped his treatments we took the time to talk about how great Paws 4 A Cure was to us and how we would like to give back if we ever could afford to. Every month we took Iggy to the vet for a checkup and every month he got a clean bill of health. It had now been 8 or 9 months I believe since Iggy stopped chemotherapy and with constant good checkups we were hoping for the best. Iggy sure seemed fine too. He never really got tired or anything during chemo. It was just another day to him really. One day when I had him out back I noticed when he went Number 2 it looked really strange and I panicked. We took him to the vet right away and were told the cancer has come back with an appalling vengeance and its all throughout his body and really enlarging his spleen and at this point with as much as it’s spread there wasn’t any treatment available anymore and we need to start thinking about Iggy and the pain he must be in. With heavy hearts we asked the vet to give him some painkiller that will last 12 hours or more and we were going to take him home for one last night with us. She did as asked and so did we. One of the worst nights I can remember when it comes to our animals. The next day and fighting off what seemed like the Niagara Falls of tears we took him in one last time. I didn’t want to let go of him and I sat on the floor saying my goodbye and crying like probably no adult should cry all the while telling him I’m so sorry I failed him and couldn’t fix this for him. I remember the vet assistant putting their leash around his neck to walk him in the back and as they walked back I remember Iggy looking back at me on the floor as if saying to me, “See you later Dad, I love you”. That was last we saw of Iggy as we chose not to be there for the final minutes.

I don’t deal with people or animals passing on very well. I’m sure I’m not the only one and I’m not afraid to admit it. Since that memorable day in 2014 we have tried to give to Paws 4 A Cure every time we have even a little extra money to spare. We wanted to be part of this great organization that not only spares families from the inevitable financial hardships that go along with having a sick pet, but genuinely cares about getting the best treatment possible for the animals too. MY thanks go out to Keri for allowing us the honor to serve any way we can from where we live. We are always available if needed as we are both retired now and at home most days with our current brood of 6 pets consisting of 4 cats and 2 dogs. Piddy, George, Peepers and Millie round out the cat brigade while Molly and Daisy are our 2 dogs. We love animals and love this organization too.

In case anyone was wondering, we haven’t taken a vacation since 2014.”

Carl and Erin Denny

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Paws 4 A Cure, P.O. Box 1821, Wakefield, MA, 01880  
Paws 4 A Cure is an all-volunteer 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance throughout the United States to those who cannot afford veterinary care for their beloved furry family members. Paws 4 A Cure helps dogs and cats with all illnesses and injuries. Paws 4 A Cure does not discriminate against breed, age, or diagnosis.

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