It's a Wonderful Life -- Dogster Style
The following message came in from Roxanne, Dogster Jester's furmom. If you've had a little trouble getting in the holiday spirit or you want to feel the beauty that can be Christmas then check out this real life story of caring, love, sacrifice and the magic that only happens when people reach out to someone who needs them! If you want to read the original blog post on Jester, follow this link.
And don't forget the tissues! You'll need them. I've read this letter over several times now as I'm posting it and I'm STILL getting misty!
I apologize for not listing the link to Cinnamon but if someone will bark it in to me I'll add it so everyone can see the furbaby behind this thoughtful Dogster you'll read about later in this letter.
Here's Roxanne's letter ---
Just wanted to share our Christmas Miracle that Dogster provided.... the story may be a bit long but the end is worth it!!
I recently found out that not all angels have wings. Some angels have fur and wiggly tails, and work their magic through the kind hearted people that they have attached themselves to.
Our story begins a little over a year ago, when my male Jack Russell Terrier, Jester, was diagnosed with juvenile cataracts. It was a shock to us, but he adjusted and so we thought everything would be ok. A few months later, we bought a new house, one with an open floor plan, so he could get around and we wouldn't worry about stairs or anything. We found a nice little home that needed a bit of fixing, but we had some money to do that, so we bought the house with the nice yard for the dogs to play in. We hadn't even made the first payment on the new house, and we found out that my husband was being laid off. We had hired people to start remodelling. We went ahead with the remodelling, thinking that his lay-off would be short. There were supposed to be a lot of work coming. It never came.
After a few months, the un-employment was due to run out and we were just about out of money. We stopped the re-model in mid stride due to money, and we probably should have stopped sooner than we did. We just kept thinking that work was going to start back up any day. Derek was looking for work. He has talent, but it seems like no-one would hire him. He didn't have enough experience at this, or he was over-qualified for that.. the list of excuses was seemingly endless.
I'm going to fast forward here a bit, and come to this past fall. Derek had finally found a job. It paid about one third of what we were used to but at least it was income. It would keep us afloat, barely. Its about this time that we noticed little Jesters eye was looking a bit swollen. We took him to the vet. She said, "Bad news. It looks like his lens has sub-luxated.
It seems to be causing some glaucoma." That means his lens was torn and the fluid couldn't circulate the way it needed to, and pressure was building inside his eye. We really couldn't afford a trip to the canine eye specialist, so I asked if there was an alternative. She sent me to see another local vet who does eye removals. We went and found out that the only way we could get Jester permanent relief was to remove the eye. I was devasted. It sounded so horrific. It was also very costly. We applied for the credit they offered at the vets but since we were barely making ends meet, we were denied. No big surprise to us, but we were troubled. Where would the money come from?
I was a member of an online group called Dogster.com. I came home and poured my troubles out to the wonderful people on the boards there and got so much support and encouragement and information. It was wonderful. I mentioned casually that we were going to be searching closets and the garage for things to list for auction. In just a few hours I got several offers from people asking if they could donate items for our auction. I was torn. I felt like I couldn't take these things, but how was I going to get the money I needed for my little guys surgery? I swallowed my pride and gratefully accepted any and all offers of help. I wrote to Dogster HQ and told them what wonderful people they had there.
A few weeks later, we had a very meager box of things to sell. I wanted to list things from jewelry box, but my husband explained to me that I would never get anything for them. Jewelry just doesn't bring in money from auctions.
I was thinking about selling my wedding gown. Its beautiful and would make someone feel like a princess.... but the shipping would probably keep someone from buying it for more than just a few dollars. I finally thought of the tiara I wore for the wedding. It wasn't much, but maybe we could get $20 for it. I wasn't expecting much more. It was slightly tarnished and it was a rather plain design, so I didn't have much hope for getting alot of money for it. We listed our things on the auction, and so people who had donated things would know we finally got the stuff up for sale, I posted on the boards that I had the auction started and gave my husbands user name.
The next day I received this in my e-mail:
"I sent the following message to 21 good friends this morning.
To all my animal-loving friends:
I read the following story in the December newsletter from Dogster:
From The Dogster Community:
"Just in time for the holidays, here's a touching and inspiring sentiment from Jester's mom. I have a blind dog named Jester, and he was invited to join a group called "Pets With Disabilities." I joined and the support and friendship I have encountered since then has brought me to tears several times. When we were sent to see a specialist about the possible removal of his eye, I was devastated. Then, when I found out he was going to have to have the surgery, and the cost exceeded what I could afford. I mentioned on our message board, that I would be scouring closets in search of eBay items. In just a few hours I had offers of items that I could list on eBay from others in the PWD group. It makes me cry to think of all the wonderful people out there who don't really know me, but were willing to help my little guy and me get through this. For myself and my family, this is the kind of thing that truly represents the spirit of the holiday season. Thank you, Dogster for helping us find these angels."
So, of course, I logged onto Ebay to check out the family's Ebay items for auction, and I spoke with Jester's "Dad" online last night. Jester's dad uses the name Mondo on Ebay. Mondo really didn't have anything for auction that I am interested in, but I want to do something to help them. At that point there weren't many bids on Mondo's auctions. One item caught my eye, and it's a rhinestone studded tiara that was worn in a wedding. I asked Mondo if the tiara was worn at HIS wedding, and it was. So here's his wife willing to part with a sentimental item from her wedding just to help finance her little dog's surgery. Of couse, I bid on the tiara. I asked for a Buy It Now price, and Mondo's response was "Sorry, no buy it now price. We're auctioning off things to finance surgery for one of our dogs, so we're after all the money we can get :) As for the tiara not being me... well, probably not. Since I keep my head shaved, it would probably chafe something fierce." Current bid on the tiara is around $20. I intend to buy the tiara as a gift for Mondo's wife and their little dog. I'm not the tiara type.
I know money is always tight for everyone during the holidays, but in the true spirit of Christmas I'm asking all of my Dogster friends to buy something from these folks even if you don't want it.
FOLLOW YOUR HEARTS.
P.S. The day that Jester's "mom" joined Dogster for support and friendship is the very same day we had to put down our little hairy 17 year old angel, Kenyon.
From my friend Hollie: Ok, I bid on something for something for Jester!
From my friend Susan: Hey, I'd sell a body part if I had to, to help my dog, Kenny. Anyway, I'm bidding on the Jimmy Carter radio. - Susan
C'mon Dogster people, there still aren't enough bids considering we're part of a special group that shares their hearts with more than 230,000 critters."
I was amazed. I cried. I couldn't even read the letter aloud to my husband for the tears clogging my throat. I still can't read it without crying.
I recieved many more e-mail messages, all offering to help.
I'm not sure how, because details were kept hidden from me, but several of the Dogster members and their friends got together and started a bidding campaign on our auctions. In just a few days our auction was bringing enough money to pay for Jesters surgery. When the auction ended, my husband and I were astounded at the final figure. We were still getting offers of donations, too. We started a checking account for Jester and we are depositing all the money received for his surgery fund into it. We will pay his medical costs and then whatever is left over will be donated to the ASPCA in Dogsters name.
I will never be able to thank the people from Dogster enough for the help and support they gave to my family.
I do know that angels are here, and I have begun to believe in Santa, again.
Dogster gave me so much more this year than just the money for Jester, they gave me back something I was losing, hope. No words or action I ever come up with will re-pay that.