Copyright © 2017 Lumina Media, LLC, All rights Reserved.
Kelly and Jon Spencer took in the sick puppy, who now provides support through Kelly’s Lyme Disease.
When people and pets get sick, we treat the symptoms while hunting for the cause. A definitive diagnosis is typically the first step toward a cure, but sometimes a sickness defies labelling. Kelly Spencer knows first hand how frustrating this situation can be. She’s been through it twice — first when her Pit Bull pup Daisy suffered from a mysteriously stubborn infection, and then again when she herself contracted the notoriously difficult to diagnose Lyme Disease.
“It’s mistreated and misunderstood — just like Pit Bulls,” Kelly jokes.
She spent years feeling sick before blood tests finally revealed Lyme Disease, but Kelly says Daisy was always there to give her hope and to motivate her to do as much as she physically could. Kelly says her husband, Jon, has also received help from Daisy when suffering from back pain.
“We call her our little nurse. She can tell when one of us is hurting. She sits next to us and doesn’t leave us,” she explains.
Perhaps Daisy is just repaying the favor. Kelly and Jon certainly didn’t leave Daisy behind when she was sick and suffering — a different human did that when she was just a few weeks old. Daisy was skin and bones when she was abandoned as a pup, chained to a fence in New Haven, Connecticut.
Kelly remembers learning about Daisy when Jon got a call from their vet’s office. The staff at Wethersfield Animal Hospital knew that Kelly, Jon, and their then 2-year-old Pit Bull, Vera, were looking to add a second dog to the family. When Daisy had arrived at Wethersfield a week earlier, staff initially thought she might be blind. Her eyes were oozing so much she couldn’t see, and she had nasty wounds where floppy ears should have been. She wasn’t brought in by an owner, but by a Good Samaritan who saw her languishing on her chain and decided to do something about it.
“It appeared her ears had been cut off with scissors because they were jagged and infected,” Kelly recalls.
Despite all of her medical issues, Daisy was a sweet girl, and the vet at Wethersfield asked Jon and Kelly if they would at least consider fostering her so that she wouldn’t have to live full-time in the animal hospital.
“So we brought her home,” says Kelly. “I think we called her a foster for maybe, not even, 24 hours and we decided that she was ours.”
The couple’s other dog, Vera, was a big part of that process. She fell in love with Daisy as quickly as her humans did.
“As soon as we brought Daisy home, Vera got that motherly instinct — that was her puppy,” Kelly says. “Vera was always by her side, licking her and making sure she was comfortable and everything.”
Vera’s motherly love helped Daisy through the next few months of health challenges. The medication Daisy had been prescribed for her eyes stopped helping, so Kelly and Jon took their growing puppy to see several specialists, but no one could figure out why Daisy’s eye infection just would not go away.
Eventually, Kelly and Jon took Daisy to Tufts VETS in Walpole, Massachusetts, where doctors determined the cause of Daisy’s eye infection wasn’t ocular at all — the root of the problem was an infection in her nose. The good news was Daisy could be helped with nasal surgery, but it would cost her family $5,000. At first, the couple didn’t know how they would come up with all that cash, but Daisy’s puppy kindergarten teacher had a good idea.
“Our trainer suggested we look at starting a Go Fund Me page [to promote] through Facebook,” says Kelly, who had made Daisy a Facebook page months earlier in the hopes of advocating for other mistreated Pit Bull pups. When the Go Fund Me page launched, Daisy’s Facebook friends came to the rescue.
“We were able to raise half of the cost of the surgery,” Kelly explains. “I also made homemade dog treats and sold them to people at my work and neighbors, so I raised a little bit of money that way as well.”
As Daisy’s health improved, Kelly’s declined. She didn’t know it yet, but Lyme Disease was infiltrating her body. As she got sicker and sicker, Daisy was there to support her through her bad days, motivating Kelly to get outside for a game of catch on the days when her body just wouldn’t let her do much else. Kelly says seeing Daisy get through her illness made it easier to then cope with her own. After three years and multiple misdiagnosis, Kelly eventually learned Lyme Disease was the cause of her suffering. Now grateful to be in remission, she credits Daisy with giving her hope during her worst days.
“Through it all, Daisy’s tail hasn’t stopped wagging in five years. She’s the happiest little being you’ve ever seen.”
Heather is a wife, new mom, and former TV journalist in Alberta, Canada. Her beloved Ghost Cat was once her only animal, but the addition of a second cat, Specter, and the dog duo of GhostBuster and Marshmallow make her fur family complete. You can follow Heather on Twitter and Google+.
Tip: Creating a profile and avatar takes just a minute and is a great way to participate in Lucky Puppy community of people who are passionate about animals.