Group Helps Down-on-luck Dog Owners Keep Pets

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A group in Kingston, Massachusetts helps people pay for their pets’ needs during times of economic hardship.

Fairy DogParents, a nonprofit, stepped in recently to the aid of Sara Polcari’s 6-year-old dog, Charlie.

In March, Charlie had one of his hind legs amputated due to an aggressive cancer, and two weeks ago a tumor was found on his chest. His veterinarian, given Charlie’s history, recommended immediate surgery.

Having recently been laid off from her job, Polcari was unsure how to find the money to save Charlie’s life. And she was also six months pregnant.

Founded in 2009, the organization has helped over 400 dogs stay with their families.

She turned to Fairy DogParents for help.

Founded in 2009 by Marlo Manning, Fairy DogParents has provided aid for nearly 400 dogs in Massachusetts. “It’s to prevent dogs from being surrendered to shelters or euthanized when their owners cannot afford care,” said Manning.

Manning is familiar with how high the medical bills can be for an ailing dog. She adopted Ladybug from a shelter in 2005, when Ladybug was 10-years-old. For the next four years of Ladybug’s life, Manning nursed her through a host of different health issues including vertigo, dementia, and ultimately cancer.

Following Ladybug’s death, Manning had hundreds of dollars of medications left, and worked with her veterinarian to donate the drugs to dog owners in need – the beginning of Fairy DogParents.

In the first year of the Fairy DogParents program, Manning’s goal was to assist three families. She exceeded that goal by 24.

“Because (Ladybug) came from a shelter, it had two meanings for me. One was to keep her memory alive. And the other was to keep another dog from going to a shelter since that system is already stressed enough as it is,” explained Manning.

The average applicant to receive assistance from Fairy DogParents makes a maximum of $2,000 a month before taxes. The group prioritizes the elderly, people with disabilities and people whose unemployment benefits have expired.

Dogs must also be spayed or neutered in order to receive assistance.

Manning says that 75% of the grants that Fairy DogParents have awarded to owners in need have spared the dogs from being euthanized.

Sara Polcari’s Charlie is no exception. After receiving aid from Manning, Charlie had the surgery he needed to remove the tumor from his chest.

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