Spirit’s life changed forever in October of 2000 when she was rescued after being doused with gasoline, set on fire and left for dead in a cemetery. Her life essentially began anew after Vicki Kavanaugh, then superintendent at the Evansville Vanderburgh Animal Care & Control shelter, looked into her eyes and saw the fighting spirit that she was named for.
But being a fighter wasn’t enough to save her life, her extensive injuries required costly medical treatment and so the local Evansville community rallied around the young dog to raise money. The Spirit Medical Fund is the legacy which came out of this tragic story of abuse. People came together and made donations to see Spirit through her recovery and then some. To this day the fund continues to assist with needed medical care for stray, homeless and abandoned animals that arrive at the Evansville shelter.
Twelve years later Spirit is alive and well, and still living with the family that adopted her after her rescue. “She had a wonderful spirit when we first got her, and she still does,” Kristi Eggers, Spirit’s owner, said. “She is a sweetheart. I call her my Miss America, even though she has all the scars on her, I just consider her to be a wonderful role model for people.” Eggers and her family learned about Spirit’s plight through a local paper and took an interest by donating money to the fund, but they couldn’t stop there. As soon as Spirit was available for adoption they applied and were the fortunate family who got to take Spirit home forever.
“I’ve got goose bumps right now just thinking about it,” Eggers said of the phone call. “To me it was an honor that they trusted us, that we would be given the opportunity to care for her. And I don’t consider it to be a burden … I love all of them, but the animals that I feel like maybe don’t have that opportunity to have a good life, those are the ones that I would like to have.” The Egger’s household contains 5 dogs and 4 children, all of whom get along well. One of the dogs, Faith, was adopted a year after Spirit.
Faith had lost a leg that been caught in a trap and improperly treated. The Spirit fund paid for her treatment as well as many others over the years. “We see injured and sick animals often — strays, abandoned or just homeless,” said Alisa Webster who is current superintendent of the shelter. “This fund enables us to be able to provide necessary medical care to give them a second chance.” Spirit recently lost one of her best friends, a rat terrier named Quarter who became ill and had to be euthanized and the once black dog is now showing her age with a salt and pepper coat, but her spirit is still intact.
Says Kavanaugh, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a little dog love people any more than that little dog does.” The Eggers family is certainly grateful so many people helped to save the young pup that they love so dearly. Donations to the Spirit Medical Fund can be mailed to Evansville Animal Care & Control, c/o SPIRIT MEDICAL FUND, 815 Uhlhorn St., Evansville, Ind. 47710.