Unwanted, Rescued German Shepherd Is a Miracle Survivor

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This plea comes from Jennifer Quesenberry, a volunteer with Virginia German Shepherd Rescue:


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I am an avid rescuer of GSDs and foster for VGSR, which is where I acquired my two current dogs. Every day I see or hear about people surrendering their pets due to financial issues or having their dogs put to sleep during emergencies that cost thousands of dollars to save their life. I would NEVER consider that and would do anything for my dogs, but that does not mean the financial burden has no impact on me.

Lucy came to me three years ago as a foster. Her family had her since she was a puppy, but Lucy shed too much for their liking. They had another dog who was a part of the family, but Lucy spent her time in a crate in a separate room.


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I offered to foster Lucy and asked if the family would meet me halfway. They declined, saying they didn’t want her hair on the child’s car seat. I ended up getting Lucy and within no time it became evident how much she adored little boys. At stores, she’d eagerly tug me towards any little boy she saw to shower them with kisses. I ended up adopting Lucy myself, but the one thing I thought Lucy lacked was her own “little boy” (yes, that sounds weird)! I never planned on kids, but alas it happened. At almost 10 years old, I’ve finally given HER the gift of a baby brother! I just hope she hangs around for several more years with him. You couldn’t ask for a better dog, Lucy is amazing and I am so happy I could give her everything she wanted in her forever home.


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She has the eyes of an angel and is by far the most amazing GSD I have ever met (and I have fostered about 40).  At night she whimpers in her sleep sometimes, and I always felt she was crying out for her first family… but she is happy with me (and her new baby).  I need to keep her around for several more years! 


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Well, in the past six months I’ve spent thousands and thousands in medical bills for her (infections, HGE (hemorrhagic gastroenteritis), pancreatitis, etc.).  A week ago I woke up in the middle of the night to her bloating. I had to rush her to the emergency vet and they promptly treated the bloat. The next day they discovered she still had a significant amount of gas in her stomach, and during surgery to tack her stomach they noticed an extremely enlarged gallbladder. They had to call in another emergency surgeon and perform a cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal). The mortality rate for this surgery is 20-40%. It’s been a week and she is recovering beautifully, but I was hit with yet another significant bill – this time $4,000.

I maxed out my care credit card which scares me for the next emergency. I ended up raising the limit to pay off this debt in full, but it put me at $7,000 in vet bills. I have raised some money, but I am still several thousand in debt from this. My other GSD is having continuous and costly problems. He has pet insurance and while they cover a portion, there is still remaining debt. I was foolish not to enroll Lucy when I adopted her, but I had thought you couldn’t enroll seniors into your plan or that coverage would be so minimal it wasn’t worth the higher premiums. I didn’t officially adopt her until she was nine. With that said, I have now enrolled Lucy into my health insurance plan, despite limited coverage. I don’t even know if they will accept her due to her age and history, and I am currently in the underwriting process.


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Without boring you too much, I will say the past six month of my life have been extremely difficult. I gave birth to a child and unexpectedly lost my mother only three weeks after his birth. Her death was so sudden, and she was only 56 years old. She didn’t have life insurance so my family was stuck with nearly $15,000 in burial costs and what little bit of treatment she had for two weeks (cancer, literally only knew about it for one week before she was comatose).

I know it’s unrelated, but dealing with the loss of her, the medical bills that followed my son ($3,000 with health insurance) and the mounting vet bills, I’m just not sure how much I can handle. It’s optimistic of me to expect complete strangers to help, but I’ve seen it countless times and I’m hoping that maybe luck will be on my side. I’ve had countless friends and rescue-related friends donate already and I feel so blessed for them. The truth is though, even with their contributions I am still several thousand dollars in debt and both dogs still have medical issues which require treatment.


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My debt is through the roof, and I am so stressed out – I am at my wit’s end. I realize that is no one’s problem except for my own, but I also know through rescue that there are kind, compassionate people out there who will help a complete stranger, and today I am praying that I will be the one on the receiving end.

THIS is my life with dogs and I will deal with what I have to – I am just begging for help if at all possible.


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If you would like to help Jenny, please CLICK HERE to donate.


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117 thoughts on “Unwanted, Rescued German Shepherd Is a Miracle Survivor”

  1. This is a very tough situation. I am totally in sympathy with this lady. However, when taking on the responsibility of fosters and adoption of older dogs, you must be realistic and ask yourself if you can afford to pay for the thousands it will cost if the dog needs treatments. It certainly doesn’t seem like this is the case. There are so many dogs out there that need lots of treatment and we can’t help all of them as much as we would love to. Sometimes we just have to let them go and be happy we were able to give them the love and home they needed at the time.

    • Sometimes people just want to help these poor animals and I’m sure she didn’t expect all of these cost to occur at once. God will bless her for her good heart and all of her effort! I would NOT put my dog down because it was old and I would do my best and yes go in debt to try and save them! The funeral cost, maybe not as much would have been spent on that, but dang, it was her mother and her choice. I tell my family, don’t break the bank on my funeral, save the money and use it for the future of their family. I have lots of respect for this lady and she seems to be venting and she is doing her best! Hang in ther young lady!

      • From what I’m seeing recently, $15,000 is about average for a funeral now. At least in some parts of the country. I feel so bad for her – all these events, good and bad (birth of her son to death of her mom and her fur babies needing medical help) happening in such a short time. The events are hard enough without the financial burden on top of it. She’s in my prayers….

    • Love knows no boundaries and life has a lot of unexpecteds. One does not calculate on “what ifs” to make decisions ……everything in life has an up and a down side. One takes it on and try to handle as best as they can.

      • When you don’t make plans, life makes them for you. It doesn’t make financial sense to go into heavy debt over a dog (and believe me, I am a huge dog lover)
        and have to ask strangers for help. I do hope she is able to come out of this ok.

    • Your sentiments are so right. I love dogs to the point of almost craziness but have to agree with your common sense. Thanks for commenting.

    • Did you read the complete article? The majority of the expenses have been “EMERGENCIES”…! On top of her expenses for her mother’s sudden death!
      You pay funeral’s up front or the body lays there till you do. Think about it…
      She had NO idea this shephard had these maladies and once a member of the family you do what you do for the life of your pet…
      I have 4 rescues and thank God i have not had those “EMERGENCIES”….
      I have no problem caring for my “kids”… But a $4000 emergency operation, and funeral expenses of $3000? All of this at once plus weighing the decision of what to do? I am sure the vet helped make the decision, my vet is great as I’m sure she felt about this surgeon. No doubt this would devastate ME also…
      You have obviously never had to put a furry family member to sleep that you could have saved with an operation, sans insurance, OR you are just not someone I would want as a friend…

      • Obviously, and you know this how? It’s ok, we’re not going to exchange Christmas cards. Don’t assume you know how anyone feels about their animals. You totally missed the point which was to prepare for the unexpected. Animals frequently have emergencies. My dogs did and I was sick about the expense, but I didn’t have to ask strangers to help, nor would I under any circumstances. Even if I had to get a second job or make small payments to the vet. Each person has to weigh the importance of the animal, its age, and their ability to be responsible for its care. We can’t all agree on the outcomes. This is supposed to be an exchange of opinions, not a witch hunt for cryin out loud. I am totally pulling for this family.

    • Nope, we bonded together & doubled the goal. Why? Cuz she is real. She cares about animals. Her story was heartfelt. If everyone who took in a dog, was financially able to overcome an emergency $5000+ surgery………..do you have any clue how many more dogs would die daily? Need to preach more of responsible non breeding practices & control the population!

  2. first, i would fall in love with that face, that beautiful german shepard you rescued, who is so adored by your little boy, and you. hopefully this article was noticed by a world of dog lovers who will lessen your huge financial burden. this is why i haven’t adopted a dog – much as it’s been a lifelong desire. the hardest thing in life is letting go of what is loved most – BUT…love conquers all! surely if you saw this precious dog suffering, your love couldn’t stand it for long. if you say she isn’t suffering, maybe other doctors would be willing to give their opinions? wishing you all the best

  3. The best I can advise is to go to sites like GoFundMe.com and set up and account to accept donations. Many generous people out there know of it, and there are others also, just google “personal donation sites”

    Good luck!

  4. Set up a YOUCARING.com donation site. They are very successful and don’t take the fees that GoFundMe does.

  5. You know, I don’t normally comment on these, but I am tonight.
    I understand that many people see things differently and have their opinions. But sometimes people need to learn to just be quiet. Jennifer is a friend of mine and I don’t appreciate any anybody making her feel worse than she already does.
    She is kind, loving, forgiving, and very humble. She never asks for help and has done everything in her power to do what is right by her mother, her child, AND her FUR child. I understand that many people don’t get the true love and bond a real animal lover has for their animal family, but she’s not asking for your judgmental opinions. She not asking for your opinion that it’s the kind thing to do and put her loved fur child down due to financial restrains. She not asking your opinion on what her and the family chose to do for her mother’s funeral. She’s not asking your opinion on if she should have adopted her fur child. She’s not asking your advice on if she should ever get another fur child.
    She is humbly asking for those who UNDERSTAND that she is going outside her comfort zone and asking strangers who feel the same way she does about her fur child and her situation to possibly donate just a few dollars if they have it. If you don’t that’s OK. All she is asking is for help from those who are willing.
    For all those judging her and saying mean things, I hope your children treat you EXACTLY how you treat others. I hope your children are heartless in their decisions on how to take care of you when you need their help. May Karma bite your back end.

    • I do not even know Jennifer & I was highly offended by some of the comments. We donated to the cause & are happy to see other kind hearted people have done the same. The negative people should just simply move on. The poor lady who fell on a patch of bad times was asking for help. Either help or move on. It is not hard to understand. Judging others is not what WE are supposed to do. That is up to God in the end. I love when people take in senior dogs because generally, they get over looked and live out their final days in sadness, confusion, & dismay. Kudos………& hope life gets brighter really soon. Good luck & God bless.

    • Dear Jennifer and Jennifer’s friend… I recently took in a male GSD with emotional issues, fortunately no physical issues. My husband and I are both disabled and have limited funds, but could not say no to this precious guy, who brings our fur kid count to four (all rescues).
      Honey, if I had money I’d pay all your costs and leave you with a nest egg. I can’t give money, but will pray you get the help you need.
      I wish I could show you a picture of my guy with “his” baby girl, my most recent grandgirl.
      Much love and prayers….

  6. Karma … I always end up believing in Karma .. A young woman does a good deed and others/ not always human, benefit from her actions. Then for some reason, some twist in the universe, she ends up being in the position of needing help.
    If dogs could her the way she helped them, she wouldn’t have posted this and put herself in the position for people to be unkind to her, to make her feel worse than she already does.
    Whether she or you believe in Karma .. remember what it means … a sort of reap what you sow sort of thing … be kind, some day you might benefit from a strangers kindness … be cruel and ugly … you will get it back one day.
    Jenny, I hold you your sweet dogs and baby in my thoughts and I will definitely send money. If someone can afford their cable bill to stay online, they can afford to donate a few dollars to maybe save a life ..

  7. Is there any chance that GSDRescue VA would be able to help if you would “surrender” him but continue as the foster? That financial is much too big for any good samaritan alone.


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