To Whom It Concerns:
I'm writing you to explain how wonderful of an experience I am having with The Zeus & Luna 2 Pay It Forward Foundation. Unfortunately I had to learn about this organization through a tragedy. We lost our German Shepherd, also named Zeus, on Dec 9th to bone cancer that had been undiagnosed. Although it is still hard to talk about or even think about, the fact that Carla's organization has selected us to receive one of their puppies on January 9th has made getting through each day a little easier for my fiancé and I. Below is the post I wrote in The German Shepherd Dog Community on Facebook just hours after helping Zeus cross over Rainbow Bridge that Carla saw that prompted her to reach out to me in a private message.
"I've followed so many posts in this group over the time I've been a member. I can't even put a number to the times I've laughed at the funny videos, showed some love when members posted proud pictures of their fur babies, and not only gave a sad but often had real tears when somebody's faithful friend crossed over rainbow bridge.
As a disabled veteran my emotions are a roller coaster most days. Zeus, although not officially trained all the way, has always been my service dog. We never completed training so he never got his certificate because of financial reasons but that was good enough for us as we had each other and he would comfort me when I got depressed or was in pain. He didn't leave my side when I had cervical spine surgery Aug 31, the day after he turned two. I was so bummed going into my surgery that I realized now that I didn't give him a birthday shout out, but he still loved me unconditionally.
A little over a week ago he started limping just a little on the back right foot as if stepped on a rock. A couple days later I came home to find explosive diarrhea on the floor. I had worked about 10 hrs that day at my fish/pet store and so I chalked it up to some anxiety and promptly cleaned it up and loved on him. I blamed myself because I was gone too long. The next night, exactly 1 week ago, was worse and I intentionally didn't work late. Not only was diarrhea on the floor but it was on the furniture and curtains by the backdoor that he went through 1000s of times. I knew something wasn't right after two days in row and off to the emergency vet we go. I took him at 830pm and got home at 6am the next morning. I stayed outside all night, angry that covid kept me from being inside with him while he waited to be examined inside alone and afraid. I sat in the car and just prayed it was nothing. $1800 and a plethora of x-rays, ultrasounds, and blood tests really didn't show anything except some vitamin deficiency and some elevated white blood cells. We started on some pain meds and antibiotics. Zeus never missed a dose of his meds and Melissa made sure of that he got his fair share of treats for taking it. We were scheduled for a follow up this Friday to discuss blood test results that arrived back from a special lab. This morning, while I was 2 hours away at another VA appointment I get a call that Zeus has seemed have hurt his right leg and it was bumped out weird. I finished my appointment and raced back. One look at his leg and I'm immediately on the phone with his regular vet. At first they say come in tomorrow and I counter with there is no way you want me to do that if you see his leg. They say come in a 3pm est, then call back and say drop him off asap once they see the pictures I texted, so he arrived around noon. By 3pm we were let into a private room at the vet to say goodbye. It turns out not only did he break the ball off his femur and the ball come out of his hip, 2 vets from our office and another specialty clinic confirmed they saw a tumor in his bone. A biopsy would have been needed to confirm cancer but everyone agreed that is mostly like what it was. Bone cancer!
So for a little more than week Zeus suffered but still he loved me. Obviously the tumor was making him sick and nobody suspected it as we were concentrating on his digestive system. Then the tragic break of his leg/hip this morning happened and it reared its ugly head.
I'm am convinced that no amount of money would have fixed this and simultaneously given him a pain free, normal life.
Ours pets are so lucky that we can make the hard decisions for them to let their suffering end as quickly and as painlessly as possible. I'm envious.
I don't even want to think about waking up without him there is going to be like. The way he greeted me when I came home every day was special. Especially when I liked my dog more than people. I shed tears over my dog and even your dog but rarely over a person, that's just who I've become. That's how I prefer it.
I'll see you again buddy because all dogs go to Heaven! Mom, Dad and Zena love you and you'll be missed. Thank you for all you did for this family; all the love, guard duty around the property, those sopping wet drool covered balls dropped in my lap was appreciated more than you know."
Zeus: Born 8/30/18 - EOW 12/9/20
The message from Carla came in the middle of the night offering condolences and letting me know that if anything her organization could do to please let her know. I couldn't think straight, my head was spinning from all the grief and I could barely make it more than a few minutes without breaking down. I had placed an emergency call to my VA counselor to explain what had happened but while I waited for the call back I started chatting through messenger with Carla. As we chatted back and forth, she sent me a link to the organization and explained more about their mission. It really helped pass the time as I awaited the call from my counselor. Furthermore, I think Carla realized just how fragile of a state I was in so she kept me talking via messenger, knowing I was waiting on that call because she urged me to keep calling if need be
That call finally came an hour or so later. Within just ten minutes or so of sharing the news with my counselor I told her about the organization that offered to assist me if I chose to. Without hesitation my counselor told me to fill the application out online. She knew how much Zeus had gotten me through since I brought him home at 8 weeks old and felt that I needed to get another puppy right away so I had something to concentrate on. The next day my counselor went on to write a letter, which I have no idea what was written, to Carla directly. The application was filled out online December 11th, a copy of my DD214 sent, that letter from the VA counselor was sent, along with a background check at the veterinarian clinic and an interview of the people I listed in the application all on the same day I started the process. By dinner time Carla informed me we were approved for one of the puppies. We selected Apollo.
We've been in contact with Carla almost daily since getting the good news about being approved to get Apollo. We'll either video chat or she'll send pictures of him. Her volunteers have been a great help to by keeping him clean and giving him plenty of exercise. We really look forward to traveling from Elkhart, Indiana all the way to Pflugerville, Texas to pick him up on January 9th. The long drive will be worth it.
We are grateful to Carla, her volunteers, the entire Zeus & Luna 2 Pay It Forward Foundation, and all of the donors that have made it possible for this to happen. The work they do to selflessly help others is truly a miracle! We look forward to meeting everyone in person and starting our journey together with Apollo. He'll never be a replacement to Zeus, just taking over his watch while he runs free in Heaven.