Last night, the good dog returned home from a two-day stay at the hospital where he had an operation for his torn ACL. Surgery for a nearly 100-pound dog involves installing hardware into his femur and shaving his bones so that his leg can stabilize and he will - in due time - be able to walk again.
The surgery was intense as was the bill, to the tune of $5,174. That is $174 more than the new-to-me Toyota Prius I bought in March and for which I continue to make monthly payments.
At the time I learned Jack would need surgery, I had $20 in my wallet and not a whole lot more in the bank. Unlike hospital stays for people, the money would be due at the time of service. As an eternal optimist who looks for opportunities within challenges, I brainstormed how I might raise funds for Jack's surgery. I considered making cookies and mailing them around the country based on orders taken (with two nephews and a niece in college, I have mastered the art of cookie care-packages); or setting up an old-fashioned lemonade/mango lassi stand outside my house for the hundreds of cars that pass by at commuting hours. But these things were labor-intensive for a small fundraising yield and no guaranteed takers.
I shared these thoughts with my mom. She texted in response that I should start a "Go Fund Me" page; I received this suggestion while having lunch with my friend Kathy who said the same thing. I took their shared wave-length as a sign.
The next day, I set up a fundraising account for Jack and posted it on facebook. Within three days, I had raised a $1000 and within 10 days, I raised a total of $1430 from 26 people.
I am so moved by this act of generosity from my far-flung community. I have not been in touch with one donor since high school (over 20 years ago); another I met last year while kayaking for a week in Alaska; and one person I have not even met as he is the brother of a friend. People from Washington, Colorado, Minnesota, Tennessee, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut (and perhaps more places?) contributed toward my dog's surgery. Some of them have dogs, but not all. None except my mom are related to me.
The thing that inspired them to do this is the GOODNESS of their hearts connecting with the GOODNESS of sweet Jack and his need for help.
Like Jesus who was amazed by the faith of the Roman Centurion who went to great lengths to receive healing for his beloved slave in yesterday's assigned Gospel reading (Luke 7:1-10), I am AMAZED by the generosity of my community. Not because I expect less from such wonderful people, but because I am humbled to be the recipient of such kindness.
My friends gave more than merely dollars; dozens of people offered words of support, encouragement and prayer. More than anything, the community effort was a morale booster so that neither Jack nor I would feel alone going through this hard, scary thing.
Healing and wholeness come in a variety of forms. I am thankful for the swell of love that has emerged from generous people reaching out in a time of need. I hope I can return the kindness and pay it forward. For now, I hold the goodness close and share it with my sweet pup as he heals.
The campaign for Jack's surgery can be found here: Heal Jack Campaign
Thank you, wonderful community of folks and pups, for helping Jack to get back on his feet; by doing so, you are also helping heal me!
|Jack at one of his favorite and most frequent stomping grounds: the ballfields behind the elementary school near our home. This picture was taken just a few days before surgery.|