Please Help Hug My Humans

My name is Dakota. I am an 11-year-old Labrador-Golden Retriever mix. I do not bite. I respect the mailman. And I always look both ways before stealing cookies from the counter. Thank you for taking a moment to read my story. I created this page to try and help my two humans. One is gravely ill with lung cancer and a very rare brain disease. The other is currently unemployed while he cares for his loving partner of 13 years. He hopes to return to work soon, but is now devoted to round-the-clock care for everyone in our family.


Since early 2010, our vibrant, rambunctious house, once filled with laughter, music and lots of kibbles and chew toys, has been shadowed by sadness, loss and uncertainty. In February of that year, my cat sister BooBoo died from cancer just a few days after my dad Mike was diagnosed with an aggressive form of melanoma. After enduring surgery and radiation treatments, he was okay for about a year. In the fall of 2011, however, the cancer returned. In September 2012, my big dog brother Jackson died suddenly. Then my dad Mike was hospitalized with two opportunistic infections. And then, just days later, my brave Mike, my favorite human in the world, lost his job and was diagnosed with a rare brain disease. We don't know what tomorrow will bring, but I hope we can stay in our home long enough to see my dad bounce back. He always ended emails and conversations with a cheerful, "Hugs!"


Now it's my turn to give him an endless supply of Hugs. If I could pay the bills with kibbles and barks, we'd be all set. However, it seems the human world much prefers something called money. I want to do everything I can to help comfort my favorite dad and keep him safe in the weeks ahead. I also want to help pay for his housing, medical care, physical therapy, dietary needs and supplements.


Nothing in this life is permanent. Few things are guaranteed. I just find it so difficult to believe that everything is changing so rapidly. After the past few weeks, following his brave and defiant survival from the previous infections, after all of this ... there is a looming darkness outside our door. I'm trying to stay in the moment and love him and hug him and comfort him. It's just so very, very hard. I feel like the saddest dog in the world.


Will you please help hug my human companions? Anything will be so welcome ... every $5, $10 or $20 will help us care for Mike. Thank you!


  • Pete and Margo Haflich 
    • $25 
    • 100 mos
  • Phil Evans 
    • $250 
    • 100 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $1,000 
    • 100 mos
  • Anousone Fongthavisay 
    • $50 
    • 100 mos
  • Kathi Long 
    • $50 
    • 100 mos
See all


Dakota Louise Shafer 
  • #1 fundraising platform

    More people start fundraisers on GoFundMe than on any other platform. Learn more

  • GoFundMe Guarantee

    In the rare case something isn’t right, we will work with you to determine if misuse occurred. Learn more

  • Expert advice, 24/7

    Contact us with your questions and we’ll answer, day or night. Learn more