Hi. My name is Lisa Jaffe and I live in Seattle with my son and our dog, the Ruby of the campaign.
Ruby came to our family at a fraught time. Seven and a half years ago, we lost our dog, Katie, at the age of 17. It was three months before my then husband and I were due to tell our son that his dad was going to undergo a sex change. We felt that having the continuity of a dog -- a non-judgmental love object -- was important. Our son is autistic and change is often very difficult. While dogs aren't interchangeable, the routines that surround them are. Structure is good.
She was a way for our son and my ex to be together in non-threatening way; with teens walking side by side enables more conversation than face to face.
Ruby was a great asset to the family for more than our son. She was good for me. I've had rheumatoid arthritis for 16 years and while there are days when staying in bed and succumbing to the pain and fatigue sounds better than getting up, Ruby waits for no woman. She must be walked, twice a day.
I refer to Ruby as "irrationally exuberant". Morning is fabulous. Every morning. Food is glorious. Every morsel (and if she sees me eat it, she knows forever more that it's edible. No blackberry bush or apple trea or pea vine is safe in our garden; she has her own strawberry patch). She is large and energetic and loves her people in loud, squeaking, jumping excess, almost as much as she loves the dog park (she howls the whole way there and drags me to the gate).
She has been healthy for the seven plus years we have had her -- until this spring. After an injury in May that led to 17 staples and two weeks without the dog park, she was fine. Until early August, when we noticed what looked to be a hot spot. We took her to the vet where she was given antibiotics. After 2 weeks, the problem seemed to be getting worse, not better. A surgery followed, and pathology that was inconclusive. You never want a vet to say the pathologists thought a tumor was "weird" "interesting," and that they really need more testing to "find out what this sucker is".
After a few days of healing, there seemed to be two lumps forming at the surgical site, and, alarmingly, I found another mass under her arm, about the size of a cherry tomato. None of these was present at the time of the surgery, when Dr. Newby gave her a top-to-tail exam. By the next day, when I brought her into the vet, I found a fourth pea-sized tumor. That was excised the same day and sent to pathology. The hope was that a tumor that hadn't ruptured (like the first) would be easier to classify.
Normally, this would be an expense I could proudly handle on my own. However, for the last 15 months, I haven't worked. My father became ill, entering the hospital last August and never returning home. He died in January and left a financial, physical and emotional mess behind. I spent the last seven months ensuring my step-mom was settled and okay. It entailed selling a whole lot of junk, a condo in foreclosure, and finding an affordable place for her and her dog. It was interrupted by her first spraining a wrist and ankle and then breaking her other foot and ankle. She is only just mobile again.
So I am, this week of hurricanes and a devastating earthquake, asking for help. I am not homeless. I am not facing the kind of devastation or hopeless situation that DACA recipients or residents of Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and Mexico are. But Ruby being this ill is the proverbial last straw in my life. I can't just say, "Oh well," and put her down. I hope there is enough room in your heart to help me, too.
I have spent $2900 so far on Ruby's care. Further care may include more surgery, as well as chemo and regular appointments with an oncologist. Each chemo session -- she's had one so far -- is $440. That doesn't include blood work between each round and about $250 per month on pain meds and antibiotics. All money raised will go towards the vet bills I have incurred and those of the future. Any funds that are surplus to those needs will be donated to Frankie's Friends (http://www.frankiesfriends.org) to help those who can't afford vet care for their pets.
I am hoping that the generous nature of people will kick in here, even if it is in a small way. I hope you can donate to this, AND help fund the disasters that seem to be coming thick and fast. If you have $50 to give, perhaps you could donate $5 to Ruby, too.
Thank you all for your consideration, and for all the thoughts, prayers, and good vibes you can spare.
- Leila Raymond
- Mark Mizuno
- Denyse Friedman
- Maura Hubbell
- Sharon Coutts
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