As many know, I'm a storyteller. And this will be a very personal story so please gather round hear the true story full of hope and miracles. This is really the classic “A Boy & His Dog” or really better told, “A Dog & Her Boy.” Her name is Kelsey McGee and I'm her boy, Shannon. Her favorite words are "cemetery" and "beach" along with "ride" which to her means she's going to one or the other. People who know us know we're rarely found anywhere else. We've literally explored hundreds of Southern graveyards and cemeteries and Hunting Island, SC has been our beach for a decade plus. We've been joined at the hip since adopting her in 2010.
Kelsey's road to a Forever Home has been a precarious one. In ways, it all began hidden inside of a dirt hole where some misguided teenager had placed her thinking she'd make a great bait dog for dog fights. Which is why if looking at the end of Kelsey's tongue you can see a little torn sliver reminding of what she escaped. Eventually, the receiving shelter let Kelsey hang around over 3 months because they said when she sat down, she did a “gorilla sit” and according to them, that made her special. I know that intimate detail because I volunteered there 4 days a week. With some alarm, I also learned she was on the Doggy Death Row's short list per such ominous signs on cages. One day while pulling her gorilla-sit pose, Kelsey just looked up at me from behind her cell door with this unblinking, upward glance and I recall it like yesterday. She sighed impatiently as if her eyes were expressing, "this place is boring - when are you doing the paperwork?" And that was it. We never looked back at that place. She was my prize for getting all of the other doggy souls out of there.
Our first trip was to Hunting Island where she took to water like a fish and showed me her rescue nature much like you'll see in the video. Anything in the water needed her help she came to believe. And boy was I treading some in my life! Over time, Kelsey proved to rescue me and during the course of our mutual care-taking, Kelsey has surpassed heart worm, overcome 2 ACL knee surgeries, been treated for Hypothyroidism, got hit by a car doing a braking stop from 50 mph, and once in her favorite cemetery, I found myself pulling her head out of the jaws of an enormous dog that nearly tore her face off! So other than plainly being each other's heroes, Kelsey is obviously a survivor and there's nothing I wouldn't do for her. As I can boast of no children, she has been my child and more.
In early 2020, I began to notice the extremely fit and active Kelsey, suddenly went from swinging on tree vines by her mouth to having issues with basic porch steps and out of concern, took her to the vet's office. Her long time doctor had sold the practice, so wasn't feeling great about it. They did standard exams, x-rays and told me she probably strained something and needed some extensive rest. I wasn't buying it. Kelsey began to only walk short distances, would lie down. Eventually couldn't make it on a basic walk to our favorite cemetery. The "grave news" as they say, was a tumor was found on the spine and that it was in an extremely risky place to biopsy. Symptomatically, it was some type of sarcoma. The short of the long was that nearly all of the doctors and specialists called it a done deal and to prepare for an untimely demise. And in fairness, I didn't expect the people in white coats to grasp the complete spirit of a dog or their owner but my gut told me this was far from over, yet would be the literal fight of Kelsey's life. So I began to research everything under the sun for Kelsey and much came to light for the positive. Even so, by early 2021 she'd lost lots of muscle mass in her back end and the ability to utilize her rear legs overall.
Since this journey of healing began nearly a year ago, Kelsey has had the best of the best ranging from lovingly prepared organic meals, weekly acupuncture (amazing), cold laser, and for the past 4 or 5 months, intravenous Vitamin C along with a ton of amazing supplements and Chinese herbs oriented for her condition. Less we mention the countless hours of swimming therapy which she still loves and lives for. Snapshot a year later -- her health and spirit are over-the-top and the experts pleasantly dumbfounded! Even Kelsey's famous tail is back to wagging to match her loving smile!
Strangely, here's where Kelsey's road back got suddenly dreadful, but then unexpectedly miraculous? I mean wild stuff. Several months ago, Kelsey was excitedly scooting out of her bed to greet a friend and in doing so, broke her back leg. Unfortunately, it was also one day before her oncologist visit It was devastating and then worse, the oncologist would explain the break was from the tumor having spread into her back right leg. It was the first time I felt sick in all of it. Truly -- like there was nothing else I could offer Kelsey and to be honest, I felt I had completely failed her. On the upside of just reporting that Kelsey's time was limited, the doctor noted she could biopsy the tumor to see what type of cancer it was because there might just be a chance that it was treatable. It was hope and we went for it!
That's when Kelsey's original operated-on-leg from puppy-hood eased some fears by revealing that the tumors were the most treatable type -- Multiple Myeloma! The bizarre irony of this journey was that her ability to walk had been compromised because the type of tumor likes to devour muscle mass from dense areas and bone and was not because of a more aggressive sarcoma! Had the spinal biopsy been possible a year earlier, Kelsey would still be up and running! It was hard to accept but same time a blessing in a break! Because of this discovery, and new treatments, her tumors have shrunk, more feeling has returned to her hind area along with some baby step movements in her legs. But the decision in many ways, came down to how to strategize fixing her broken leg. The tumor after all had done damage.
The "plan" involved radiation, but if doing her spine first or alone, the pain of the break would torment Kelsey with greater returning feeling to the leg. So the very able bodies surgeons had a round-table and although leaned mostly towards amputation, said it wasn't impossible to keep it. I felt her "angel leg" should remain intact. That involved a lot of soul searching and listening to Kelsey's spirit believe it or not. But hope had been found in radio-graphs showing promise and the surgeon agreed to do it but respectfully warned it could go amputation mid-surgery. So Kelsey's fans will be happy to know that as of last week, Kelsey's leg was saved as they fused the bones! She's not out of the woods entirely but its a start!
Its funny what plays into a journey like this as inspiration so want to share a side story with her fans. We naturally looked to any other dog with the same situation as herself but inside of vet references surprisingly found only one medical cousin to Kelsey – a white llama! Since that discovery, some of Kelsey's medical inner circle have dubbed her "Kelsey The Llama" both as nickname and a sort of healing mantra. Following radiation and aquatic therapy, the llama of comparison, walked once more! So, yes, there's beauty and laughter that goes along with the struggle and thank goodness for the spirit of it all!
So two things -- one, I'm not good at asking for help. And two, I know there are far bigger issues in the world and people's health. I respect all of those who have their hardships and hope that they'll not be insulted by my appeal for my friend Kelsey McGee. Everything has been expensive and as I'm a small businessman, 2020 shut it down but we have survived through the help of hard work and the blessings of many great friends and family. In truth, Kelsey McGee would not be alive today without them. But Kelsey is destined to walk again and we know that for many reasons both explainable and hard-to-explain ones that have included dreams of her walking. Of which I had a powerful one just this Christmas week!
I've done all of this for Kelsey McGee for un-selfish reasons even if I love her selfishly. I want to give back to Kelsey what is Kelsey's to have. If she were truly suffering, I'd not be making this appeal at all. But Kelsey's spirit has driven everyone around her and many will attest to what I'm saying. She's been our inspiration as a miraculous creation and her spirit has guided us to do all of this! Its been an amazing journey and already Kelsey's treatment protocols have gone on to help other dogs (maybe llamas!), and is the stuff that will continue to benefit other animals for years to come! None of it has been for naught! Its about what's possible!
That said, any funds donated will go to pay for her recent leg repair of $6300.00, her future radiation treatments of roughly $8000.00 and then subsequent meals, supplements, meds and other therapies. We spent the first year paying for all of this out of pocket and are still paying for some of it through Care Credit and the like.
I know many of you will give without expectation but I want to give Kelsey's fans something back and I'm so blessed to at least have the option! I have created some Donation Tiers 4 Tours and some are extremely VIP! All tickets will be emailed to you per your providing an email address and are "Good Until Redeemed" by you, family or friends. You can read about myself and my tours and see more of Kelsey McGee in coming day as I post more about her whole life, by clicking this link: Shannon Scott's Website Kelsey and I thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
- $25 Donated = 1 Bonaventure Cemetery Tour Ticket
- $150 Donated = 4 Bonaventure Tour Tickets & 18 x 24 Bonaventure Poster signed by Shannon
- $250 Donated = Bonaventure Cemetery Journey's Lifetime Pass! Never buy another tour ticket!(Good for 2 People At A Time on Daytime Tours)
- $500 Donated = Private Half Day Tour w/Shannon Scott of your choosing for 1-6 Persons (choices of Bonaventure Cemetery, Laurel Grove Cemetery, City Ghost or History Tour)
- $1000 Donated = Combination Private Tour w/Shannon Scott for 1-6 Persons that will include Savannah's Historic District, Ghost, Cemeteries & Surrounding Area
- $1500 + Donated = Lowcountry of South Carolina or Georgia Private Tour w/Shannon Scott
-All tickets can be used by your friends and family
-All Private Tours include transportation with pickup-dropoff services within 10 miles of Savannah
-Private Cemetery & Savannah Area Tours run 4 Hours Generally
-Private Low Country Tours run "Full Day" at 7 Hours Plus w/breaks
-Private Tours cannot occur on major holidays or Halloween weekend per Shannon's work demands
-Email addresses must be provided through our website contact to receive vouchers
-For daytime Bonaventure tours, an existing tour must be active or live on calendar and cannot simply be generated based on tickets in hand alone. We recommend reserving few days ahead to ensure success thank you
-Questions: Please see website contact info for Shannon Scott directly