Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Bentley Meets The Farley Foundation

By now most of you know all about my beloved Bentley. Bentley is a 10 year old German Shepherd/Chocolate Lab/Collie mix. He came to live with me on September 13th, 2006, upon being rescued from a farm, where he was abandoned 18hours a day and left to run around on a field in all types of weather. Alas his life-long fear of thunder and lightening.

From the moment Bentley first walked into my life, he as been the son I never had. I have always been a lover of animals and have pets around me all the time, and of course I absolutely adore each of my pets. Taking nothing away from my two current cats Zoe and Diva, but the bond that Bentley and I share is something really quite special. Perhaps it is because Cats can be so dismissive and dogs are pack animals and therefore make it their business to be in your business at all times. lol  Perhaps it is also because we spend the most time together - going for walks and such. Whereas the cats stay at home and mostly just stare at me as I sleep. In either case, there is most definitely something special about my boy.

As most of you know by now, I live my life with Fibromyalgia. An illness, which causes great amounts of body-wide pain, as it attacks the Central Nervous System. Affecting (among other things) my equilibrium. I cannot tell you how many times I have broken my toes just crossing the living room!

So, this how Bentley came to be in my life. Because FMS has messed with my legs so badly, that now the majority of my outings are done via taxi, when I am puttering around my neighborhood, I thought that the help of a dog for balance would be of tremendous help to me.

I didn't think that I needed an actual dog guide - but a dog who could help me stay balanced. At least physically! lol

I have to say that I really got lucky when Bentley came into my life. Not only was he a strong dog, who was able to counter balance my tipsy-topsy legs, but he had a fabulous personality. Fun loving, trusting, playful, and yes, even a bit feisty. I heard once that you don't get the dog you want - you get the dog you need. And I believe this to be the absolute truth. Many people will say that I rescued Bentley - but the truth of the matter is that Bentley rescued me!

Just seeing his smiling face (and yes he does smile!) warms my heart and brings pure joy to my life.  I am thankful every single day that I found him.

Despite his life prior to coming to his forever home with me, his health was not too bad over the years. We've been lucky!

Age can creep up on the best of us and about a year ago we discovered that Bentley was no longer able to produce tears. So he has been on an ointment, which induces tear production from the ducts and has worked fabulously. He will be on this treatment for the rest of his life. Additionally, because of age and his breed(s), his hips are starting to go. Doggy arthritis essentially. So, he is now on 'chews' to ease any discomfort in his hips. Again, this treatment will continue for the remainder of his life. And God willing, that will be for several years yet!

From the moment Bentley came to me, I have made it a priority to insure he receives regular medical care. Annual shots, and treatment of anything else that may come up. And why not? With everything he brings to my life, and asking for so little in return - a supply of food and water and some cuddles. (And in his case, lots of toys! Bentley does love his toys!)

As you may be aware, veterinary care can be very expensive, which can be very challenging to my finances, which are limited due to my medical disabilities. Thankfully, thus far I've been able to cover all of Bentley's care, needs, necessities and extras.

Unfortunately, a situation has come up. Bentley's teeth. Two of them actually. A molar, which is infected, and a fang, which has a break in it. Just really further deterioration due to old age. The problem is that this time treatment would not be just a simple $160/month as it is with his eyes and hips. This would require surgery!

Pre-operative Blood work. IV. Anesthesia. Extractions. Cleaning. Nerve Blockers. Pain Meds. Antibiotics. Post-op Follow-up. All for a grand total of $989.00!!


There is NO WAY I can cough up a thousand dollars.  Yet, not having the surgery and allowing Bentley to suffer for even one second is NOT an option! He is okay for now, the infected tooth is being treated with antibiotics (at $80 a bottle) but if the tooth should abscess, that is where there real problems begin. In short, this procedure is necessary. It has to happen. And I have no way of paying for it!

Can we say  S-T-R-E-S-S-F-U-L???

My mind has been racing, Could I borrow the money? Could I make payment arrangements? There just did not seem to be a way out of this. Yet, Bentley is basically sitting there with a time bomb in his mouth and at any moment it could blow!

Enter the wonderful staff at the vet's office. (Sherbourne Animal Hospital)  Specifically a woman named Darlene. An angel actually. She took the time to understand the situation and knowing how I have been on top of Bentley's medical needs to this point and the importance of having this surgery, she offered to put in an application to the Farley Foundation on our behalf.

The Farley Foundation is a charitable organization, which was established in 2001 by the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA).  Their primary goal is to recognize and honor the human-animal bond and offers assistance to seniors and disabled individuals who run in to financial difficulty with unforeseen, necessary veterinary treatment. (As opposed to regular/routine, or optional care such as vaccinations or grooming, etc.)

I was warned that although there was a good chance we would be accepted. There were no guarantees We could be denied. Or there could be a partial acceptance of the amount.

I understood the information I was given and quite honestly, I was just thankful that the application was even being submitted on our behalf. Regardless of the outcome.

1:13PM this afternoon my phone rang. It was Darlene.

"Tell me you love me." she said.
"I love you." I said.
"They (Farley Foundation) accepted you for the full amount. Bentley can have his surgery." She said.

And time stopped. It was all I could do not to cry right there on the phone!

Bentley's surgery has been booked and will be done on July 8th. (Pre-op blood work to be done July 4th.)

What a tremendous relief! My Bentley can have the surgery!! He will be okay!! I cannot express how grateful I am. How thankful I am. How blessed I feel. And how much I am looking forward to paying this blessing forward at the earliest opportunity!

To the Farley Foundation. I just want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. For all that you do for animals (and their humans) all over Ontario. And especially for what you are doing for Bentley and I. There are just not enough words to express my immense gratitude!

And to Darlene. I will never forget what you've done and how you've gone out of your way to help us!

-Laura and Bentley