At Family Promise, Every Dog has its Day


May 19, 2021

When a family member is sick as a dog, guests know they can turn to Family Promise. 

Russell and his son Noah would agree with the sentiment about a dog being man’s best friend. Their dog, Coffee Bean, is living proof.

Coffee Bean, or Coffee for short, is a three-pound Chiweenie, a mix between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. She’s the smallest dog the family has ever known, but don’t let her size fool you.

“She’s small, dark, and strong, just like her name,” says Russell, adding that she also has the energy of a full-test brew.

Russell and Noah were facing the most difficult time of their lives and struggling with homelessness when they found Family Promise Mat-Su in Wasilla, Alaska.

“When we got to Family Promise, I felt right away they would help us get on the right track,” says Russell.

He was correct. Family Promise helped him find a job, and the family started working toward independence. Before long, they were able to move on. Russell now works at a gold mine, and Noah is 13 and in school.

Coffee has been the family’s constant companion since she entered their lives years ago. She has been known to fall asleep in the hood of Russell’s sweatshirts – while he’s wearing them – and when Russell’s grandmother suffered a stroke, Coffee “brought the light back into her eyes,” as Russell describes. During their time at Family Promise, Coffee was able to remain close by thanks to Pets with a Promise, Family Promise’s partnership with PetSmart Charities. The program provides shelter and care for pets so families battling homelessness don’t have to experience the additional trauma of relinquishing a beloved pet.

When Coffee recently became pregnant and her health declined, Russell and Noah panicked. The life-saving surgery she needed was beyond their means. Russell didn’t know what to do, then he remembered Family Promise.

“The last time I felt like this, panicked about what to do, Family Promise was there for us,” he recalls. “I wasn’t sure what they could do, but I figured I’d give them a call.”

Through Pets with a Promise, Family Promise was able to help the graduate family cover the expense of Coffee’s surgery. Sadly, none of the puppies survived, but Coffee is on the mend and continues to bring joy to her human family.

“I’m really grateful that an organization like Family Promise exists,” Russell says. “They were adamant about helping us. It’s nice to know there are people who have a heart.

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