In 16-year-old Tasha’s world, dogs really are man’s best friend. Or rather, one dog in particular.
Little did she and her family know how important their new puppy, Roxie, would become to them when they brought her home three years ago.
There was an immediate connection between Tasha, who suffered from periodic seizures, and the new dog. Roxie stuck close to her human “sister,” even sleeping at the foot of her bed. But no one realized how special their bond was until Roxie witnessed one of Tasha’s seizures.
“Roxie found me and grabbed at me, leading me to Tasha,” recalls Tasha’s mom, Laurie. “Thankfully, I got to her in time.”
From then on, dog and daughter were inseparable, Laurie says.
“Roxie’s my emotional support animal,” Tasha explains. “Whenever I’m about to have a seizure, she finds my mom, whines, and makes her come check on me.”
When the family lost their home and came to Family Promise-Salt Lake, Utah, they worried what would become of Roxie since most agencies barred pets. But Family Promise’s partnership program with PetSmart Charities, Pets with a Promise, enabled Family Promise to keep human and canine family members together.
“Because Roxie’s expenses were covered, a volunteer offered to board her. The family visited as often as they wanted,” says Family Promise Program Manager Alyssa York.
For the three months the family was in the emergency shelter program, Roxie had a safe, comfortable home. And although she wasn’t around daily to keep a close eye on Tasha, Roxie enjoyed frequent visits from her family.
The family is now in transitional housing, and Roxie is back at the foot of Tasha’s bed each night.
Since Roxie, the Affiliate has lodged one cat and expects to serve many more families and their pets. York is thrilled about this opportunity.
“Now families don’t have added worries about their pets when they’re in a crisis,” she says. “I love that we don’t have to turn anyone away.”
More than 100 Affiliates have been supported by PetSmart Charities through the Pets with a Promise program that allows families to remain together with their best friends.