In early June, our Care Team received a request for a donation that stood out for so many reasons. Lana, a breeder of Dachshund puppies on the West Coast, reached out to have a crate donated for a pup who was born with a cleft lip. She let us know that the pup would be sent to the home of a child who was also born with a cleft lip - and we knew that we had to spring into action and help.
Lana joined a cleft lip support group and found Karrie—it was a perfect match. Karrie’s daughter, Kentley (9), resides in Wisconsin and has been through many emotions over the last few years. In addition to navigating school during a pandemic and health crisis, she was born with a cleft lip and has had several surgeries to help correct this.
Karrie had been searching for a way to help Kentley through these difficult times and help her daughter feel less alone. She knew that a pup was just what Kentley needed. “I don’t have my anxiety as much anymore. I never really had my own pet (except a cat), and it’s really nice,” shared Kentley. Kentley related so much to this new pup that she wanted their names to match, too: their new pup has been named Bentley.
We asked what makes Bentley so special to Kentley, and she shared that “He’s cute. But I think Bentley treats me a little differently, too. We have a special bond because we ’re similar. He just knows that.”
Bentley and Kentley have a lot in common, but a big reason why it was so important to me to jump in and help out in this situation was that I saw a lot of what I went through as a kid in Kentley. I wasn’t born with a cleft lip, nor did I go through surgeries, but I was still very different from the other kids my age. I was learning that I was part of the LGBTQ+ community and felt like I was an outcast at school. I was suffering through a lot of dark moments filled with anxiety. My parents also got our family a dog around that same age, and a big reason why I made it through those difficult times was that I had Abby, our family's golden retriever.
When I learned that Diggs had the opportunity to help a family with a child in need, I knew that we had to support in any way that we could, and I’m so grateful that Diggs could help make this amazing initiative happen. In a time that has been hard for so many, I think what is most important is that we all learn to be just a little bit more empathetic to one another and treat each other with kindness.
Jeff is the Head of our Care Team and has been passionate about animals and their care from very early on. Before coming to Diggs, Jeff was a certified pet training instructor and trained many pups to complete their Canine Good Citizen (CGC) exam. When Jeff isn’t working hard for our Care Team and Pet Parents, he loves spending time with his two golden retrievers, Owen (5) and Betty (1), and advocating for the proper care and treatment of land hermit crabs with the Land Hermit Crab Owners Society.
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