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For Luna, My Heart Dog

June 7, 2017

By Marissa McAleer, Phinney’s Communications Manager

Little Luna picked me. It’s a saying we’ve all heard time and time again, perhaps trite even. In my case, it was literally true.

I am the only person that she’s ever come up to willingly, and it happened within moments of meeting her. She even allowed me to pet her. She never feared me. She has never been anxious around me. Coming from a dog that is suspicious of everyone and everything (her nick name is “The Sheriff”), that’s saying something.


Oh, hey there Littlest Luna!

At that first meeting, she came right up to me as if to say, “I know you and I are meant to be friends. If you’ve got a can of wet food, a warm bed and a tennis ball, how about you and me make this thing permanent, huh?”

And so we did. To me she has never shown anything but trust, love and loyalty. It took her a while to warm up to my husband, going so far as to growl at him as he tried to enter the bedroom while I was taking a nap. (She’s very protective of me!) But with a little time, patience and understanding, they became best of friends.

I love my three dogs. But Luna is my best friend, while the other two would gladly trade me in for a slice of roast beef and a belly rub. Luna is my soul mate in canine form. She is the embodiment of a “heart dog”.

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Little Luna, surrounded by hound dogs – Bluebell aka Bluey McGee in the center, and Mercy Lou on the right – focused and waiting for nom noms!

That’s why my heart broke when the growth on her paw we thought was a wart was actually diagnosed as skin cancer. But I was committed to doing whatever necessary to get her the treatment she needed.

She had blood work, x-rays, surgery to have the growth removed and an oncologist visit. We gave her the medication she needed. We provided her with supplements and nutritional support, and lots and lots of love. Long story short, the cancer was low grade and the surgeon was able to remove the entire thing. (Shout-out to Dr. Lampman and the entire staff at VESH in Brentwood, NH!) The wonderful oncologist we saw at NEVOG in Waltham, MA, confirmed that she has recovered fully. In all honestly, I’m afraid to say we are out of the woods aloud, as I am a bit superstitious. But Little Luna is helping me learn to live more in the moment.


We’re not spoiled. We swear.

After focusing on how blessed we are that Little Luna is okay, I reflected on how lucky we were to be able to pay for everything she needed. And then I thought of Phinney’s Friends.

I’ve been volunteering with Phinney’s for over three years, working primarily on our newsletter, webpage, blog and social media. What drew me to Phinney’s was its mission of helping low-income people take care of their pets. Our biggest expense by far is vet bills.

While I have always supported Phinney’s mission, never before did it hit so close to home. When I received the bills for Little Luna’s treatments, I thought how terrible it would have been if she had to be denied what she needed because we couldn’t afford it.

What an honor it is to be part of an organization that steps up to the plate in times of crisis, helping both pets and people in need. We’ve recently had to temporarily suspend programs because we are running low on funds. This is truly heartbreaking. I think of all the Little Lunas out there who need vet treatment to continue living happy, healthy lives with their human companions. Every dollar, every item off our Amazon Wish List, every purchase made through Amazon Smile assists us in helping save the lives of animals and heal the hearts of their human companions.

As for Little Luna, she was mad at me for a hot minute about the cone of shame, but is over it now. She’s back to her usual self, chasing chipmunks and guarding the house from serious dangers like deer, bumble bees and delivery truck drivers. We celebrated the end of this ordeal with a fun trip to the dog park. We counted our blessings. Then we made a wish that Phinney’s Friends will always be around.


Best friends forever!

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Starr Maxwell permalink
    June 7, 2017 6:12 pm

    Beautiful way to share a scary time with Luna. I am so glad she is well now. Phinney’s really cares about keeping well loved pets alive and well with their humans. Vet bills can easily force many good owners into difficult decisions.

  2. June 7, 2017 9:11 pm

    I shudder to think how much we have spent on medical bills for our four legged kids over the years. Definitely more than our own medical care, that is for sure. However, it is worth every penny (or dollar. LOL) I am so glad that Luna is on the mend. There is no better connection than that of a heart dog. I miss mine every single day.

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