Saving a dog, no matter the health or age is always an act of love. This couple personifies that act.
Falling in love with an animal is easy, and often entirely unexpected. You walk into a room, stare into a pair of big brown eyes, and that’s all there is to it: a sudden and powerful love that lasts a lifetime. That very thing happened to Bruce and Nancy Palmer when they met Maddy, a former puppy mill dog who came to Best Friends recently through the Pup My Ride program. “I was pretty much smitten from the first time I saw her,” says Bruce.
They were certainly interested in adopting. When they learned Maddy had a history of cancer, however, Bruce explains that he and Nancy experienced at least a moment’s hesitation. Already 9 years old, Maddy (formerly Teva) had a cancerous lump that vets removed at the Sanctuary. The medical team at Best Friends explained that Maddy could have four months or several years left. It was impossible to know. In the end, Maddy’s health history didn’t sway Bruce and Nancy for long. They decided to adopt.
“If she’s going to have four months, she’s going to have a good four months with us,” says Bruce. “She’s going to have the best life she can have with us.” Besides, Bruce and Nancy remain optimistic she’ll be with them a lot longer than four months. As it turns out, Nancy and Bruce have gone through this before with another Best Friends animal.
In June of 2009, they adopted Niles the cat from Best Friends. They’d met and fallen in love with him while volunteering at the Sanctuary. Bruce and Nancy volunteer several times each year. When they adopted him, Niles had a clean bill of health. Nearly a year later, though, he developed lymphoma in the stomach and required surgery.
Bruce and Nancy never hesitate to do anything they can for their animals. With Niles, they consulted with a specialty vet in Phoenix, who put Niles on a course of treatment that included surgery and radiation. For quite a while, Niles’ health was Nancy and Bruce’s top priority. All the TLC paid off. Niles is now cancer-free and doing great. “Niles is just Mister Personality,” says Bruce. “Nothing seems to phase him.”
In fact, Niles got to feeling so much better that Bruce and Nancy felt they had room for another animal in the family. As it turns out, this was Maddy’s lucky day.
Bruce and Nancy brought their dog Kody, a 9-year-old they’d adopted from a golden retriever rescue, to meet any possible new pals at Best Friends. Maddy got along perfectly with Kody. Nancy and Bruce knew in their hearts that they wanted to adopt this gentle spirit, no matter her health history. They haven’t looked back since.
Maddy snoozes with her best friends.
“With Maddy, the day she got to our house it was like she’d been there forever,” says Bruce. That included making fast friends with the two cats in the house, Niles and Lucy. Kody prefers to ignore the cats, but with Maddy, that just won’t fly. She loves the cats! Sometimes she even startles them accidentally when they’re snoozing on the bed and she leaps up for an impromptu snuggle session. They’re not used to having a dog around who wants to hang out so often.
Maddy loves exploring every inch of her new 5-acre yard, yet even then she prefers doing so right next to Bruce as they walk together. She adores playing fetch and would probably chase tennis balls for hours at a stretch if given the chance. In other words, this former puppy mill dog is having the time of her life in the home she’s always deserved.
“None of us know how much time we have,” points out Bruce. “Every day is this incredible gift.”
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