A Therapy Dog for Sweet Sally Sunshine

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Sally is my sweet, tough and amazing 5-year-old niece. We are trying to secure a trained therapy dog for her.

At the age of 10 months, Sally was diagnosed with a rare form of infant Leukemia. As a result, she underwent two years of intense chemotherapy at Memorial Sloan-Kettering, a Hospital in NYC. During that span, she received nutrition through a feeding tube, suffered severe GI issues, fractured her legs three times and battled chemo-induced seizures. Miraculously, she made it through treatment, successfully.

However, saving Sally’s life from cancer came at a price. She now suffers from refractory epilepsy, she is on oxygen support 24/7, she still receives much of her nutrition through a feeding tube and she has significant mental/physical developmental delays. Sally continues to see medical professionals at four area hospitals and is occasionally admitted due to her various health issues.

Sally’s parents and medical team feel a therapy dog would benefit her well-being greatly, with potential to assist her Mom and Dad with identifying and assisting with Sally’s daily seizures. Her big brothers currently visit a therapy dog at school for their own challenges and anxiety. This has done wonders for them, we believe having a therapy dog at home would benefit Thomas and William too.

The family is extremely limited in the dog they can adopt. They’ll be first time pet owners, Sally’s brother is allergic, they live in a Brooklyn apartment with numerous medical supplies and machines, they have an unpredictable life due to Sally’s challenges and are often away from home between work, school and medical appointments.The family has discussed the pros and cons of several dog breeds, but have finally settled on one breed, a Goldendoodle (Golden Retriever, Poodle Mix). They feel that this breed of dog will enhance the well being of all family members.

A properly trained dog is vital to successfully being incorporated into Sally’s life and meeting her and her family’s needs. The training is both extensive and expensive, running between $10,000-15,000 per dog. This money has to be covered by the family alone.

I feel strongly that this would greatly benefit not only Sally, but the whole Kabel family, who continue to endure so much. Please consider a donation towards a therapy dog for them, no amount is too little, and is greatly appreciated.

Sarah Kabel McCafferty

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