UPDATE 9/20/14 – Ava has been ADOPTED!!
Make A Wish Come True!
I am writing this with tears in my eyes and a broken heart. One of our best volunteers, Leona – 58 years old, vibrant, and beautiful — has received the devastating diagnosis of ovarian cancer which has spread.
Leona (along with her husband Keith and son Chris) has volunteered at our shelter for over two years, traveling all the way from Jonestown, PA to Pottsville at least four times a week to walk our many “special needs” dogs.
3 year old, house-trained, spayed, pit bull mix, Ava who has been with us at the Hillside for over 2 years is one of those “special needs” dogs that has found a special place in Leona’s heart. Ava needs a home without other dogs or young children. But Ava loves people, and she especially adores Leona and her family.
Devoted and affectionate Ava returns the love she receives two-fold. Ava loves car rides and Leona takes her for hamburgers. Since Leona came into her life, Ava has been the happiest I’ve ever seen her. Ava knows when Leona is even approaching our parking lot and howls with excitement to be with her. Ava has the capacity to love someone unconditionally – if just given the chance.
Leona’s devotion to the animals here in our shelter is tremendous, and especially to Ava. It is a beautiful moment seeing them together and witnessing the happiness they find in each other. Leona is now fighting a tremendous battle and is going to undergo chemotherapy and major surgery – without any promise of the outcome. But she is courageous and wants to continue on for her family, Ava, and all her buddies here at Hillside.
Not only concerned and worried for what she will personally face and what her family will have to endure, Leona is afraid she may no longer be physically able to come see her beloved Ava.
Leona has a very special wish – it is not to visit Disney World, or take a cruise, or go sky-diving. Leona just wants to see Ava get a good, loving home – to know Ava is cared for and loved – before Leona’s personal nightmares begin. Leona is even going to cover Ava’s adoption fees for her new “parent(s)”!
And so, I’m begging, not simply asking, for someone to make Leona’s dream come true NOW, so no matter what happens, Leona will know and be able to see that Ava got her second chance at life. Leona has given so much of herself for animals, I will do everything in my power to see that her wish for Ava to find a forever home before something happens to Leona is granted.
There is no way for me to explain to Ava that her “mommy” is sick and might not be here to love her. I will just have to watch her face as she patiently waits for Leona to come, and that is unbearable for me and our staff. I cannot imagine looking at Ava’s face waiting to be loved like Leona loves her, and I can’t imagine not seeing Leona have her dream come true. They both so deserve it. Please, if you have room in your heart and home for Ava, won’t you make Leona’s wish come true and make a miraculous and glorious moment happen now for both Leona and Ava to cherish?
~ Barbara Umlauf, Manager