Since the day she took her beloved Gracie home, Cheryl Tankersley has not missed an opportunity to tell the world how the Richmond SPCA brought them together. So in October when the Petco Foundation requested that pet lovers around the country submit their stories about how adopting a pet changed their lives, Cheryl was immediately eager to tell her story. She entered the Holiday Wishes grant campaign on behalf of the Richmond SPCA in hopes of winning a grant from the Petco Foundation to support our lifesaving programs and services.
Today the Petco Foundation in partnership with Halo Pets announced the winners of its holiday grant campaign, Holiday Wishes. There were 3,030 stories submitted, and the story Cheryl submitted, "Amazing Gracie," was one of the 53 selected for grant prize awards. The Richmond SPCA was named as a grant recipient at the $10,000 level!
This grant will help us save more precious lives like that of the magnificent dog who inspired this prize. Now, in Cheryl's own words, here's Gracie's story:
Every soul comes packaged with unique and undiscovered gifts
In 2012, I began working with women with cancer. Chemotherapy can cause hair loss and for a woman, this can be very devastating. Being a hairdresser by trade, I began to fit women for their wigs as a way of bringing normalcy back into their lives. In 2012, I realized that I could do more, and I became a volunteer with Hospice.
On a routine visit to Hospice, I witnessed the amazing healing power an animal can bring to those who are hurting. Thus began my journey to find a special canine companion who would share in my calling of bringing comfort to those with cancer and hair loss.
In March 2015, I contacted the Richmond SPCA and spoke with Carly Sgueo, Senior Manager of Shelter Operations, asking her for assistance in finding me a therapy dog.
"The dog needs to be small, able to cuddle on a hospital bed with those who are fragile, have a calm temperament and more importantly, must have a loving and compassionate heart." Ms. Sgueo graciously accepted the challenge to find me a canine companion who could partner with me to help others.
Within two weeks, I received a call from Carly. "Ms. Tankersley, I have a very special friend here that I think will be perfect for you. She needs to be spayed, so she will be ready in a week for you to meet.
During her surgery, several mammary masses were discovered on our princess, and so we waited another two weeks. We anxiously awaited news to hear that clear margins were present and she was healthy and ready for a forever home.
April 24.... Oh Happy Day! Our sweet angel was officially adoptable!
"Gracie.. her name will be Gracie." 'Free and unmerited favor of God who bestows blessings.' Yes, that is our Gracie! Gracie came out of a horrendous living condition. She knew neglect, hunger, sickness and pain, yet her eyes screamed of such compassion.
As soon as we welcomed Gracie into our home, we discovered the amazing gifts she had been given. Gracie accompanies me to the salon every day where you will find her sitting on laps and giving comfort as I shave a woman's head. She cuddles them and licks their tears. She brings comfort to hurting hearts. She has such a calming nature which brings peace into any situation. She is a celebrity at the Hospice Center and is a true blessing to everyone she meets.
Gracie's gifts are a true treasure that has taught me unconditional love and true compassion. After an emotional day of working with those who are terminally ill, my Gracie is a healing balm to my soul. Gracie has confirmed that my call is to work with those that are terminally ill, and you will find her daily by my side serving others.
Tabitha Frizzell Treloar is the director of communications for the Richmond SPCA. To read her biography or that of our other bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires both your first and last name to be used as your screen name.