Jordan lives with two rare disorders: Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) and Ehlers Danlos Syndrome (EDS). In EoE, his body mistakes proteins found in foods for parasites and starts an immune response to fight off what it thinks is a foreign invader. EDS is a connective tissue disorder. Connective tissue is what holds all of our insides in place. In his condition, the connective tissue is too stretchy. This has resulted in one of his kidneys not being in the correct place and therefore not working at all, leaving the other kidney to do the work of both. It also has affected his heart.
That previous paragraph can be boiled down into one statement: Jordan lives with two rare disorders that cause him daily pain and fatigue. His quality of life was dwindling as he tried to cope with the limitations that his illnesses had placed on him as well as deal with missing out on life.
In February 2013, we went to a large pet adoption event. There were numerous rescue agencies there. We really were just going as a way to lift Jordan's spirits and have a fun day out. We had no intention on bringing home a new animal....until we saw Pepper.
I can truly say that it was love at first sight. Something in Pepper's eyes spoke to both of us. As she lay sweetly in her crate, my heartstrings were being pulled. BUT, trying to be rational I walked away. After all, I am a single mom to a medically fragile child. My plate is full. We couldn't handle a dog. And so we left with a business card to the Stray Animal Adoption Program (SAAP) so that we could contact them in the future should we ever be ready to welcome a dog in our lives. That night, I couldn't stop thinking about her. I was so worried about what would become of her. Would she end up in a good home? Would she be loved? The next morning, I reached out to the rescue agency to see if she had been adopted. To my dismay, I was told that she had indeed been adopted. We were given words of encouragement...told that she wasn't meant to be ours. The right dog would come along. Crestfallen, I began the process of accepting that despite my hopes she would not become a part of our family.
A second chance...Two days later I was contacted by SAAP. Pepper had been returned and they wanted to know if we were still interested in adopting her. Determined not to let her slip through my fingers again, I said yes and on February 16th, 2013, she became ours.
Who rescued who?... We later discovered that we were the 5th family to take Pepper into our home. When we got her here, we quickly realized why that was. She was a little stubborn and had in her mind how things should be. She also struggled with boundaries around other dogs...she wanted to play but came on too strong for most other dogs. But, after some time with us and some intensive training at Unleashed Canine Obedience she has blossomed into the sweet and loving dog we always knew she could be. In exchange, in the year that we've had her, she has been a source of comfort and unconditional acceptance for my son that struggles with both the physical and psychological challenges of his medical conditions. She seems to know when he is not feeling well and will lay with him providing the extra love and attention he needs. She truly has changed our worlds and made our lives better. We can't imagine our family without her in it. As we approach the first anniversary of our "Gotcha Date", I find myself marveling at how far we've all come. We've all learned so much about the meaning of unconditional love and acceptance. We look forward to the years ahead and are forever grateful to the Stray Animal Adoption Program for not only saving her, but for never giving up on helping her find the family she was meant to be with. Our family.
Stray Animal Adoption Program website is www.adoptastray.com The Unleashed Canine Obedience training that I mentioned website is www.unleashedcanineobedience.com