KINGSTON — When they first met Little Louie, the family of dog owners, rescuers and trainers at local non-profit Modified k9 saw the cuts and bruises.
Moreover, they saw a scared stray that had been in a tussle or two in the Tunkhannock woods near where he was found. Now, three weeks after the discovery of a cancerous mass on the 8-year-old pit bull, Louie is fighting a much different battle.
Only this time he’s not alone.
With the hopes of aiding treatment costs, Louie’s owner, Doreen Gilligan, and friends and organizers at Modified k9 took to washing cars and selling food, treats and raffle tickets Sunday at Firestone Tire in Kingston.
“I was amazed at how they planned and put everything together in a matter of just three weeks,” Gilligan said.
Eager to raise funds for Louie’s recovery — a figure Gilligan estimates to be in the thousands — Sunday’s event is just one way the organization works to impact the lives of dogs and their families.
“We do a lot with our outreach programs and really just try to help the community as much as we can,” Vice President Karen Olson-Sims said.
Olson-Sims added that the organization not only pairs dogs with adopting families, but also sends out therapy dogs to veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and children struggling to develop their literacy.
Ultimately, she said, the goal is to educate, rescue and support while rehabilitating dogs that were often abused and neglected. Those that come to Modified k9 spend time with foster families until they’re ready to be adopted.
“When a dog comes in as a stray or from a shelter it isn’t its true self,” Olson-Sims said. “So the foster families get to work with them and let them be themselves in a comforting, safe environment.”
An alumni of the rescue dog program, Louie just completed his third week of chemotherapy at Hope Veterinary Specialists in Malvern. The hope is the treatment will shrink the mass and give the family more time with him.
It’s nothing she wouldn’t do for any member of her family, Gilligan said.
“He’s my second child,” she said. “He’s a major, major part of my family.”
Even though Louie’s mass was spotted early enough to allow for treatment, Olson-Sims stressed the importance of regular canine health checkups.
“Canine cancer awareness is something that needs to be brought to the forefront,” she said. “If you see them not being themselves, just bring them to the vet.”
“There’s a huge rescue community here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and we all try to stick together,” Olson-Sims said.
Donations for Little Louie can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org or through www.modifiedk9.org.