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May 31, 2022

Burn Survivor camp

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Written by: 0628vyed52

As if the launching of our Canine Therapy and Training Program weren’t enough excitement, we also managed to sneak in on of the most rewarding, all-around-altruistic days in the history of Marley’s Mutts. With your help, a little more than a year ago, we were able to save the lives of two puppies that were tragically burned in a structure fire. With the Help of Dr. Bonnie Werner, Dr. A Richard Grossman and countless others, A TRUE MIRACLE took place! The miracle of Phoenix and Natty did not stop at their salvation, it has evolved and taken a new form. Phoenix and Natty are giving back by providing therapy, love and their own story of survival to kids who know exactly what its like to suffer like they did and to be saved by Dr. Grossman, like they were. Over Memorial Day Weekend, we had the incredible honor of being special guests at the Burn Survivor Family Camp at Lake Hughes. What an awkward title- to be a “special guest” at a Camp filled with 5 or 6 dozen kids whom possess more fortitude and have demonstrated more heroics then I can even fathom. I ate up every second of that experience with a life-size spoon!! Laura and Preston were there also to lend their expertise and provide countless giggles and “aaaawwweee”s then can be counted. We climbed rock wall, took “leaps of faith” off of telephone poles, made tie-dyed shirts, weaved key chains and brackets, and laughed and loved enough to fill my tank for the year. We were there to tell the kids about Natty and Phe Phe’s journey and to act as role-models, I suppose; but I couldn’t help but be in awe of these kids to the point of being star-struck. I watched, like a proud father, as Phoenix (her scars very visible, yet completely healed) warmed up to those kids like only she could. Several of the kids would study Phoenix like an abstract painting that didn’t make sense, feel her scars like they were reading brail, look up at me and, with a coy smile on their face, solemnly ask “was she burned too?”. When I answered in the affirmative the immediate follow up question was “is she ok?” followed by a look of complete acceptance, admiration and love. The inestimable combo of Elaine Rojas and Cathy Butter made us feel like champions- loved, welcome, completely accepted and appreciated CHAMPS! Those of us that went through Phoenix and Natalia’s experience, including the loss of pups that we weren’t able to save, are forever bonded and I feel them to be family. I remember making a deal with God back then, when I had just taken in Natty, Phe Phe and their two departed sisters. The deal went something like this: “God, please help me to possess the fortitude to see help these girls with everything that I have and nothing less; please don’t allow me to get complacent and crumble under the fear; please, God, they have made it this far without our help- they deserve to live- please help me help them to live. God, I promise to never complain about my life situation or my trivial struggles if you would please grant me and the girls this one, desperate request!” Well, God came through and I obviously floundered my end of the bargain! Perhaps I still have room to work when it comes to acceptance and complaining but I hope to always remember the utter despair that we felt for our girls and the all-encompassing gratitude that we felt when our prayers were answered.



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