Deployments are part of military life; just ask Kery and her husband Lee. It's just part of standard procedure for this Navy family. Lee was not worried about leaving the beloved family dog, Mija, a nine-year-old shepherd mix behind, because his wife, Kery, was going to be there to take care of her.
Then, life got complicated, as life often does, when deployments occur. With a brand new baby, and some health problems, Kery had to go stay with her parents for the duration of Lee's deployment. Unfortunately, Kery's parents couldn't take in Mija.
Thankfully, Donna Magee had seen Dogs on Deployment do a televised reunion, and as a volunteer foster for her humane society, she saw an opportunity to get involved with DoD at the local level. On the website, Donna saw Kery and Lee's post looking for a boarder, and it was a perfect match.
With two other small dogs already ruling the roost, Mija fit right into Donna's dog-loving home. And, Mija's special needs were perfectly met: "I'm blessed that I'm allowed to bring her to my office with me. When my daughter is in school, Mija comes to work with me, so as not to be left alone," Donna says of Mija's separation anxiety.
Still, Donna's aid to Kery and Lee didn't stop with giving Mija a safe place to stay during his deployment. Donna noticed that Mija didn't seem to be feeling well, and took her to the vet.
"Mija was boarded over the 4th of July weekend," Donna explains of noticing Mija's condition. "When we brought her home, she was not eating well, becoming irritable, sleeping a lot, and not wanting to be touched." In a short span of time, Mija had lost over ten pounds, and had pronounced lumps in her neck.
At the vet, Mija was diagnosed with Stage IV-V Lymphoma, meaning that she had cancer present in all her lymph nodes. Additionally, she had an enlarged spleen and kidneys.
Mija's chemotherapy treatments are projected to cost upwards of $5,000, a cost that Kery and Lee are unable to afford. Lee recently lost his mother, and the thought of losing his beloved dog, while still deployed, was too difficult to imagine.
"My husband's heart was heavy, as he could not bear another loss of someone so precious to him, especially in such a short period of time — and while he was still deployed," Kery says of her husband.
When Dogs on Deployment heard of this, through Donna, fundraising began without hesitation, on Mija's behalf. A $1,500 donation was made, almost immediately.
"I burst into tears when I heard the news!" Kery exclaimed, upon hearing that the cost of treatment was already being defrayed. "And, you are continuing to fundraise on her behalf!"
Donna adds that friends have helped by purchasing chicken and rice to supplement Mija's diet when she is feeling too ill to eat her regular food. "She's put on a few pounds, but she's still a little too thin," she says.
While helping military families, and their pets is part of everyday life for Dogs on Deployment, Kery says, "Words cannot express the sincere gratitude our family has for the help your organization has given to our family, and to Mija. We truly appreciate this more than anything. A million 'thank you's' would never be enough! The work that you do is so commendable, amazing, and so selfless. Your organization has touched our lives in a way that we could never repay! Thank you for your kindness and what you do for us and for our fellow military families and their dogs."
Thanks to the generous support from donations, Mija is on her way to recovery. If you are interested in continuing to support Mija, please visit the Donations Section of our website, and select "Save Mija" from the pull down menu.