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A single conversation with her veterinarian changed Marlo Manning’s life — and those of hundreds of fellow dog owners.
For Manning, that talk revealed a painful side effect of the recession: Some owners, when faced with veterinary costs that they can’t afford, surrender their pets to shelters, and even euthanize them.
Inspired to help prevent such painful separations, Manning launched Fairy Dogparents, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity staffed by volunteers that provides assistance to financially strapped dog owners in her home state of Massachusetts.
Since its founding, the organization has come to the aid of nearly 400 pups, contributing funds for veterinary bills, prescription drugs, food and other necessities.
“We try to create happy stories for people,” says Manning. “How in their darkest hour, someone whom they’ll never meet made it possible to help them when no one else would.”
In early 2009, Manning and her husband had to put down their rescue dog, Ladybug, after years of various illnesses. Through the grief process, the couple realized just how lucky they'd been to have kept Ladybug healthy and comfortable for as long as possible, thanks to medical checkups and treatments.
Since they had prescription food and medication left over, Manning asked her veterinarian about donating them to a family in need.
“Our vets were supportive, but they didn’t know what to do when I asked the question: ‘How can I help a dog that would otherwise not get care?’ ” recalls Manning, who also couldn’t find an existing organization that would help cover medical costs for struggling pet owners.
So in March 2009, in Ladybug’s honor, she founded Fairy Dogparents. “It was such a no-brainer for me,” she says. “The goal is to keep the dogs with their families.”
The vast majority of the charity’s funds come from individual donors, along with a few corporate gifts from companies like Petco. Volunteer fund-raising efforts, such as an upcoming calendar sale, also help fill the charity's coffers.
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