top of page


Dakota is our 1st rescue fur baby! 10 years ago, when I (Tara) traveled to my hometown in North Dakota for my bridal shower, Dakota appeared at our house in Grapevine, TX. She was found under a relative’s vehicle when they went to leave. An older neighbor from next door was trying to coax her out from under the car with a piece of cheese. My husband was able to get her to come out from under the car. She was introduced to our elder Pit Bull at the time and they were accepting of one another and she was brought into the house & cared for! My husband called me and told me this story and I said to keep her until I got home in a couple days. When I got home, we searched for owners, but no one claimed or was missing a puppy that we could find. We took her to the vet and she was not microchipped and she did have visual abandonment signs & medical conditions (ex. ear mites, etc.). We got her back to healthy and we decided to keep her as our own! Dakota is my first self-owned dog/fur baby! She means the world to me/us! She has been there with me by my side since the year after I moved across the country from ND to TX. She’s been there with us through all of the ups and downs and all of our life’s firsts. And we have been there for all of her life’s firsts! She is a very loyal pet companion! I cannot imagine our lives without her as a part of our family! We love her with all of our hearts!

We had our first Oncology apt with Dakota and via x-rays & lab work confirmed there was a 5cm mass on her right thyroid and this would need to be surgically removed and then sent in for biopsy. My/our hearts broke hearing of this cancer news with our fur baby. One then thinks what could have been done to prevent this in our sweet fur baby, but there unfortunately is no answer (especially since she was already on thyroid medication and it is not as common to see a thyroid tumor while thyroid monitoring). I was very nervous for Dakota’s surgery given the delicate neck area, but knew she was in good-professional hands of our Surgeon Dr. Radasch. Dakota had surgery on May 18, 2023 for the thyroid tumor removal. The surgery thankfully went good and as expected. Dakota is now home recovering and is doing so well. She bounced back from surgery way better than I was expecting! 

The phrase “when it rains it pours” describes best our families past month’s life’s events & financial obligations right now. So, while setting up Dakota’s surgery, I talked to the VCA staff and inquired about any financial assistance options for Dakota’s surgery. To my surprise, VCA staff referred me to the Dogslife website & the grant application. Upon visiting Dogslife website, I felt an instant connection to the cause and past recipient’s stories. I thought this was a long shot though as I did not know much about the process length. I submitted the application on May 5th and Dakota’s surgery was scheduled for May 18th. I was so happy when I heard back from Dogslife 4 days later saying our application was in the review process! I honestly had no idea what to expect, but knew any financial help right now would be so greatly appreciated. We are so incredibly thankful and blessed to have been chosen as a recipient for the Dogslife grant for Dakota. This grant covered the bulk cost of her surgery and all of her surgical post care recovery in the Oncology unit. We cannot thank Dogslife and the financial donators to this wonderful organization enough for your generosity to us and our fur baby Dakota! We will be forever grateful!


-Tara Spinelli (May 2023)

bottom of page