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I received Irving as an almost 1 year old puppy in the service dog training program at my high school. We spent nearly a year side by side every day, going to class, football games, and other life events, including my high school graduation (with his own miniature stole)! A few months after I graduated, he was career changed, meaning he was not quite cut out for the service dog life, but could be a wonderful pet. I then started my undergraduate degree, where we hang out during long study nights and he mentored younger service dogs in training.I knew now that I was officially an adult, I wanted to be responsible about pet ownership, so I started to do research into pet insurance. I enrolled both of my dogs, but at the screening appointment to start coverage Irving’s original tumor was discovered, making it a pre-existing condition and therefore not eligible to be covered by pet insurance. I was working during my undergraduate degree and was able to cover his 1st surgery, hoping that that would be the last we would see of his cancer. Unfortunately, a couple years later, I felt his scar from his previous surgery start to “thicken”, and sure enough the cancer had started to grow back. By this point, I had started medical school, so funds were tight, but I was able to pull together enough for another tumor removal surgery, only to find out that it

had grown deeper than expected, making him a candidate for radiation therapy to truly get rid of all his cancer.

On a medical-student budget this would not have been possible to pay by myself, but to my surprise there are organizations willing to help with vet care bills! I applied to multiple, and when I explained what I was doing at the vets’ office, they recommended Dogslife, and so I applied here as well. They were able to cover part of his bill and make it possible for him to get the care he needs to live the rest of his years happy and healthy! With the help of Dogslife, I look forward to many more years with my buddy by my side.

Jessica Loucks (March 2024)

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