The tale of Melinda and Arlie is a story of what happens when someone opens their heart to creatures in need.
Melinda is an animal lover who has rescued dozens of pets, despite living on a limited income. She has worked in health care for humans and animals, and is aware of the dire situation faced by many pets in shelters.
“My heart breaks just reading the news,” says Melinda. “The shelters are full. They’re trying to get animals home. And the price of food makes it harder. People are surrendering their pets. They can’t afford to feed them.”
Arlie Gets a New Home
When she was a puppy, Arlie lived with Melinda’s son. But the pup struggled with health problems, and Melinda’s son told his mother he could no longer handle Arlie’s health needs.
That’s when Melinda took Arlie into her home and started pursuing all the avenues to treat her illness.
The bulldog weighed just 48 pounds, would get car sick, and had frequent bouts of diarrhea. “You could see all her hip bones, all her ribs,” says Melinda. Her son had spent thousands of dollars on various medications, including steroids and probiotics. “She was shedding like crazy.” She began calling around to clinics and specialists who told her that Arlie needed a very expensive colonoscopy. And there were no appointments available for months.
Thankfully, a different vet told Melinda he could do a less invasive procedure and that he suspected Arlie had ulcerative colitis. “It is rare, it can reoccur, and it can kill your animal,” says Melinda. “And I felt since she had suffered so long, she deserved a fighting chance.”
Much to the family’s relief, Arlie was able to find relief from an affordable medicine they purchased at Walmart.
“She took it for six months, and she’s doing wonderful,” says Melinda. “She pulled through, but it just threw off her whole system.”
With the new medicine, she gained weight and now weighs 90 pounds, almost double what she did when she moved in with Melinda and her husband.
And now she’s healthy enough to express her outgoing personality by making friends with every human and animal she encounters.
Now that she feels better, Arlie is an outgoing, all-weather dog. “She loves the rain, she loves the snow. She would slide down the driveway. She is just a nut. She’s just wonderful.”
Arlie has a big heart and seems to get along with every creature. “She’s the greatest dog,” says Melinda, naming all the animals that Arlie has befriended since coming to live with her. She plays with neighboring chickens, a rescue duck named Buckeye, and pet birds.
“When she first met the bird and the bird flew towards her, she jumped up on my husband's lap. She's literally sitting up on his lap like a big chicken. So for her to be such a big dog and so gentle with a little bird and a little kitten, she's just really wonderful.” says Melinda.
“When I got this kitten, she was as big as my hand. And she and Arlie are best friends. This kitten will lick Arlie’s ear. And Arlie’s head is bigger than the cat is right now. The cat snuggles up in her belly, and Arlie cleans her like it’s her baby.”
As you can imagine, keeping all these animals fed and healthy is costly. That’s why Melinda’s research brought her to One Health Organization.
Facing Financial Challenges
Like many people, Melinda faced money challenges during the pandemic. Her employment situation has been unstable, and her husband is a Gulf War veteran with multiple health issues, including diabetes and blindness.
When they adopted Arlie, Melinda knew they would need some assistance to help pay for the veterinary bills that were accumulating. She found One Health Organization in an internet search, and she was able to use Veterinary Care Vouchers to cover most of the costs of Arlie’s vet visit.
"I thank One Health for getting her shots, because God knows, we’ve been struggling,” says Melinda. “It’s been rough since Covid. I’m just worn out. I’m thankful for what I have, but it’s hard.”
Help Is Available
Melinda wants everyone to know that resources like One Health Organization are available to help struggling pet parents. “I read those stories about people and pets,” she says. “You want to go save them. People have given up their pets, and it’s not right.”
Now that Arlie is feeling better, Melinda can express her gratitude for the people and organizations who care enough to invest in the health of beloved pets like Arlie. “She pulled through,” says Melinda. “I hope it doesn’t come back because she’s the greatest dog.”