Yukon is a dog. But he thinks he’s a cat.
He’s the star and main character of a children’s book, Pretty Kitty, published in 2020.
Yukon helps his human, Heather P., bring smiles to children as he helps “read” his special story.
“Yukon and I have published a book and go to local, national, and worldwide schools (via Zoom) to help struggling readers find the love and spark for reading,” says Heather. “They find therapy in Yukon, and he has been such a pivotal catalyst for closing the reading gap.”
A Teacher’s Best Friend
Yukon and Heather have been best friends for a long time. Fifteen years ago, she adopted this sweet border collie from a rescue organization when he was just 8 weeks old. He is playful and energetic, and he loves everybody. “He has been such a delightful joy for 15 years and counting,” says Heather.
Heather is a long‑time kindergarten teacher who was diagnosed in 2016 with an incurable medical condition. Since then she has not been able to return to her regular daily routine. She lives on a fixed income and has struggled to pay for treatment and medications. “I suppose we can never know what may happen to us in our lives; each day brings new joys and challenges,” says Heather. “But I do value resiliency, and even if we are given situations that are less than ideal, I truly feel that we can still find purpose and value in our lives.” These challenging circumstances inspired Heather to write books to help children find joy in reading.
But in 2020, Heather had another setback when Yukon experienced sudden liver failure.
Luckily, Yukon’s vet was able to treat his disease, and he bounced back. “He recovered and is happy, hyper, and healthy again, thanks to the amazing work his vet did,” says Heather.
But keeping Yukon healthy is costly for Heather. “In order to stay his quirky, kitty self, Yukon must treat his liver on a daily basis using three medications that have a high monthly cost of $210,” she adds. And he needs to get routine blood work done each month.
Vouchers Help Keep Yukon Healthy and Working
Heather learned about One Health Organization Veterinary Care Vouchers from Valley Save‑a‑Pet, a nonprofit humane organization in Solon, Ohio. The staff encouraged her to apply for Vouchers to help cover the monthly cost of Yukon’s treatment.
“I am so happy to report that he is doing well on his medications, and he continues to spend time in classrooms, working with children who struggle with reading and spelling,” says Heather. “They just love him! He also just celebrated his birthday with ‘pupcakes’ in the park.”
Heather understands that 15 years is a long time for a dog to live, and she is mindful that their time together might be limited. “I have a heart for making sure that he stays happy, with a high quality of life, and I fully understand that when it is his time to pass over the rainbow bridge, he will let me know,” says Heather. In the meantime, he still hikes with Heather at least a mile a day, squeaks his toys, chomps his food, and plays enthusiastically.
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to make an appointment with Fox Veterinary Hospital in Elyria and use the Vouchers given to us by One Health Organization,” says Heather. “Thank you kindly for everything—for your time, mission, and consideration of Yukon’s case. To know there are big hearts out there to create an organization that enables pets to have the care they need is beyond‑words beautiful.”