MILTON — When Jennifer Harp-Hoyt rescued a young, abandoned dog diagnosed with a severe case of parvovirus, she didn’t expect to get such an outpouring of help and support from the community.
On March 22, Jennifer came across a small dachshund puppy on a Facebook site. The post said the dog was found dumped on the side of the road, and the person who found her couldn’t care for her. So Jennifer stepped in.
When she went to meet the dog, she fell in love.
“I saw (her) sweet and sad eyes. I felt this overwhelming need to help her. I couldn’t walk away from her,” Jennifer said. “I thought, ‘This little pup deserves a chance.’”
Jennifer — a lifetime animal lover — said even if the puppy was too sick to save, she at least deserved to die in a warm and safe environment, and not alone and afraid.
“On the morning I picked her up, I didn’t really have a plan beyond getting her to the vet, but I knew I’d figure something out,” Jennifer said.
She took the dog to Milton Animal Hospital, and there named her Penny. The veterinarian estimated Penny was approximately four months old, weighed almost seven pounds and had severe parvo. The treatment would cost nearly $1,000 or more.
“When I received the initial estimate for treatment from Milton Animal Hospital, I admit it was a big pill to swallow,” Jennifer said. “I immediately began thinking of different resources I could call upon. I was determined to do everything possible to give Penny the chance she deserved.”
Jennifer said she received support and kindness from the staff at Milton Animal Hospital. She paid up front for 24 hours of parvo treatment, but once she started a GoFundMe page, the donations started pouring in. Some even donated directly to the clinic.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better team to care for Penny,” Jennifer said. “Our pets have been with Milton Animal Hospital since 2014. Dr. Husted, Dr. Loring and the staff at Milton Animal Hospital are top notch and I wouldn’t trust my pets with anyone else.”
Within five days, Jennifer reached more than half of her goal of $846.
“I was very overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of support from my friends and family,” Jennifer said. “The support started flowing in from all over the U.S., and Penny’s story was spreading like wildfire.”
Jennifer plans on keeping Penny until she is completely healthy. According to Jennifer’s latest update, the GoFundMe campaign closed on Friday since Penny is progressing quickly. She thanked everyone who donated for all of their support.
“A few friends have already reached out, wanting to give her a forever home," Jennifer said. “As much as I would love to keep her, I have to do what’s best for her. In the meantime, we are just focusing on getting her well and giving her all the love and cuddles she deserves.
“It truly takes a village, and I am so proud of and humbled by mine.”
Canine parvovirus is a highly contagious viral disease that attacks a dog’s blood cells and most severely affects the intestinal tract. The virus can produce a life-threatening illness.
“I hope Penny’s story inspires others,” Jennifer said. "I hope it helps educate others about the dangers and seriousness of parvovirus and how vaccinations are so important for our pets, but also that in some cases it can be treated.”