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A Dog For Shelby

At Tenaciously Teal we understand that this world can be cruel. We hear heartbreaking stories every day and each one reaffirms our commitment to spreading God’s light through the support and encouragement of cancer fighters.  There are some stories, however, that can overwhelm even the most seasoned of hearts. That is where Shelby’s story began, but through God’s provision, it is not where it ends.

Joann, the grandmother and legal guardian to Shelby Shuffitt, was recently placed on Hospice at the end of her valiant fight with Lung Cancer. It’s almost too much for a family to bare to have one person fighting such an awful disease, however, Shelby herself was diagnosed with Leukemia just a few months ago at twelve years of age. Two cancer fighters, grandmother and granddaughter, but really mother and daughter, both fighting through the devastating effects of cancer and its treatment.  Just the thought is overwhelming, but the plight of this family increased when tragedy struck on November 23rd. Shelby had obtained a dog from a local shelter who was her constant companion and very much a part of her emotional therapy.  As any good dog would do, he alerted the family to an illegal hunter on their property near their home in Wagoner, OK.  In the process, the dog scared away the deer and as punishment, received an arrow in the head by the hunter.

This picture and story is hard to think about, wrestle with, and even imagine, but thankfully there are people out there with big hearts who have answered the call to help. Last year T. Teal’s Board of Directors created an official Board Designated Fund to fulfill the specific needs of cancer fighters in Oklahoma not met by other organizations. T. Teal received a request for a new therapy dog from Shelby via our Board Designated Fund application process.

As a small nonprofit, the T. Teal board hoped to help Shelby and her family as much as possible, but possible changed when we received a call from Jason Smith of Texas. Jason had coincidentally ran across Shelby’s story on his news feed and tracked down our organization.

On the spot, Jason generously committed $2,500 to not only help Shelby get a new therapy dog, but also further bless this family with much needed financial support! Thanks to Jason’s kindness, Shelby was able to pick out a dog she loved, who will receive therapy dog training by Glad Wags Service Dogs.  In addition, Shelby and her family received over $1,000 in Gas and Grocery assistance to help with expenses related to their two hour weekly commute to the Children’s Hospital in Tulsa.

You may be wondering who this Jason Smith is. Well you can look for him on the hunting show Texas Trophy Hunters TV on The Outdoor Channel where he has been working on numerous televised bow hunts. Furthermore, Jason is a God fearing man, father, husband, son, brother, business man and avid bow hunter and outdoorsman. Oh and he is a big fan of dogs and family pets. Jason’s father is a cancer survivor, so he knows firsthand how important prayers, support and help can be during such a tough time.

A bow hunter may have caused sadness and despair that day in November, but it was also a bow hunter who stepped up to support a family in desperate need of love and a helping hand.

(Pic above of Shelby and her soon to be officially certified Therapy Dog, Sterling. Named after Sterling Shepard of the NY Giants and former University of Oklahoma wide receiver).

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