“That’s basically how I would describe her — a real-life angel,” the red-headed young woman confided. “She gave me a sense of purpose.”
Courtney Thompson, the young woman who has over 15 autoimmune diseases and other physical conditions, was talking about a very special pit bull named Indigo.
Forced to stay home most of the time because of her multiple crippling conditions, Thompson turned to fostering dogs as a way to get involved and keep herself busy, as well as save lives.
Thompson’s conditions started presenting in high school, and ever since, she’s been fighting for her life. For six years, she fostered dogs, and then Indigo crossed her path.
At first, Indigo seemed like any other dog. Thompson had managed to foster without adopting for all the hundreds of pets that had come through her home, but Indigo was different.
A week after Thompson took the 5-month-old pup in, a routine vet check revealed a devastating condition. The otherwise healthy and happy dog was hiding a chronic condition.
She was diagnosed with “severe subaortic stenosis secondary to fibrous circumferential subvalvular ring,” as Thompson wrote on the GoFundMe page she started.
At first, the shelter thought the kindest thing to do for Indigo would be to put her down. Who would want a pit bull with expensive health issues? The prospects seemed slim.
But when Thompson begged to keep her, they agreed to let her adopt the dog herself.
“She has troubles with her heart, I have troubles with mine,” Thompson said. “She has heat intolerance, I have heat intolerance. She needs to know when to rest and when to take a break, and me too.”
When Thompson was worried the shelter might refuse her offer, she started to create a video montage that she hoped would sway them.
“I was videoing her like crazy because she’s just an angel,” she said. “And I made a video to show them, like, she’s a happy puppy. She’s not hurting, she has energy, like, she’s fine! She doesn’t need to be put to sleep.”
Fortunately she didn’t even need to use the video for its intended purpose, since staff were more than willing to let her claim the pup. She of all people knew what she was getting into.
“So it never got to the point where I had to show them the video,” Thompson said. “They said yes before then, thank God. If you met her, you wouldn’t know anything’s wrong with her, which is why I fought so hard to keep her alive because… same thing here.”
Indigo isn’t the only one who’s benefited from this arrangement. Thompson now understands what it means to have a dog as a best friend.
“When she came, I was getting full nights of sleep, which hasn’t happened in years. She gets me out of bed, not — not exactly out into the world but out of my bedroom and out of isolation.”
“Even on days when I’m not able to fully take care of myself, I’m always focused on giving her love, snuggling her, and making sure she’s happy,” she added. “So it’s kind of given me a distraction/sense of purpose.”
This story is an inspiration to all of us — sometimes a dog really is a girl’s best friend.
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