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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Young Boy Receives Puppy for Birthday from Late Father Who Planned Surprise Before He Passed Away

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When we’re faced with the impending loss of a loved one, many of us are too grief-stricken to plan much beyond the passing of that person. Some are able to pull themselves together to help their dying friend or family member accomplish some last goal, but it’s surprising when it’s the person passing away who plans something for those they’re leaving behind.

Joe Kavaluskis of Hudsonville, Michigan, knew his time was coming to an end. A husband to Melanie and father to two boys — Ryan and Logan — Joe had been battling cancer for nearly a decade.

“It was almost 8 years ago, when we received the horrible news about Joe’s cancer,” his wife, Melanie, wrote for a GoFundMe page a friend set up for them. “He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, similar to leukemia or lymphoma.”

“That first year, we battled with chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant. That bought us almost 3 years of good health…this type of cancer really never achieves remission, but we were as close to that as possible.

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“However, over the last few years, the battle has been a literal roller coaster. When his cancer levels went up, he would battle them back down with chemotherapy. Up and down, for 3 years. During the last two years, Joe has not felt consistently well enough to work. The constant medicine therapies take a toll on the body.

“We have struggled with financial burdens for at least 2 years, digging our hole deeper and deeper as time goes on. We are reaching a time where the medicines are not working good enough. We have to undergo another stem cell transplant and we pray for that to be a success. Please pray for direction, comfort, strength and a healing miracle.”

Sadly, Joe passed away in January, five days before his younger son Logan’s birthday. But before he died, he made sure to set up an extra-special birthday surprise for his son — and by extension, his whole family.

Now 13, Logan had always wanted a dog but was never able to have one because Joe was allergic to them. So, according to the U.K. Daily Mail, under the pretense of their cousin Jon getting a puppy, the family went to go look at some Boston terrier/French bulldog crosses.

The resulting video is tear-inducing. Jon, sitting in the passenger’s seat, hands an adorable brindle-and-white pup back to Logan, who was sitting in the back seat.

“That’s from your dad,” Jon says. “That’s your dog.”

Logan looks up, shocked, and all he can manage before crying is to ask “Really?”

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“I swear to God,” Jon says. “Your dad wanted you to have a puppy.”

“I think it’s probably the best gift I’ve ever gotten from my dad,” Logan, who named the 12-week-old puppy “Indie,” told WXMI.

The pup has been having a positive effect on the whole family — which is probably precisely what Joe intended.

“So much love, and comfort and distraction, because we can’t sit still,” Melanie agreed. Video shows the family playing with the cute puppy — and while they will continue to mourn the loss of their father and husband, the puppy was a thoughtful last gesture on Joe’s part.

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking