I just read about this wonderful org. maybe Mark can mention it.KINGSTON – Ladybug was an old dog with lots of problems. Her missing teeth and bad breath were just the tip of the iceberg. Ladybug also had chronic kidney disease, vestibular disease, often known as “old dog disease,” a heart murmur, and cataracts in both eyes.
But none of her problems stopped Kingston residents Marlo Manning and her husband, Ed Foley, from adopting Ladybug from the Kingston Animal Shelter.
“It was really said,” Manning remembered. “She had a pill tray Monday through Sunday. We’re not rich, but we could afford her medical bills and prescription food.”
The vestibular disease gave their “Buggy Girl” vertigo for up to two weeks at a time. She also suffered from “doggie dementia” and would lose track of where she was and then panic. It wasn’t all bad though, Manning said.
“She was a wonderful girl. She was advertised as 8-years-old when we adopted her, but our vet said she was more like 10, but that didn’t matter anyway. She loved to go to the beach but hated the water. She liked to go for long walks and sniff her way around. She wasn’t much for other dogs – a bit jealous – and she pined for us all the time. She would sigh or whine when she was disappointed. She loved to sleep and was desperate for us to be in the same room with her.”
When Manning found a lump on the old dog in January she took her to the vet once again.
“He said her kidney disease was still at bay, but that she had cancer,” Manning said. “Within a week, she was gone.”
Ladybug died Jan. 31, Manning and her husband were devastated. It still brings tears to her eyes to talk about it.
“I hate that it’s true,” she said.
The day Manning went to the vet to pick up Ladybug’s ashes she asked the vet a question that weighed on her mind. “Are there any families that you know of that need help supporting their dogs?”
The vet couldn’t think of any off hand. The office only asks for donations when a family can’t afford treatment.
In the car on the way home, Manning held Ladybugs ashes and read a story on the front page of a local newspaper about the MSPCA closing its Brockton facilities at a time when more people are giving up their dogs because of the economy.
“I said to my husband, we need to do something,” Manning recalled.
She thought about it for a few days and decided to honor Ladybug’s memory by helping to make it possible for other dogs to stay with their families in tough economic times.
And Fairy Dogparents was born.
Around the country, record numbers of dogs and cats are being given up by their owners. Fifty-six percent of dogs and 71 percent of cats that enter animal shelters are euthanized, according to the American Humane Society. Only a quarter of dogs that end up in shelters are adopted, less than a quarter of cats find new homes.
Fairy Dogparents isn’t a shelter, or a rescue organization. Its mission is to keep dogs, and cats, with their families, and help owners who have lost their jobs or are battling an illness or find themselves facing some other difficult situation, keep their pets.
“We’re focused on preventing people from making those decisions,” Manning said.
Fairy Dogparents, which is going through the process to become a nonprofit organization, will buy dog food and flea collars, pay vet bills, and even cover the cost of grooming for dogs that need a trim every few weeks, for owners who ask for help. And since Manning is an animal lover, she couldn’t leave out cats.
“Originally, we were just going to do dogs, but we can’t say no to cats,” she said.
Fairy Dogparents works in conjunction with local animal shelters, including the Kingston Animal Shelter, and local veterinarians to prevent the surrender of dogs by offering a helping hand to their families.
Manning’s goal was to help three animals by the end of the year, but Fairy Dogparent’s mission has gained attention quickly.
“A woman called because her friend died and the husband has two dogs and three cats,” Manning said. “He has medical challenges and disabilities, and he’s forgoing buying his medications to feed his dogs and cats. We can’t let him do that, but we also don’t want him to get rid of the animals. So, we’re setting up a monthly food drop-off with him. We’re also trying to convince him to take the animals to the vet on our tab. So, by the end of last week, we’ve helped five animals.”
Manning and her husband haven’t gotten another dog to help fill the void Ladybug left in their lives.
“I’m still grieving,” Manning said. “I cry almost daily. She was so much more than a dog to us. She was our ‘dogter.’ That’s why, instead of adopting one dog, I decided to honor Ladybug by doing something that would help many dogs. I think that through this process we will heal and slowly ready ourselves for our next dog adventure.”
For folks looking to adopt a pet, Manning recommends old dogs.
“They’re the best,” she said. “They really get it and are so appreciative of you. They sleep a lot, don’t pooh in the house and know basic commands and how good they have it.”
Saturday, Fairy Dogparents will host its first fundraiser at the Hilltop Athletic Club on Pottle Street. The festivities will include music, hors d’oeuvers and a cash bar. Fairy Dogparent volunteers will sell hats and T-shirts with the fanciful Dogparents logo. Among the many silent auction items are a massage by a local masseuse and a professional photo shoot for your pets. The event will kick off at 7 p.m.
“One less dog in the shelter means another happy ending,” Manning said.

Mary from NJ