Some may say it’s coincidence, but the story of how two women connected to change each other’s lives sounds a lot like fate. Sue Reale of Oakland, California had always wanted to adopt a dog, but an unexpected medical emergency put her plans off track. She needed a new kidney, but the odds of finding a donor diminished with each passing day.
Her hopeful sister thought of the plan to start a Facebook campaign to find a match. Despite the discouraging chances, the campaign was a success. Sue found a complete stranger who was not only a compatible donor, but completely willing to undergo the major surgery to save her life. The surgery took place in January 2017, and to continue Sue’s miraculous good luck, it was a success.
Both Sue and her donor came out of surgery to begin recovery. For Sue, that meant being quarantined while she took high doses of immunosuppressant drugs. Her days were filled with rest and healing, but with the surgery behind her, she was ready to move forward with her life. She was browsing Facebook one day when a pair of soulful eyes caught her attention. Oakland Animal Services shared a picture of two puppies who desperately needed to be fostered. Kuro and Yin Yang were diagnosed with parvovirus, and they needed somewhere safe to fight the deadly illness.
Sue wrote in an essay to the Petco Foundation,
“When I saw the photo of Kuro with his soulful eyes and yearning look, I knew instinctively that we were meant for each other. “
She started as a foster, but it didn’t take long for a bond to form. Their shared experiences of facing serious health hurdles brought Sue and Kuro together, and Sue decided they she should never be apart. Kuro’s name changed to Chipper (because of his chipper personality), and he officially became part of Sue’s family.
While Sue and Chipper were happy in each other’s company, Chipper’s brother was still waiting for his own chance at a happy ending. Sue shared the pup’s picture on Facebook hoping someone she knew would welcome the little dog into their home. She didn’t have long to wait, because Sue’s kidney donor was also looking for a dog to adopt. Sue wrote,
“Apparently, my kidney donor and I have more than a blood type in common; her reaction to Yin Yang (later named Archie) was identical to mind when I saw Chipper. She was immediately drawn to his scruffy little black and white face, and after fostering him for a few hours, she also fell in (puppy) love.”
What started as one life saved through a generous donation turned into three lives saved and one incredible bond connecting two women and their rescued dogs. Sue and her donor now use their story and their dogs to promote life-saving acts of kindness. They talk about their journey with the kidney transplant surgery and the importance of animal adoption. It wasn’t until the adoption papers were being signed that the final piece of the serendipitous puzzle fell into place. Chipper and Archie were born on Jan. 12, 2017—the same day Sue and her donor had their surgery. Coincidence? Sue doesn’t think so.
“Was it destiny? Yes, I believe it was.”
Sue submitted her story as part of the Petco Foundation’s Holiday Wishes Campaign. Her touching tale of matching destinies earned Friends of Oakland Animal Services a $50,000 grant to go toward their life-saving efforts. The donation is part of this year’s goal to award more than $765,000 to animal welfare organizations across the country.
Sue’s story is one of many, and Petco Foundation encourages all animal lovers to visit their site and vote for this year’s People’s Choice competition. The winning organizations will be given up to $25,000 in additional grant money. Voting closes on Dec. 20, so vote now to help a deserving organization’s wish come true.
Featured image via Petco Foundation