Teenager’s Cancer Survival Story Wins $ 50,000 Grant for Sweet Paws Rescue of Groveland

That changed in June 2020, when Graham adopted Phoebe, a pit bull and Australian Shepherd mix, from Sweet Paws Rescue, a nonprofit in Groveland.

“I always wanted to raise a puppy, but now I fully understand why they [his parents] expected because if I had been younger I wouldn’t have been able to train and raise Phoebe, ”Graham said from his Vermont home. “So I’m grateful for that. “

Now, Sweet Paws Rescue thanks Graham and his mother for helping the volunteer organization win a $ 50,000 grant from Petco, the national pet supply retailer.

Emily Evans MacLaury submitted her son’s story to Petco’s Adoption Love Story contest in September. Her entry resulted in a $ 50,000 prize which was presented this month to Sweet Paws.

“When a dog jumped onto his bed, his beaming smile emerged from under his proboscis and his features swollen,” she wrote of Graham’s hospital stays. “Hearing him describe it made it all clear. “Dogs only see me as a person. They don’t see cancer.

Evans MacLaury said she and Graham were thrilled to hear that their story was among the winners of the contest.

“I had written a lot on my blog while Graham was ill, so I was happy to continue writing for this contest,” Evans MacLaury said in a phone interview. “Later I got this email that we were one of the winners, and I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is real. “And Graham immediately did the math on how many dogs they could spay, spay, and feed with that money.

Sweet Paws founder Cynthia Sweet said the gift was a boon to her grassroots organization.

“We’ve got a big punch – I think we’re just as good as the big shelters, but we’re doing it on a budget,” Sweet said. “So $ 50,000, it’s not like it’s going to pay a big CEO’s salary.”

Sweet said she plans to use the grant to pay for veterinary, food and transportation costs. The organization prioritizes rescuing cats and dogs from Massachusetts, but also accepts pets from Alabama and Mississippi, which have large stray populations, she said.

“There is a saying in rescuing dogs, and it says ‘Rescuing dogs is like trying to empty the ocean with a teaspoon’, and it’s true,” said Sweet, who created the organization 10 years ago.

Phoebe was rescued as a puppy in Mississippi, where her litter was found abandoned under the bridge of a house, according to Graham’s mother. She said as soon as Graham and Phoebe met the two had an instant connection.

“Graham sat down next to Phoebe and she immediately rolled onto her back,” said Evans MacLaury. “She loved Graham from the start.”

Pictured, Graham is holding Phoebe shortly after her adoption in June 2020.Emily evans maclaury

Katie Redefer can be reached at [email protected]


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