In May, life became too much for Sally Anthony. She’d recently bought a home in Medical Lake and didn’t know a soul. Profoundly depressed and grieving the 2016 death of her husband, she decided that she’d had enough.
“The wheels came off at some point,” Anthony said. “I was at the end of my rope, and I let go. It was an impulse. I tried to commit suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning.” She very nearly succeeded. Her memories of the event are cloudy. She doesn’t know who called 911.
“My core temperature was 92 when I was found,” she said. “I was in full code in the ambulance.” Anthony was admitted to Deaconess and spent time in the Intensive Care Unit. When her physical health stabilized, she was transferred to Inland Northwest Behavioral Health, an in-patient psychiatric hospital.
That’s where she realized that she was in danger of losing the life she loved most in this world – her beagle/basset mix, Roxy. “Roxy is my next of kin,” Anthony said. “She’s 10 years old, and I’ve had her for 9 1/2 years. I got her from a basset rescue, and she rescued me.”
She knew Roxy had been picked up by Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service, and she also knew that if unclaimed, Roxy would be placed for adoption. When she met with Katie Mathews, a social worker at Inland Northwest Behavioral Health, she burst into tears.
“Roxy is my little four-footed baby,” Anthony said. With Anthony’s permission, Mathews picked up the tale. “Her dog was her world,” Mathews said. “I knew she couldn’t focus on her recovery when she was worried about her dog.”
It didn’t hurt that Mathews loves dogs. “I have dogs,” she said. “I’d do anything for them. I knew I had to at least try to save this dog from being adopted.” Anthony said Roxy would be irresistible to any dog lover. “She’s sweet. She loves people. I knew she’d be adopted right away,” Anthony said.
Ethan Kennedy of SCRAPS confirmed that dogs with no license, tags or microchip are held three days before being made available for adoption. Dogs with some or all of the mentioned forms of identification are kept for five days.
“We do everything we can to notify the owner,” Kennedy said. “We send a postcard. We call. And if we have an email address, we send an email.” None of those things would have helped Anthony because she was in the hospital.
Mathews picked up the phone and called West Winds Kennels in Medical Lake. “I called them because they were closest to where Sally lived,” she explained. Without hesitation, West Winds Kennels owner Vicki Erickson agreed to pick up the dog.
She drove to SCRAPS, paid the $28 licensing fee and took Roxy home with her. “I just felt for her,” said Erickson of Anthony, whom she’d never met. “She’s one of my community.” And Erickson confirmed that Roxy would have been quickly adopted.
“She’s a nice little dog,” Erickson said. “She wouldn’t have stayed at SCRAPS long.” Once Mathews knew Roxy was safely at West Winds, she told Anthony. “We called Roxy on a conference call so Sally could hear her bark,” she said.
“Having Roxy safe meant Sally could concentrate on her mental health recovery. It was a small thing to do to ensure she could focus on recovery.” It wasn’t a small thing to Anthony. It was everything. “I’m sure Katie is an angel here on Earth,” she said.
Anthony was diagnosed with severe chronic depression, but, as soon as her health stabilized, she was ready to be reunited with Roxy. “I took a cab to Four Winds to get her before I went home,” she said. Roxy was overjoyed to see her owner.
“We were both jumping up and down,” Anthony said. Erickson didn’t charge any boarding fees and only asked to be reimbursed the $28 license fee. “It was just something nice to do,” she said. “And nice things keep coming back around.”
Anthony called the newspaper with her story because she wants to let other pet owners know they need to have a plan in place for their pets if something should happen to them. At SCRAPS, Kennedy said the best thing people can do is make sure their pets are micro-chipped and licensed.
“Backup contact information can be added on the micro chip and license forms,” he said. “A tag with phone numbers really helps, too.” Anthony was only charged a license fee, but Kennedy said in general pet owners are charged impound, exam/vaccination and boarding fees.
Thankfully, Anthony is on the mend. “I’m not spiraling down anymore,” she said. “I joined an internet group called KindSpring. I decided I needed to put some light out there for someone else, and kindness benefits both the giver and the receiver.”
And Anthony now has an emergency care plan in place for Roxy. “My next door neighbor has a German shepherd that Roxy loves to play with. I asked her if anything happened to me, would she please find a home for Roxy,” Anthony said.
“She said, ‘No, of course not! If something happens to you, Roxy will have a home here with me.’ ”
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