Funds Raised will go Towards the Acquisition and Specialized Training of a Service Animal
Hounds Town USA Franchise Owners have one more big reason to be proud this month! The doggie daycare franchise’s nonprofit organization, Hounds Town Charities, is teaming up with Campaign One at a Time, a nonprofit that helps wishes come true for children fighting life-threatening illnesses, and Merlin’s KIDS, a nonprofit that provides specially-trained service dogs to people in need, to help make a dream come true for one very special young girl and her family.
This is not the first time Hounds Town Charities has partnered with Campaign One at a Time. CEO Jackie Bondanza has deep ties with the nonprofit, and has worked alongside them to make a difference in kids’ lives for years.
“Hounds Town USA has been a corporate sponsor for Campaign One at a Time for about three years, and I’m also a chair of the organization,” Bondanza says. “About a year ago, I helped launch One at a Time East and expand the organization outside of the West Coast to help kids across the country. Hounds Town USA hosted a BBQ fundraiser for One at a Time East in Long Island this year, and that is where we met Cianna and her family.”
A Brave Girl in Need of a Service Dog
After being diagnosed with telangiectatic osteosarcoma, a rare kind of bone cancer, Cianna Rengifo, 8, was in need of a support dog to help her meet various physical and emotional challenges. In order to help Cianna receive the service dog of her dreams, Hounds Town Charities, together with Campaign One at a Time and Merlin’s KIDS, pledged to raise the additional $10,000 needed to put toward the acquisition and specialized training for Cianna’s dog.
Additionally, as Cianna’s aid program began early this year, her mother Kimberly was diagnosed with breast cancer, making the push to get the perfect service dog for Cianna and her family that much more urgent and important.
Last year, Campaign One at a Time teamed up with Merlin’s KIDS on a similar project to help Key’Air, a cancer-stricken Long Island boy, interact with his new service dog Dexter. According to Kimberly, Cianna fell in love right away when the family met Key’Air and Dexter at the BBQ fundraiser on Long Island.
Kimberly notes that her daughter has been a dog lover right from the start. When Cianna was younger, the family had two dogs, but they have since passed away. As Cianna fights her disease, a service dog could provide her with the emotional support, physical assistance, and companionship she requires. “Especially with everything we have going on right now, a service dog would be an incredible benefit for Cianna,” Kimberly says. “Children diagnosed with cancer go through a lot of issues when it comes to post-traumatic stress disorder and anxiety, which is something Cianna has struggled with. Not only will a service dog provide emotional support and companionship, but it will also offer physical support as Cianna needs a lot of assistance with her leg brace and medical devices.”
According to Kimberly, a service dog might also be trained to detect a recurrence of Cianna’s cancer. “Unfortunately, osteosarcoma is known to potentially come back, and that is my worst fear,” she said. “Knowing we have a service dog that could detect a recurrence without needing to go through countless exams and harmful radiography would be amazing.” Cianna’s life, and the lives of her family, could be changed if they knew their service dog could detect a recurrence of Cianna’s cancer early, which could reduce the need for countless checks and potentially harmful radiography.
Hounds Town Charities Gives Back
On February 1, Hounds Town Charities and One at a Time began working together to meet their goal of funding the final $10,000 needed for Cianna’s special dog through the Merlin’s KIDS program. They are proud and pleased to say that they achieved their goal, and Cianna and her family are on their way to getting a new service dog trained to help her with everything she needs!
This project shows that anything is possible and that people are willing to help. Hounds Town Charities and Merlin’s KIDS intend to continue raising cancer awareness while also thanking the community for coming together to support Cianna’s family. The leadership team and Franchise Owners at Hounds Town USA are proud to be part of a brave and amazing family’s journey, and spend a great deal of time working with local animal shelters, rescue groups, and other charitable organizations aimed at making their corner of the world a better place for animals and people alike.
What is Hounds Town Charities?
Hounds Town Charities is a nonprofit organization that is part of the Hounds Town USA doggie daycare franchise. Hounds Town Charities isn’t your typical rescue organization; instead, it’s dedicated to rehabilitating unwanted and abandoned dogs, bridging the gap between rescue and adoption, as well as assisting dogs who have been categorized as the most difficult to adopt due to misunderstanding behavioral concerns and providing them with a second opportunity at life. In addition to canine rehabilitation programs, Hounds Town Charities participates in a variety of dog-related charity and fundraising initiatives, including Cianna’s campaign.
One at a Time is still accepting donations for Cianna and her family. If you wish to make a contribution, please visit her dedicated campaign page on their website.
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