ALEDO — When Aledo native Carol Smock adopted Chip, she lamented to the rescue group, “It’s a shame there isn’t an organization who could have helped his family pay for the care he needed so they could keep him.” 

Never did she expect to experience the same scenario herself. 

Faced with a diagnosis of cancer and a treatment protocol of bi-weekly chemotherapy and combined with her recent job loss, now she couldn’t afford the very treatment that might save his life. Through his journey, Smock came to learn that hundreds of thousands of pet owners across the nation are faced with the decision to end their pet’s life and suffering when the cost of life-saving treatment is outside their financial means. 

For these families that final decision is brutal. In 2006, Smock, fresh with the pain of facing this same decision, created Brown Dog Foundation with the help of six friends and her younger sister, Angela Garcia. Just like that, families were given an alternative. 

The foundation serves pet owners nationally. This past November, Smock and a volunteer author by the name of Len Napoli, published a book detailing the journey. The book was made available for purchase on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and several other outlets. 

From 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Smock will be have a book signing and reading at Sweet Grass Boutique. Copies of the book can be purchased and Smock will sign them. The event is free to the public and features a selection of complimentary pastries and coffee.

During the years 2009, 2010 and 2011, fundraisers were held in the Aledo area anticipating the creation of a Brown Dog Foundation Illowa Chapter. Unfortunately, lack of board participation rendered the idea defunct. However, the national program has continued to grow and accomplish good work. And, each year, a few families in the Illowa region benefit from the program. 

In October 2016, the foundation celebrated its 10th year, and 925 family pets saved. At the end of 2016, the foundation had successfully assisted 206 families with securing life-saving care for their pet. 

Forty families received “cash grants” while the balance were referred to lesser cost treatment protocols or doctors who were affordable to the owner without assistance.