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Taking puppy, love to an ill child



Published: Thu, May 24, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



A desperate New Jersey mother got her message answered all the way from the Mahoning Valley.

By TIM YOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

HUBBARD -- A Hubbard couple will leave Sunday morning for New Jersey, carrying with them a package that will make the life of a dying boy a little happier.

Katie Squibbs, president of the area's K-9s For Compassion group, and her husband, Jeff, will deliver Teddy, a golden retriever puppy, to 8-year-old Bryan Hueston in Keansburg, N.J.

Bryan suffers from cystic fibrosis, seizures, depression and attention deficit disorder. Squibbs said doctors have declared him terminally ill, giving him two years to live.

"Everybody's been wonderful. It's great to see all these people come together," Squibbs said of the volunteer effort that began in January to help the boy.

Squibbs' group takes dogs to hospitals and nursing homes to visit the sick and senior citizens and to schools to teach bite prevention.

Learned about situation: On Jan. 21, Squibbs of North Main Street noticed a computer message from Rochelle Lesser, a New Jersey school psychologist. The message was from Bryan's mother, Karen Hueston.

In said, in part: "All he wants is a golden retriever to love and tell his secrets to, but I'm a single mom, which at the moment is unemployed due to the winter weather and Bryan's more frequent doctor appointments."

"I will do anything to get him cheered up, and I feel this could benefit us both."

Hueston sent the message as "a desperate mom in need."

Through her connections with the canine group, Squibbs decided to help.

Vonnie Peterson of West Farmington, a group member and golden-retriever breeder, donated a puppy from her next litter. The dogs typically sell for $800 each.

Getting Teddy ready: Dr. R.F. Papp of Champion provided Teddy's first set of vaccines, and Town and Country Veterinary Clinic in Howland neutered Teddy and surgically repaired his defective eyelids.

To top it off, Pet Supplies Plus in Niles donated a dog bed, water bowls, food, toys, leash and collar.

Squibbs was concerned that the long-haired dog might harm Bryan because of his respiratory ailment, but was assured it won't because of his grave prognosis.

About 6 a.m. Sunday, Katie and Jeff Squibbs will head for Keansburg, south of Staten Island, N.Y., to deliver Teddy to his new home. They'll return that night.

Squibbs helps with interstate dog adoptions. Typically, she and others involved in the process drive the dogs only part of the way to their new owners.

With Teddy and the Huestons, things are different.

Squibbs said she got "caught up" in the whole effort, wanting to meet Bryan and his mother.




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