Many 5-year-old girls enjoy taking care of baby-dolls. Whether they feed it a bottle, brush its hair, tend to a boo-boo, or dress it in new clothes, the caring nature little girls show is heartwarming.
Eliza, 5, of Sidney, Maine also loves to nurture. Especially after receiving so much care herself during treatment for a life-threatening brain tumor known as Juvenile Pilocytic Astrocytoma (JPA).
“She finished chemotherapy in July,” said Eliza’s mom, Kellie. “She’s off everything now and we bring her back for MRI’s every three months. So, we just live month-by-month and hope she stays in the clear.”
When nearing the end of her treatments, a doctor asked Eliza if she had made a wish with Make-A-Wish. After replying that she had not, the family was immediately referred to the Maine chapter to begin the dreaming process.
Volunteer wish granters work with wish children to help them explore the endless wish choice possibilities. In this case, Eliza’s wish granters were Terry and Joe Shelton who are past wish parents themselves. Their son, Nicholas, received a wish in 2008.
“I think to her, she feels like this is her reward for everything she has had to go through,” said Kellie.
It was clear that Eliza wanted to wish for something that she could nurture and love. She had asked her parents for a puppy in the past and after careful consideration, she and her parents decided this was the right time.
“I wanted something small to pick up, hold, and brush,” said Eliza.
Kellie talked to a relative who is also a vet and they talked about different breeds that would be a good fit for Eliza. They agreed on a maltipoo mix and Make-A-Wish took it from there.
Make-A-Wish began searching on www.PetFinder.com and found a potential match for Eliza: a maltipoo mix, named KiKi at the time, was living with a foster family in Georgia. After sending the picture and information to Eliza and her family, they fell in love.
Two weeks later Kiki, now named Ticket by his new family, made his brave trip to Maine. Wish granters told Eliza that they were not sure when Ticket would arrive, but they should go to PETCO to purchase supplies. When Eliza and her entourage arrived at PETCO, they were greeted by a sign that read, “Welcome Eliza! Have fun on your doggy shopping spree,” and a cart decorated with balloons. Eliza was thrilled to shop for her new friend and even made an ID tag so the puppy would never get lost.
As Eliza was perusing the store, dreaming about the day when she could hold her brand new puppy, wish granters surprised her with the tiny white traveler himself: Ticket had arrived.
Instantly, Eliza picked the puppy up and the two began to snuggle with each other.
“The reaction to seeing Eliza’s happiness at the delivery of her puppy was inspirational,” said wish granter Terry Shelton. “There was not a dry eye in the store.” Among the many items that Eliza picked out for soon-to-be spoiled Ticket, was a bumblebee costume for Halloween.
Kellie said that Ticket has become a great addition to the family and it feels like they have had him forever.
Because of her medical condition, Eliza sometimes has trouble with balance. When climbing up and down the stairs at her house, Eliza asks for help from her older sister, Paige; not for herself, but for her beloved puppy.
“Paige comes along and carries Ticket up and down the stairs for Eliza,” said Kellie. “Everyone loves him."
Read a letter from Kellie eight months after Ticket joined their family.
Many Thanks To: Wish Granters Terry and Joe Shelton, Georgia Canine Rescue and Rehabilitation, Maine Chauffeured Services, Olive Garden, My Buddies Coming Home Pet Transport, Kate Vickery, and PETCO.