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Mary Brotherton
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Inside my Brain

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Thursday, February 24, 2005

Canine Contest Cashes Ten

The best part of a Dog Photo Contest is being able to look at pictures and read the included stories; the hardest part is choosing a winner. So, when Marcia Mario, founder of The Sunflower House teamed up with the Brevard Humane Society to sponsor a fund-raising contest, she decided to award not just one prize, but ten; each winner receiving a Mall Gift Certificate.

The Sunflower Coalition of Caregivers, also known as the Sunflower House is located in the Merritt Square Mall and helps people connect with caregivers by offering resources through an established network of information and support.

Mrs. Mario understands that sometimes, “Caregivers just need a place to runaway without feeling guilty; someone who will listen without judging.”

The Humane Society helps people connect with animals who need homes and companions.

Mrs. Mario said “It was only natural for us to team up. Sometimes, the dogs turn out to be the caregivers.”

The recent photo contest highlighted two such magnificent animals.

Curt and Elizabeth Beyer of Rockledge found Bandit when she was only a few weeks old, abandoned in a construction dumpster. Bandit has been named an AKC Canine Good Citizen and has achieved status as a Certified Therapy Dog, but those accomplishments are not what make Bandit so special. In April of 2001, Bandit was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer. To save her life, one leg was amputated. She adjusted to life with one less leg and did not seem to mind intensive chemotherapy at the University of Florida in Gainesville. Then, in 2002, Bandit was diagnosed again with cancer. This time mast cell cancer meant that Bandit had to stay in Tampa for three weeks for daily doses of radiation. Bandit has been in full remission for 28 months.

Mrs. Beyer said, “What makes Bandit special is that she has beaten the odds. She has continued to not only survive, but to thrive, with her spirit and personality fully intact.”

Three years ago Cocoa Beach’s Geraldine and Ron Halroyd sadly said goodbye forever to their 22 year old son. Then some time later, their 17 year old cat also passed away. A year ago, the family’s beloved 12 year old dog died. The once pleasant home became too quite and had no more joy. They decided to adopt a dog from the Humane Society, but every dog available was too big. Then on June 7th, the Halroyds received a sample of dog food in the mail.

They decided that “Somebody is trying to tell us something,” and the very next day, she and her husband found an adorable 6 month old Schnauzer-mix puppy at the Brevard Humane Society.

Mrs. Halroyd said, “Since all of our loved ones were cremated we named him Phoenix. We believe he came out of the ashes to bring new life to us.”

Mrs. Mario said, “I wish I could have given 20 prizes. The pictures and stories were all just that good.” There was no fee to enter the contest, but participants were asked to donate from their hearts and over $300 was raised which will be divided between the Humane Society and The Sunflower House.