Remember a few years ago, when we told you about a little dog that needed a leg amputation at the Sedalia Animal Shelter? It was so expensive, and he was just waiting in the shelter but couldn't go home til he got that surgery.

It was like everyone came together to help him and the Sedalia Animal Shelter. The little pup, Trooper, was ultimately adopted by a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper (appropriately enough). Everyone in our town and in surrounding areas was so touched by the story, that the help became bigger than Trooper himself. People adopted, people fostered, people donated, people volunteered. The Trooper Fund was created, and has since helped several dogs and cats with needed surgeries to live normal lives with their forever homes.

But the pup that started it all, Trooper, well. I have some bad news. Unfortunately, Trooper has crossed the rainbow bridge. I don't know what happened, but does that part really matter? He lived a great life with his dad Doug and his mom Kelley.  And, well, as much as we might want them to, we know these animals can't live forever. Whether they get sick, get old, get hurt, or just... decide themselves that it's time to go, we're left behind with a deep, lingering sadness. But here's the thing. That sadness can turn into something meaningful, something useful, something beautiful. Every story I heard about Trooper told me that he was a good dog that just needed a second chance. He needed a fresh start (minus a leg), and his love was big enough to make the journey worth it.

And, well, he did. He was one dog who made a difference, he got a second chance. But does that difference means that everything we did for him stops? Does that mean that since he's not with us, the second chances stop?  No.

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Yeah, he was a dog, and we all know that dogs are born to love us.  But his love and story was enough that the Trooper Fund was started, to help other animals like him.  His drive to live and be happy, made us all see that in ourselves.  We wanted to do something about it. Animals that probably just needed one less leg, one less eye, or a little something extra to make someone's home perfect deserved that help. They still do.  Just through his example of perseverance, Trooper inspired us.  How many of us can identify with having some kind of handicap or impediment in our lives?  Do we let that keep us from doing what we need to?  Trooper didn't either.  His example made big changes not just in us, but in the Shelter itself:

Trooper left the Sedalia Animal Shelter not only helping establish The Trooper Fund but creating a new tone for the shelter, setting policy that pets are given a chance at adoption unless they are severely injured or aggressive to the point of effecting public safety.

So many people reached out, donated, and are still donating to help animals who may need the Trooper Fund. Look at some of the proof.  This is Benner, one of the most recent Trooper Fund dogs.  She needed an amputation to her front leg so she could bounce back better than ever.

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I saw on the city website that she got the surgery, and now it's just a matter of living life to the fullest!

Here's another pupper that needed the surgery on a back leg, Threepeat.  Threepeat just went home in February.

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So I guess what I'm saying is, we can't let Trooper's memory waste away in vain.  We have to let him keep inspiring us to be kind and help where he can. We need to keep the love, the volunteering, the donations, the help going to to the next one.  There's going to be another dog or cat that is going to need our help via the Trooper Fund.  And while Trooper himself might not be here with us anymore... what he did for us remains.  Every time I told someone about his story, they had a smile on their face.  Let's keep it alive and keep Trooper's memory a positive beacon of joy.

Here's a few ways you can help.  You can contact the Sedalia Animal Shelter, and just see what they need - whether it's supplies, volunteers, fostering, I'm sure they could use your help. You can also find out more about The Trooper Fund here.  Maybe donate a bit to the fund for the next animal in need.

I know I'm sad, I know you're probably bummed too, and of course his family are... well, they've lost a family member.  Of course they're devastated.  But please, if you can, let's keep his memory alive and keep letting him inspire the best to come out of all of us.

Troopingly yours,
Behka

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