There are few moments more devastating than when your beloved pet’s eyes implore you for help. The impulse to scoop them up, protect them, and secure any medical treatment necessary to make them “them” again is overwhelming. However, sometimes the financial means just aren’t there even though the will is. Only a single day after the passing of her dear Siberian Husky, Karen Fullerton was struck by a pang of empathy that quickly evolved into The Sergei Foundation: “The day after Sergei died, I felt so guilty. How must people who simply can’t afford treatment feel?”
The Sergei Foundation provides financial assistance to those families with a companion pet in need of life-saving medical treatment. Although the foundation’s resources are concentrated in the Piedmont Triad area, they provide aid throughout the state of North Carolina. The Sergei Foundation’s network of resources has grown rapidly since its founding in 2009. In their first year, The Sergei Foundation was able to help six ailing pets. That number has multiplied to nearly 100 pets this past year. In the coming years, Fullerton hopes that The Sergei Foundation will be able to add its services to more communities.
Fullerton’s rich relationship with Sergei also prompted her to write a book Sergei’s Eyes: Reflections of Soul Lessons. In the summer of 2015, she was preoccupied by the notion that people connect through storytelling and that “a healing occurs once you can connect your situation to someone else.” Although her desire to write a book sprouted well before Sergei’s death, the event was an impetus for the reflections that would culminate in Sergei’s Eyes.
Fullerton recalls, “I wanted to connect my hurdles and triumphs to my time with Sergei. And I just thought ’hopefully someone will resonate with the experiences I have had and it will help them.’” She started out by simply jotting down her memories with Sergei in bullet form without “connecting the dots yet.” Through her sustained effort to write, the lessons that Sergei was trying to teach her were revealed. Fullerton shares, “Pets have a truly greater purpose. Look closer at your relationship with your pet. It takes a certain subtlety to recognize it, but they could be our greatest teachers.” Proceeds from the sale of Sergei’s Eyes benefit families with fur babies in need through The Sergei Foundation.
The Sergei Foundation also generates funding through an exciting yearly event. The fourth annual Triad Dog Games will be held on May 20-21 at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds. When asked what attendees could expect from the event, Fullerton didn’t miss a beat: “The ‘wow!’ factor. This is not your ordinary Bark in the Park.” This event is truly one-of-a-kind as it brings together four major dog sports in one location, including dock jumping, doggy daches, flyball, and disc competition. Even if your pup isn’t athletically inclined and won’t be participating in competition, you both can still have a blast. Past Games have seen 200 competitors and over 5000 visitors. Enjoy live music, yummy food, and basking in the company of amazing dogs. The entry fee is $10 for adults and $5 for children 10 and under. Additional donations to The Sergei Foundation, which can be made at the entry gate or donation booth, will be matched by a local donor.
We all hope that we can be there for our pets when they need us. However, it is comforting to know that The Sergei Foundation exists to lend support should one ever fall financially short. A small monetary setback should never cost one a cherished family member.