WATCH: Huge out-pouring of support after emotional plea from woman fighting cancer needing dog-friendly place to live in Victoria. Tess van Straaten reports.
Melanie and her sweet senior dog, Cindy, go everywhere together.
“She’s my buddy, she’s my everything,” says 38-year-old Melanie, who didn’t want her last name used. “I don’t know what I’d do without her.”
The pair have been inseparable for a decade and it’s Cindy’s companionship and love that have gotten Mel through tough times — including her current battle with cancer.
“It was a shock, you can never except something like this at my age,” Melanie says. “I just thought it was a lump.”
It was thyroid cancer and adding to the shock, the day she got the diagnosis Mel came home to find her partner of five years had left her and taken almost everything.
New to Victoria, Mel had no one to turn to and couldn’t afford the rent on her own so she has to move and needs to find a new place by April 20th.
“Just a little studio where I can be with Cindy,” says Mel. “If there’s a little backyard where I can plant some flowers that would be awesome.”
But despite months of looking, Mel hasn’t been able to find a place that will take Cindy and she says giving her up isn’t an option.
“No, I’m not getting rid of Cindy,” a sobbing Mel says. “Cindy’s been with me for so long, I just can’t imagine losing her.”
Victoria cancer patient needs pet-friendly housing
So at her doctor’s urging, Mel — who’s a very private person — took a leap of faith and posted this ‘Cancer, now what?’ ad on Used Victoria to see if anyone could help.
“For me to actually put an ad with my name, my phone number asking people to help us out, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” an emotional Mel says.
The emotional Used Victoria cancer ad hit a chord and quickly spread on Facebook. The ad’s already had more than 25,000 views and Mel woke up Monday morning to more than 100 emails offering help.
“I had people even in Newfoundland even telling me that they have a spare room, people from Edmonton,” she says. “It’s just like, wow, thank you!”
Mel, who’s a gardener and looking for work a couple days a week until she recovers, says she’s not afraid of fighting cancer — her prognosis is good — her bigger fear is finding housing.
“It’s about getting through this and not losing more than I’ve already lost,” she says crying. “I just want to get through this.”