How an Adelaide cancer survivor fought for two lives – and changed world for a neglected dog

Adelaide resident Liz was devastated when diagnosed with stage-two breast cancer a few years ago. Forced to leave work and riddled with fear and depression, Liz decided to volunteer as an RSPCA foster carer.

At the same time, an emaciated and neglected dog named Roxy, who had come into RSPCA’s care via our inspectorate arm, was waiting at our shelter for her loving future family to come and find her.

Despite receiving loads of attention from our caring staff, Roxy was still very lonely…

Life gets better as Liz and Roxy meet for the first time

Almost immediately, Liz decided to open her door and her heart to Roxy.

That first night in foster care, Roxy slept on the floor in Liz’s bedroom and was quite nervous in her new surroundings.

But by day three, Roxy had made herself right at home as a permanent resident on Liz’s bed.

“I use to come home, open the door and feel a void of emptiness,” Liz recalls. “But when I started to foster Roxy, it was different. There was this unconditional presence of joy and love.”

Roxy was soon in high demand, because Liz’s children, Conner and Jayden, also fell in love with her sweet temperament and affectionate nature.

Support through the tough times, as Roxy refuses to leave Liz’s side

As part of Liz’s cancer treatment, she had to undergo eight months of chemotherapy. Roxy was right there the whole time, a constant source of strength and love.

Within a year, Roxy was well enough to move into adoption – and, in a stroke of fate, Liz’s cancer treatment came to an end at the very same time.

It was a new beginning for them both.

“I firmly believe that the universe brought Roxy and I together. We were both on a challenging journey – I was having chemotherapy and she had been neglected. I just know that we were brought together to heal each other.”

And heal each other they did.

‘She gives me a sense of purpose’

These days, Liz and Roxy have a great routine: it starts with morning snuggles, moves to playtime with her favourite humpty dumpty stuffed toy and then, best of all, dinnertime!

“Roxy helped me through such a tough time and has also taught me I don’t need a partner to be happy.” Liz told us.

“She gives me a sense of purpose and we keep active together with daily walks – which Roxy just loves.”

Justice for Roxy in Elizabeth court

Meanwhile, RSPCA’s legal team continued to mount the case against Roxy’s former owner, a Davoren Park woman.

In March 2019, that woman pleaded guilty to failing to give food and water to both Roxy and another dog, a Siberian husky-cross named Marley. Both dogs had been chained in the backyard with little access to food or water, and were severely emaciated and weak when seized by our inspectors.

Their owner was placed on a two-year good behaviour bond and banned for owning all animals for five years, although the magistrate opted not to record a conviction.

Ongoing support for animals in need from big-hearted Liz and Roxy

Liz knows she has directly helped save Roxy’s life – and donates regularly so that she can continue to help the lives of countless other vulnerable animals just like her.

“One of the things I love most about being a monthly RSPCA donor is knowing that my money helps save lives like Roxy’s. If there weren’t enough people donating, then Roxy might not be here.”

Roxy also does her part to support her fellow fur-friends in need, and this year is the proud advocate for our sweetest event of the year – Cupcake Day.

Liz and Roxy are so grateful they found each other, that they intend to continue to do whatever they can to help other animals in need.

If you would like to participate in this year’s Cupcake Day on Monday, August 19, please register here. Funds raised from your baked goods will go towards helping vulnerable animals, just like Roxy was.

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