Chloe's Last Wish Foundation created to help with pet medical care
There will be poop bags, bowl at the hole and “dog bite” putts when golfers and their four-legged friends hit Greencastle Golf Club on Sunday, May 21.
The Pet and Play Golf Tournament and Adoption Day is the first fundraiser for a new foundation to help pet owners with medical bills.
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Stephen Bard of Greencastle started Chloe’s Last Wish Foundation following the death of his American foxhound on Oct. 13, 2022, at the age 13.
Chloe was 6 when she was diagnosed with diabetes at Franklin Veterinary Associates of Greencastle.
Bard was faced with a choice — euthanize his beloved pet or pay the price for the rest of her life.
“She was my kid,” said Bard, who calculated he spent $51,000 on Chloe over her lifetime. In addition to insulin, needles and special food, she needed eye surgery for cataracts brought on by diabetes.
His commitment included collecting her urine so he would know how much insulin to give her in twice daily shots.
He remembers asking the vet, “How can people afford this?” and learning many have their dogs put down because they can’t.
“Sometimes owners make the decision they cannot afford this treatment and decide to give their pet away,” Bard says on the foundation website. “How painful it must be to that owner, not to mention the pet not understanding why they are removed from their family.”
He thought about finding a way to help over the years and took action following Chloe’s death.
He’s starting with the Pet and Play Golf Tournament and Adoption Day at Greencastle Golf Club and Franklin Veterinary Associates, but hopes to branch out to courses and veterinarians in Chambersburg, Hagerstown and beyond.
Who was the dog behind Chloe’s Last Wish Foundation?
Bard, who has a background in sales and marketing, adopted Chloe as a puppy in 2009. American foxhounds, as the name implies, are used in fox hunts.
“People thought she was the largest beagle they’d ever seen,” he said.
True to her breed, Chloe loved to run and hunt in the mountains and Bard remembers her baying when she treed a raccoon.
“She went everywhere with me,” said Bard, noting Chloe also liked to give high fives.
“She didn’t want affection until she wanted it,” he recalled, likening her personality to a cat. “Then she would lay her head on me so I could kiss the side of her head.
“It’s weird how attached you can get to an animal … especially when they think you’re perfect,” he smiled.
Eventually, he had to help Chloe get into bed, she started coughing up bile and would have good days and bad days.
The day he planned to have her put down was a good day, but he knew a bad day was just around the corner if he canceled.
How is Chloe’s Last Wish Foundation partnering with Franklin Veterinary Associates?
When he picked up Chloe’s ashes, Bard again wondered about pet owners who can’t afford medical care.
When he asked if he could raise money for them, the response from Franklin Veterinary Associates was “Oh, yeah.”
“Heart medication and insulin are expensive … animals are put to sleep often because of the cost of medicines,” said Dorothy Newman, office manager at Franklin Veterinary Associates.
It is especially hard when that happens to older animals that have been coming to the practice since they were young, she said.
How much money the golf tournament raises will determine what assistance can be provided to pet owners, Newman said.
A system will be set up to determine need and appropriately divide the funds, such as discounted surgery or free or discounted medicine, she explained.
Who is Chloe’s friend Mr. Finn?
Mr. Finn, a 6-year-old Chesapeake Bay retriever with a little black Lab mixed in, was Chloe’s friend and part of the Bard family.
Like Chloe, Mr. Finn needs expensive veterinary care. At 6 months, he underwent hip surgery and had to be kept in a crate for six weeks and helped outside to go to the bathroom.
“He’s my buddy. He tells me everything he wants just by looking,” said Bard, who added Mr. Finn got along very well with Chloe.
What you need to know about the Pet and Play Golf Tournament and Adoption Day
The first fundraiser for Chloe’s Last Wish Foundation has two components — the golf tournament and adoption day events. Planning is still underway for both and details are being worked out.
“I know Finn would love to run and play and have the best time,” Bard said.
Other dogs can do the same, with a four-legged player running or riding with each cart at the tournament, which will tee off at 8:30 a.m.
Early bird registration is $175 per person through March 1 and $200 after that. The cost includes perks like Mulligans, a second chance at a tee shot and dog bites — miss a putt, don’t move, call “dog bite” and putt again.
Prizes will be awarded at the end of the tournament by Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr. and are $1,500 for first, $750 for second and $300 for third.
Bard also is looking for sponsors, with “Bone Medal” levels from Bronze Bone ($500) to Titanium Bone ($5,000), as well as $200 hole sponsorships.
Lisa Stockslager and RE/MAX Elite Services in Shady Grove is already on board for a Titanium Bone, The Pet Store in Chambersburg has donated $1,000 and April’s Doggie Spa and Training Center has given $500.
Bard is planning for adoption day featuring Lucky’s Legacy and other pet-related activities will begin at 10 a.m. for animals and their owners.
“Our goal is to help dogs and cats from overcrowding shelters and place them into their forever homes,” says the website of Lucky’s Legacy, which is based in Hagerstown.
“I want to make it a community activity, not just golf,” said Bard, who hopes to arrange a bubble machine, foam party and bounce house, too.
Photographer Hannah Moon will be on site and he wants to have a giant golf ball available where pets can have their pictures taken.
Bard is looking for other pet-related participants.
“This is all about raising money for pets … and it’s for fun, too,” Bard said.
Tickets for the tournament can be purchased online at chloeslastwishfoundation.com
More information about the foundation and the Pet and Play Golf Tournament and Adoption Day is available from Bard at 301-250-6434 or email@example.com.
Shawn Hardy is a reporter with Gannett's Franklin County newspapers in south-central Pennsylvania — the Echo Pilot in Greencastle, The Record Herald in Waynesboro and the Public Opinion in Chambersburg. She has more than 35 years of journalism experience. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org