Love Unleashed: Furry Friends Steal Hearts This Valentine’s Day (and Every Day)

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Petplan Valentine’s story contest spotlights sacrifices pet parents make for their pet’s well-being.

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There’s nothing some pet parents won’t do for their furry friends, especially when it comes to their health – from refinancing a home mortgage to dipping into a wedding fund. This Valentine’s Day, Petplan, America’s best-loved pet insurer, sought to spotlight pet parents who went to ext-paw-dinary lengths to help their pets get the best possible veterinary care. More than 500 responses – and several boxes of tissues – later, Petplan Co-Founders and Co-CEOs Chris and Natasha Ashton selected a winning trio of heartwarming tales.

“At Petplan, we hear tales like this all the time, and we were particularly awed by the sacrifices these pet parents made in order to afford treatment for their pets,” says Natasha Ashton. “We know first-hand that the love we have for our pets will drive us to do anything we can to return the unconditional love they show us each day.”

Petplan was born from a similarly touching love story. “We were graduate students at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton Business School when our cat, Bodey, stopped eating,” Ashton recalls. “We took her to the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania, where she needed a feeding tube, and they diagnosed pneumonia with a possible kidney implication. It ended up costing us $5,000.” Bodey recovered, but she came home to a different apartment than she left – the large bill forced her already indebted student parents to downsize apartments multiple times.

While Chris and Natasha are not alone in going to great lengths to save a beloved pet (as you’ll see from the winning stories below), they founded Petplan to help ensure that pet parents would never have to make such heart wrenching decisions based on their budgets. It is their hope that with the peace of mind of Petplan protection, pet parents will have one less worry when it comes to caring for their four-legged loves.

Warning: Reading the following winning stories may cause spontaneous sobs:

John and Deborah Minott, and Bailey – Anacortes, WA

Within a year of rescuing Bailey, his pet parents John and Deborah learned that their mixed-breed pup suffered from a condition called distichiasis in both eyes. Bailey needed surgery (and fast) or he was at risk for going blind. Retired and on a fixed income, John and Deborah sacrificed the vacation fund they had been building – for a once-in-a-lifetime cruise to Australia – to afford Bailey’s surgery. It turns out it was money well spent, as Bailey has been improving the lives of two-legged friends ever since. After recovery, Bailey and Deborah became certified as a therapy dog team, comforting the elderly and participating in children’s reading programs. A few years later, the 7-year-old Bailey went through more training, and now acts as his “dad’s” certified service dog.

Sheri and Mike May, and Silver – Sacramento, CA

Silver the cat was an “underdog” from the beginning, but Mike and Sheri adored her all the more for it. They even lovingly refinanced their home to afford her care. Over the years, Silver developed paralysis in her hind legs, seizures, dental issues and weak kidneys – but none of it ever slowed her down. But in late 2012, Mike noticed something wasn’t quite right. Silver was admitted into critical care at the emergency clinic, where she stayed for two weeks with kidney failure and other issues. She made it home, though, and five hours later, in the house that had been mortgaged to pay for her care, Silver passed away in Mike’s arms. Every time Mike and Sheri write the mortgage check, it is with Silver in mind.

Andie Molnar and Breeze – Metuchen, NJ

When Andie brought her Irish Wolfhound, Breeze, to the vet for lameness, her worst fears were confirmed: Breeze had osteosarcoma, a very painful bone cancer, in her front leg. To spare her best friend the pain, Andie made the difficult decision to have Breeze’s leg amputated. To help cover the $10,000 bill for the amputation and post-op chemotherapy treatment, Andie sold her classic 1969 Buick Wildcat convertible, and lovingly called Breeze her “little wildcat” from then on. Breeze has since passed on, but Andie is keeping her legacy alive by protecting her Labrador with Petplan.

To learn more about how Petplan can help protect your family budget, visit

Petplan is the only pet insurance company to have been included on Inc. Magazine’s list of 500 fastest-growing, privately held companies in America. For the second consecutive year, Petplan was listed among the top 50 companies on Forbes annual ranking of America’s Most Promising Companies – a list of 100 privately held, high-growth companies with bright futures. Petplan’s fully customizable dog insurance and cat insurance policies provide coverage for all hereditary and congenital conditions for the life of the pet as standard, and meet the coverage requirements and budget for pets of all/any age. Petplan pet insurance policies are underwritten by AGCS Marine Insurance Company in the U.S. and by Allianz Global Risks US Insurance Company in Canada. The Allianz Group is rated A+ by A.M. Best (2012). For information, about Petplan pet insurance, visit, read the Petplan “Vets for Pets” Blog, or call 1-866-467-3875.

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Morgan Jones
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