13 years ago my wife and I adopted our beagle pup Riley from the streets of Baltimore, MD. This was before we were even engaged and he was our best friend and our everything as he led us around our new city on the East Coast. He took the time to stop and smell everything and make new friends everywhere he went in "Charm City"!
Fast forward 3 years and we moved to Michigan, after an amazing weekend at the lake where Riley was swimming non-stop and having the time of his life... It happened, he had his first back injury and was paralyzed from the mid-section back by the time we woke up Monday Morning.
Rushing from vet, to emergency vet, we ended up at the top Animal Neurology Center in Michigan. Riley had a slipped disk, it compressed his spinal cord, and he had fluid on his spinal cord.
He was in terrible pain, would probably never walk again, and had no control over his bowels. The options were to have emergency surgery or put our little guy down at 3 years old and he had no other health issues.
It was a no-brainer until we saw the estimated cost of the quote, physical therapy, and medication. We were fresh out of college and just had our wedding, we didn't even have the 10k in the bank to pay for the surgery...
Riley was in our arms licking our faces and giving us that beagle look. There was no way we were putting our little man down without a fight.
The wallet opens up and every credit card we have comes out! The life-saving surgery goes amazing, Riley recovers like the tough little man he is, and we had our best friend back to normal in less than 4 weeks.
This has played out 3 more times in Riley's life, with 2 additional surgeries. Throughout this process, we have met so many amazing pet parents and dogs who had to be put down due to the cost of the surgeries.
It is heartbreaking and we were determined to do something about it.
Candles to the rescue, Riley loved doing the smell tests on the scents and we started Riley's Candles from our garage. Every dollar we made from selling candles and donations from our amazing dog friends went back into helping pay for dog wheelchairs, surgeries, physical therapy, etc.
Can a small business have a huge social impact?
I invite you to watch a video of the parents and the pups of some of the little ones we were able to help. There is so much love and joy in the eyes of everyone, it is absolutely amazing.
Follow us along for this ride, as we take this from a passion project to a full-blown social impact-based company around the world. It's going to be a fun ride!
Thank you to our Riley's Candles family, we love you all! The quote we are living by this month comes from the great Arthur Ashe:
“Start where you are. Do what you can. Use what you have.”