Let it be known: one special bulldog in Platte County continues to help his owners spread a message of acceptance, one that might reach Washington, D.C. soon if their hard work pays off. Deborah Pack stopped by the office last week to provide me with an update on Stanley, and apparently, the English bulldog has remained busy since I last saw him. Deborah carried some hardware with her, and I could tell by her enthusiastic smile that she made progress.
To provide some background, The Citizen covered Stanley’s story in January.
The Pack family wanted to spread his story and the need for help from the public. Deborah, her husband Ronnie and their 17-year-old daughter Jordain wanted to raise the $2,000 needed for a corrective surgery needed to fix Stanley’s sinus issues, cleft palate and excess teeth.
Area communities responded to help the bulldog, born with troublesome birth defects but saved from euthanization by the Packs and their caring nature.
Money raised, the Packs sought out the surgery, although an initial opinion indicated that it was no longer necessary. Deborah Pack decided to seek out a second opinion and BluePearl Veterinary Partners of Overland Park, Kan. not only disagreed but eventually opted to do the procedure at no cost — so long as the Packs continued to use Stanley’s story to raise awareness of those with differences.
You see, the Packs use their special needs animals in community outreach to try and teach life lessons to children.
That’s included an orphaned goat, adopted ducklings and now five bulldogs, four of which were born deaf. Oliver, one of Stanley’s brothers who is deaf, also remains in the Packs care, and has learned sign language.
But Stanley’s physical differences create bigger issues.
“A lot of people don’t accept that,” Deborah Pack said in a January interview. “Some people just stare at him; other people won’t come up and touch him. They’ll touch (Oliver), but they won’t touch him.”
Stanley’s corrective surgery lasted about an hour and a half, and the vets at BluePearl repaired holes in his sinuses, took out teeth and fixed the palate. He spent a night in direct care, but Deborah said that staff continued to call and check up during the recovery process.
That went great by the way, and vets say that Stanely can expect to live a normal lifespan for a bulldog. Some of that remains speculation because so little data exists on bulldogs with these type of challenges because most of them are euthanized shortly after birth.
Deborah Pack never accepted that, and she also doesn’t take, “No,” for an answer from what I can gather.
Residents of Edgerton, Mo., the Packs reached out to area municipalities, and the City of Smithville adopted April 21, 2015 as “Stand Up for Stanley Day.” Edgerton, Camden Point and Kearney followed suit with others possibly ready to do the same.
Deborah first showed me that proclamation received from Smithville mayor Brian Fullmer, who honored the family and Stanley at a recent city council meeting and even posed for pictures.
But that wasn’t all to the story. Deborah kept up that smile and turned around a large frame she brought with her to The Citizen office. That one contained a proclamation from Missouri governor Jay Nixon declaring March 24, 2015 as “Stand Up for Stanley Day” for the entire state.
For some reason, different entities want to separate the dates, but that’s not the point.
Now, Deborah, who lobbied at the state level for recognition and even wrote some of the language for the official document, plans to continue her work at the national level. It’s a pretty cool effort, bringing attention to one very special dog in Platte County. I certainly admire the persistence.
Oh, and that $2,000 donated from the public?
Deborah hasn’t forgot about the money nor those who helped. It currently sits in a bank account, and she plans to pay those donations forward to other animals in need. The Packs didn’t necessarily like asking for help, but it’s always been about the help for them.
I look forward to the next installment of this story and who else might benefit from Stanley’s tale.
Ross Martin is publisher of The Citizen. He may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter: @Citizen_Ross.