Making Smiles Happen: Petland Novi
Fullfilling Matthew’s Wish
In honor of Matthew Dugas, Petland Novi will donate 100% of proceeds of a Yorkie puppy to Mitochondrial Disease research. The first Yorkie was gifted to Matthew in 2014. Matthew just had a scare at the hospital and his family was grateful for his discharge. To cheer him up, Matthew’s mom took him to Petland. Matthew had always dreamed of a dog to sit with him in his wheelchair and he was so excited to visit the pets at Petland!
Please read Matthew’s story, told by his mom, below. Since Matthew’s passing, Petland Novi has donated a Yorkie puppy in honor of Matthew’s memory every April.
“I’m completely blown away and at a loss for words, anyone whom knows me, knows that NEVER happens! I know you all have heard me brag about Petland Novi, but it will never be close to the amount of recognition they truly deserve! This pet store isn’t just a store, it’s a family. They aren’t just employees, they are angels. Everyone there changed our life’s and continue to on a daily basis. Please, if you want to meet some amazing people and find your perfect furry forever friend, they are definitely the place to go! This month they have a beautiful yorkie they are selling with 100% of the money going to Matthew’s Wish!!!! Do you realize how huge that is!!! How many children that will help!!!! I’m telling you, they are angels! Allow me to share just a smidge of what they have done for our family.
Matthew had just been discharged from a nationwide hospital. We were supposed to have a simple motility test performed. However, nothing about it turned out to be simple. Matthew ended up in the PICU fighting for his life. He was so ill that the staff informed us that his siblings should come visit, that it may be their last time to see their brother. Matthew being the miracle he has always been, showed them differently then what science did! We were blessed to be able to be discharged. We had a very sick Lil boy, but, he was alive! Matthew had always dreamt of having a small dog to sit with him in his wheelchair and go with him to his infusions. Matthew had an appointment with the oncologist team and the prognosis wasn’t good. After the appointment Matthew and I both feeling a little defeated, I decided to do something to try and make him forget the appointment. I told Matthew we were going to Petland to see their puppies!!!!! Matthew’s eyes became huge!!! He was so happy.
After looking and holding a few pups, we found the perfect little girl. It was a beautiful, heathy, happy, little yorkie! When Matthew held her she would just curl up in his arms and lick him! Now when I held her, she would wanna play and chew on my hand! She knew exactly what Matthew needed and she gave him that! Matthew named his little princess, Jewels! O how bad he wanted her and how deeply he fell in love with her. I didn’t have the money to make it happen. I was devastated. I wanted to give Matthew everything he wanted. I wanted to be able to make him smile! I couldn’t though. I asked Petland if they would hold Jewels till the end of the night for me to try and come up with the money. They assured me they would. Later that night I called to tell them I was still working on getting the money and if there was anyway to leave some of the amazing things you get with your new dog off for a cheaper cost. I knew it was a great deal for everything you were getting, I just couldn’t afford it.
Petland called me back a little later and said could I bring Matthew and come back to the store. I explained I hadn’t had all the money together yet. They then told me, â€œwe are giving Matthew Jewels for FREE!!!! What!!!! Seriously!!!! You guys are giving us Jewels!!!! They told me they wanted to do this! As the tears streamed down my face, my hands shaken, I hurried to load Matthew’s wheelchair up and get him in the car. When we got there nothing could have prepared us!!! Every single employee greeted us! They were all smiling and happy to see us!!!! They went and got Jewels and placed her in Matthew’s lap! They went on to tell him that she was his!!!! I watched as Matthew tear up, trying his best not to break and let anyone see him crying!
The employees then told Matthew, “come on, we got to go shopping for her now!!! Matthew anything you want for Jewels, it’s yours for FREE!!!!!” When Matthew grabbed a couple things and in a very soft voice thanked them, they were like, “O No! We are shopping Matthew!!!” Before I knew it, the employees and Matthew had two carts filled with everything a dog would ever need throughout its entire life!!!! Remind you, it was all FREE too!!!! The employees went on to tell me how they were also giving us FREE food for life!!!! FREE vet care!!!!! I couldn’t believe my ears!!!! The employees all sat and talked with Matthew, making him feel like he was the most special boy in the world!!!!! They all were held over, but they never seemed to care. At this point the store even the whole mall was closed, but again, they didn’t care!
They just made Matthew feel like he was the only thing that mattered! They just kept talking and laughing at all his jokes!!! They didn’t know what they were doing for him that night, but, I truly believe they are the whole reason we were able to have another 6 months with Matthew! They lit a fire in him like I never seen! They gave him a reason to keep fighting!!! Jewels brought Matthew so much happiness and so many laughs! But, Petland, they gave our family TIME! I’ll never forget when Jewels wanted to hide her food, she’d dig in Matthew’s curl and bury it!!!! I’d try to make her stop, but Matthew would tell me to let her! He use to love when she’d do that!!! I don’t know what I’d do without Jewels. So many nights when I’m falling apart, missing Matthew more than I can bare, Jewels will come up in my lap and lick my tears and cry with me. She will place her head under my neck and whine. I swear, that little princess is one of the best things to ever happen to me! I need her! She keeps me fighting now!
After Matthew passed away we had a celebration of life. We asked everyone to wear superhero clothing or star wars in remembrance of our hero! You could image my surprise when Petland sent me a photo of everyone of their employees wearing superhero shirts that day!!! I once again broke down in tears!!! I couldn’t believe they would do this for my hero! For me! For my family! It was such a blessing to us all! They then took it a step further too! They asked all their customers to come in with a superhero shirt in remembrance of Matthew!!!! Talk about giving my heart the biggest hug ever!!!
A few days later Petland contacted me and said they collected donations for Matthew’s Wish. They asked if I’d be able to stop by the store. They also said they had something for Matthew’s siblings! The kids and I went there and I was blown away by their love, empathy, sympathy, understanding, and just pure compassion! They ended up donating a very large sum of money to Matthew’s wish along with a very generous gift card for the kids to go hang out at Dave and busters!!!! The kids were so excited!!!!! Their lives had been completely turned upside down and shattered into a million pieces. That gift card allowed them to just be kids and for a few hours be able to forget how much their hearts were aching! I watched as they laughed and played and were able to just be kids! Petland gave that to them!!!
I was thinking Petland would forget about us and we wouldn’t hear from them any longer, boy was I wrong! Petland has NEVER forgot about Matthew! Every year in the month of April since Matthew’s passing, Petland has sold a yorkie and donated all the money to Matthew’s Wish!!!! This store is a miracle and these employees are truly a miracle!!!! They have and continue to do more for Matthew’s Wish then anyone will ever know!
Not only do they consistently support Matthew’s Wish, they call me, text me, FB message me, just to make sure I’m ok!!!! You talk about an angel in disguise! I wish everyone could see how truly amazing this group of people are! They are life changers! They are hero’s! They are angels! They have and will forever touch my heart! Randy Horowitz you are truly a blessing in our life’s! Thank you!!!”
If you are interested in supporting Mitochondrial Disease research or the Yorkie puppy in Matthew’s memory, please call Petland Novi at 248-671-6435.