Not even two weeks after a Fremont puppy mill dog with cancer received a life-saving surgery, her foster mom passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday morning.
Beth Risenburg, 31, died in her sleep, leaving behind her husband and their three dogs, including Sweetie Pie, the abuse case rescue.
Risenburg put her heart into fundraising for Sweetie Pie after she discovered a tumor on the dog's leg. At the local animal hospital, a veterinarian determined Sweetie had breast and skin cancer and would need a $1,500 surgery.
Sweetie Pie was one of 35 animals rescued from unlivable conditions at a former breeder's home last July. The Humane Society of Sandusky County suspected Sweetie's tumors developed because she was never spayed and had been used for breeding.
After WNWO aired Sweetie Pie and Risenburg's story, the pair received an outpour of support nationally and raised enough to pay for the surgery. Sweetie Pie had her first surgery in February, but had to go back to the Oregon Animal Hospital at the end of March to remove one final tumor.
"We will continue to do all we can for Sweetie Pie, she was Beth's baby but right now I need to figure out how to help take care of my daughters final expenses?" wrote Maureen Spaulding, Risenburg's mother, in the Save Sweetie Pie Facebook group. "Who ever plans on burying their own little girl? I am just lost."
Spaulding set up an online account to receive donations toward her daughter's funeral expenses. Both Risenburg and her husband were receiving disability benefits from the government, making it difficult for her family to pay for the funeral.
"We made no plans for her passing because no one ever thought it would happen until she was an old woman!" Spaulding wrote.
"I need $15000.00 to bury my baby and have raised about 800.00."
Risenburg's funeral will be held Sujkowski Funeral Home Northpointe in Toledo. The visitation will take place on Monday, April 9 from 2 to 8 p.m. Services will be held Tuesday, April 10 at 10:30 a.m.
"In the last 24 hours I have learned what hell really is but I have heard some wonderful things about my baby, most I knew a few I didn't and I can't believe that I was lucky enough to have this bright burning angel for my very own baby girl," Spaulding wrote.
Sweetie Pie remains with Risenburg's family and they will fight to keep her after the hoarding case is resolved in court.
More info: Beth Risenburg Funeral account