816 North

Community bands together to help a special dog


When Debbie Pack of Edgerton, Mo., adopted Stanley, a 6-month-old English bulldog, she knew he needed expensive surgery to fix a bilateral cleft lip that left him with tooth problems and holes in his sinus passages.

She turned to Debra Manfield, owner of Four Paws Pantry & Spa in Olathe, who had helped her with her bulldogs’ finicky nutritional needs in the past.

Manfield took to social media and sent an e-blast to subscribed customers to spread the word while setting up a donation jar in her store. Within just 20 days, the jar was filled with $2,000 — enough to support Stanley for surgery this spring.

The Olathe community’s generosity overwhelms Pack.

“Every time I went to Four Paws to check, it was not just $20 or little amounts,” Pack said. “There were amounts in the hundreds.

“I thought for sure we would be trying to raise money all the way up until Stanley went in to be rechecked” on March 18, Pack said. “I thought we were never going to make it. It was an amazing feeling to see the outreach of people wanting to stand up to Stanley and give.”

While Pack appreciates the community’s help and credits Manfield for having a big hand in raising money for Stanley, Manfield notes that Pack deserves a lot of the praise for wanting to help Stanley.

“She was the catalyst for all of this,” Manfield said. “She is the one who did all of the groundwork.”

Pack, a preschool teacher, met Manfield when a veterinarian suggested that Pack should take her then 2-year-old bulldog to Four Paws Pantry & Spa, where Manfield and her employees aid dogs with natural pet food nutrition, in addition to bathing and grooming.

Pack and her family own a farm in Edgerton, and have brought in dogs in need of care. In November, shortly before adopting Stanley, the Packs had spent some money on two wild bulldogs in need of medical attention.

When Pack adopted Stanley, she also took in Oliver, who is deaf and is Stanley’s twin brother. Struggling to make ends meet financially, Pack had to create a plan to allow surgery to become possible for Stanley.

To help start a fundraiser for Stanley, Pack began by hosting a bulldog kissing booth with Stanley and Oliver last month at a couple of local stores in Platte City. But Pack was still in a bind financially. That is when she turned to Manfield.

With money successfully raised, Stanley is expected to have surgery in the spring.

Now Pack is promoting awareness of special dogs like Stanley and Oliver.

Pack reached out to Smithville, Mayor Brian Fullmer and the Smithville City Council to ask for help in teaching others about acceptance and bringing a local awareness day to animals with cleft lips and palates.

Fullmer and his staff were receptive to the idea and on board, allowing Stanley and Oliver to meet children in schools. Fullmer and his staff agreed to create a local awareness day for special dogs in Smithville in the future. The day has not been set.

The two British bulldogs spend time in the community showing kids that special dogs born with issues are no different from normal dogs.

“We want to teach life lessons of compassion and kindness,” Pack said. “And if we are not doing it ourselves, we have no right to tell children to do it.”

As for Stanley, he is set to meet with a surgeon at the Animal Companion Dentistry in Lenexa on March 18 and is expected to have surgery the following week. When he recovers, Pack wants Stanley to become a therapy dog and work with kids with special needs in classrooms.