Vickroy: Did Mystic find help, or did help find Mystic?
Donna Vickroy email@example.com | (708) 633-5982 April 27, 2012 8:18PM
Mystic was found, half-starved, eating birdseed on the porch of St. Anne's Church's rectory in Hazel Crest.
Updated: May 30, 2012 8:03AM
Maybe there is no such thing as coincidence, but sometimes you can’t help but chalk things up to divine intervention.
Back in March, members of the Blue Crew, a spirit club at Maria High School on Chicago’s Southwest Side, chose a community service project that was close to their hearts.
“All of us love animals,” said Brianna Burks, a senior from Oak Lawn. “We’re always looking for ways to give back, and this time we decided to help a dog in need.”
They reached out to Sue Naiden, president and founder of Trio Animal Foundation in Chicago. The charitable organization strives to give every animal the care and love it deserves.
The girls found out what kind of supplies Trio needed and then got to work on a fundraiser.
On April 2, members of the Blue Crew presented Naiden with five large bags of blankets and towels they’d collected as well as $335 raised from a bake sale.
In return, Naiden promised to use the money in a fashion that students at the all-girls high school could appreciate.
“She told us that she’d look for a female dog for us to help,” Brianna said.
Little did Naiden know, she’d be able to deliver on her promise that very evening,
At 6:45 that night, Gary Michael, a deacon at St. Anne’s Church in Hazel Crest, spied an emaciated dog eating birdseed on the porch of the rectory. He alerted Pastor Ralph Zwirn, who was getting ready for a reconciliation service in the church at 7.
There’s a fence around the back yard but Zwirn said the animal was so thin, she was able to squeeze through the rails.
“She was so emaciated,” Zwirn said. “But she was so lovable, she came right to us. She wasn’t afraid at all.”
Zwirn was late for the service because he was bringing food and water to the dog. No one seemed to mind, though.
In fact, when he told parishioners at the service about the stray who made her way to the church, one offered to contact a rescue agency where she volunteered.
Turned out, Maureen McDermott Carlson was not only a volunteer at Trio Foundation but also a graduate of Maria High School.
She contacted Naiden, who, in turn, contacted Carla Comiskey, a guidance counselor at Maria who oversees the Blue Crew.
Naiden had the dog examined by a veterinarian who diagnosed demodectic mange, a skin condition caused by a parasite mite. The animal’s fur was oily, her skin itchy, her paws inflamed.
Comiskey relayed the information to the students, who immediately embraced the animal’s story and organized a vote to give her a name.
“Mystic,” which also is the name of the high school’s mascot, won.
“It all happened so quick,” said Lecretia Windham, a senior from Chicago’s Englewood community.
Mystic is being cared for in a foster program run by Project Rescue Chicago. Director Bridgid Nolan said the dog, a mixed breed, received her final medicated dip for the mange last week.
“She’s doing so well,” Nolan said. “She’s such a happy little thing, she’ll get adopted out for sure. She’s a doll.”
The money the Blue Crew raised was enough to pay for Mystic’s treatments, vaccines and eventual spaying.
“Those girls should be super-proud,” Nolan said.
She added the dog likely will be available for adoption within the next month.
Before she goes to a forever home, however, Naiden promises to bring Mystic to St. Anne’s and to Maria High School.
“I believe that divine intervention played a part in Mystic’s fate,” Naiden said. “To think that I had visited a Catholic high school in the morning and promised the girls that I would put their donation toward the medical care of an injured female dog, and by the evening there was an injured female dog on the steps of a church rectory on the South Side of Chicago.
“You just can’t make that stuff up,” Naiden said.
“There are so many connections in this story,” Comiskey said.
Lecretia said the story is proof that the students at Maria take their school motto seriously.
“Our motto is: Maria will make a difference,” Lecretia said. “We have made a difference.”