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BRAIN WAVES

Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona Blog

Butters Fund Helps Survivor Say Goodbye to Beloved Pet Companion

While the Butters Fund is known for keeping the tails of furry friends healthy and wagging, sometimes the fund, which relies on donations to run, is called upon for the end-of-life needs of pet parents.

Sean Mune loved Reese with all his heart. They had been inseparable ever since Reese was a pup. As their special bond grew over the years, they became very attuned to each other. However, as she approached the twilight years of her canine life, Sean couldn’t deny the reality of the effects the aging process was having on her. His beloved blind 15-year-old Yorkie/Chihuahua mix wasn’t her normal effervescent self and seemed to be in constant pain.

Considering the powerful impact the Butters Fund has on humans and animals alike, it’s no surprise it attracts interest and accolades. When dealing with a matter as sensitive as the loss of a pet and friend, having that caring personal connection can make all the difference.

Butters Fund Helps Survivor Say Goodbye to Beloved Pet Companion

While the Butters Fund is known for keeping the tails of furry friends healthy and wagging, sometimes the fund, which relies on donations to run, is called upon for the end-of-life needs of pet parents.

Sean Mune loved Reese with all his heart. They had been inseparable ever since Reese was a pup. As their special bond grew over the years, they became very attuned to each other. However, as she approached the twilight years of her canine life, Sean couldn’t deny the reality of the effects the aging process was having on her. His beloved blind 15-year-old Yorkie/Chihuahua mix wasn’t her normal effervescent self and seemed to be in constant pain.

Considering the powerful impact the Butters Fund has on humans and animals alike, it’s no surprise it attracts interest and accolades. When dealing with a matter as sensitive as the loss of a pet and friend, having that caring personal connection can make all the difference.

Nine years earlier, Sean’s love of animals compelled him to leave a career in manufacturing and go to school for animal nursing. With his Applied Science degree from the Denver-based Bel-Rae Institute of Animal Technology in hand, he pursued his true passion as a veterinarian nurse and trainer.

As a survivor of two brain injuries, Sean is no stranger to living with the “invisible disability,” but the effects of his most recent one from 2015 were becoming more severe. He had migraines, sensitivity to light, and also agoraphobia, an anxiety disorder that can make leaving the house difficult due to fearing situations with no clear escape. This made it all the more difficult for him to say goodbye to his four-legged companion.

To make matters worse, he had fallen upon hard financial times and couldn’t afford to take Reese to the vet to put her down peacefully and free her from her suffering.

Fortunately, he was already aware of the Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona. For the past two years, the Alliance had worked to help him establish and maintain routines, making it easier for him to meditate, a practice that has become a priority in his life. He hoped with their network of free resources and programs, they could point him in the right direction.

As it happened, Sean’s caregiver RJ had already reached out to the Alliance and told him about the Butters Fund, which had been created to financially assist survivors of brain injury to care for their pets. “It’s harder to get through each day with no safety net,” Sean admits. “The Brain Injury Alliance has been my net in the past, and I love working with Brittany (Alliance Resource Facilitation Manager), and the whole team, so I was surprised and glad to hear about this program.”

When speaking to Brain Injury Alliance Executive Director Carrie Collins-Fadell, about his and Reese’s situation, Sean’s experience was a positive one. “She’s the nicest person I’d ever dealt with; she was awesome!” he enthuses. He appreciated her willingness to accommodate his schedule, as the only time he was able to talk was at 9:00 p.m. on a Saturday. “She made everything so easy and was always available,” he shares.

When dealing with a matter as sensitive as the loss of a pet and friend, having that caring personal connection can make all the difference. “Carrie understood exactly what I was going through,” Sean says. “Everything got handled so smoothly.”

A part of the effort to make an already difficult process less stressful, the Butters Fund also connected him with the veterinarian services to ease Reese’s pain. “I was very touched that they would do this for me. They even arranged for me to keep her ashes,” he confirms.

Carrie believes the Butters Fund is an essential Brain Injury Alliance service. “Many survivors depend upon their pets to give them comfort and consistency. We’re here to enhance this incredibly powerful connection in many forms.”
Considering the powerful impact the Butters Fund has on humans and animals alike, it’s no surprise it attracts interest and accolades. “It’s easy to see why donating to the Fund is so important and appreciated,” notes Carrie. “Contributing makes everybody feel good.”

As for Reese’s ashes, Sean knows exactly where they’ll go—buried beneath a lemon tree he planted and has been nurturing for years.

For Sean, it’s a personal reminder that “life continues, no matter what.”

If you are interested in helping sustain the Butters Fund for the next brain injury survivor in need, CLICK HERE  or call 1-888-500-9165.

ABOUT BRAIN INJURY ALLIANCE OF ARIZONA

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona (BIAAZ) is the only statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of adults and children with all types of brain injuries through prevention, advocacy, awareness and education. BIAAZ also houses the Arizona Brain Health Resource Center, a collection of educational information and neuro-specific resources for brain injury survivors, caregivers, family members and professionals.

What began in 1983 as a grassroots effort has grown into a strong statewide presence, providing valuable life-long resources and community support for individuals with all types of brain trauma at no charge.

The Brain Injury Alliance of Arizona:

  • Works with Congressional Brain Injury Task Force
  • Houses Arizona Brain Health Resource Center
  • Hosts Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Workgroup
  • Has Statewide Opioid Use Disorder & Cognitive Impairment Response team with peer support, training, and family wraparound services
  • Facilitates Brain Health Advisory Council
  • Manages statewide Neuro Info-Line: 888-500-9165

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