For being only 15 years old, Quinn Scharn has faced some tough life challenges.
When he was just a baby he had a soft tissue cancer in his abdomen. He endured surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
Later, as a 10-year old, he was diagnosed with bone cancer. In 2015, his right hip and leg had to be amputated.
On the day of that surgery, Quinn had a special request of his mom, Teresa Howell.
“He asked for a three-legged dog,” she recalled.
It took two years, but in 2017 Quinn finally got his wish. And his name is Logan.
Howell, who lives in Napa with her son, said that in March 2017 she saw a Facebook post from Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter that said the facility had a dog with three legs.
The group posted a video of Logan saying he was having a hard time getting adopted because he was missing a leg. One of Howell’s friends had seen the video and told her about it.
“And the next day, we went to Sacramento and we brought home Logan,” said Howell.
“I was pretty excited and happy,” said Quinn. From the moment they first met, “I did have a connection to him,” Quinn said of his dog.
His mom explained that after his treatment for cancer and amputation, Quinn grew more and more fearful – in particular that his cancer would return.
“Having Logan has really comforted him and made him feel more safe,” said Howell. Her son now has “somebody that actually understands him.”
“He’s just like me,” Quinn said in a video posted on Facebook. “We are both missing a leg. He’s been my best friend basically. He knows how I feel. We’re made for each other. I just finished beating cancer and losing my leg. He’s helped me overcome a lot of things.”
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Once her son got Logan, the fear went away, said Howell. “Logan has a lot to do with that.”
Adopting a dog “changes your life,” said Quinn.
The two are separated only during the school day when Quinn attends school at Napa Valley Independent Studies. He’s a 10th grader at the school. Logan isn’t an official service dog, so he stays at home.
Logan has brought other good things to the family – and the animal care community.
Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award.
In 2017, Howell wrote to the group about Quinn’s story and to their delight, it was selected by the Foundation. As a result, the Front Street animal shelter received a $115,000 grant from the foundation.
Quinn’s story went viral, appearing on the “Today Show,” People magazine, the Daily Mail, the Sacramento Bee and SFGate.com, among others.
Quinn said the funny thing is that when he walks Logan, the most common thing people notice is Logan missing a leg, not Quinn missing a leg. “A lot of times they do only notice the dog,” he said.
The accolades haven’t stopped. Last week, Quinn and his mom were invited to the 2019 Petco Foundation Lifesaving Awards where the Petco Foundation shared their story yet again. Logan, now about 5 years old, accompanied the two.
Helping bring that grant to the Sacramento shelter is “very exciting,” said Howell. It turns out that a Petco Foundation grant saved Logan’s life when he was first brought to the shelter.
“We don’t know what happened” to Logan, said Howell. He came to the shelter with a badly broken and infected leg. The shelter had to amputate.
In a bit of serendipity, the PetCo Foundation had previously given Front Street Animal Shelter a grant specifically for life-saving medical procedures. “They used that money to save Logan’s life,” said Howell.
“The fact that we were able to get them another grant was just pretty cool,” she said. “It’s come full circle.”