To my friends:
At 4:10 pm on Monday, I arrived home to discover that our house had been broken into and that they had hurt Hershey...she was lying in our back bathroom, unable to move... As I waited over 90 minutes for the police to arrive, I tried to get ahold of Allison, who was having a drama rehearsal, but was unable to. I finally did contact one of her fellow teachers, who went back to the school and got her for me...
Our small group from the seminary stepped up in a BIG way. One couple came over to help me get Hershey loaded in my van and to wait at the house for CSI, and the other couple went and found Allison at work and drove her over to the emergency vet hospital in Irving where Kevin had taken Hershey.
Update from Tuesday Morning (11/13/07):
Here is the morning update:
- Hershey is resting comfortably at the vet. They believe that she will recover from being shot (yes, shot!) in a few days, as the spinal cord is intact and she doesn't seem to have any broken bones. It looks like the bullet bounced off of her spine and fragmented. The next few days will tell... (needless to say, all of her treatment is very expensive, but we're hoping that our homeowner's insurance will cover those costs)
- A company that contracts with AAA came over around midnight & boarded up our broken window...
- We've determined that the following things have been stolen:
- Kevin's Mac Powerbook laptop (praise the Lord that I backed it up over the weekend!...and the thieves did not take the external hard drive!)
- Related to that, I had foolishly left my password manager program open....so if someone really tries, they'll obtain access to all of my online stuff....so I have to change almost 200 passwords.....
- Kevin's high school class ring
- 2 - iPods (a mini & a 30GB video)
- a bluetooth earpiece
- our Canon digital camera (with a bunch of our pics on it)
- Kevin's Laptop Backpack
- the thieves kindly pulled out my class files & syllabii in addition to removing my Greek workbook & textbook -- nice of them
- a nice book bag
- some PS2 video games
- a house key?
- 3 flashlights
- misc from our safe (but it does not look like any valuable documents.)
- Allison's Palm Tungsten E2 PDA
- 3 watches
- a 2 GB flash drive
- Greek vocab cards (left in my backpack)
- We've also determined that they broke several things:
- the window to come in...
- the frame edge of the window next to it....they tried to pry it up with a chisel (& left the chisel behind)
- the window screen
- our safe (using my tools)
- a hammer (trying to break into the safe)
- my Sony PS2 video game console?
- there is a bullet hole in our bedroom wall and in a storage case & in one of our bathroom closet doors....we found bullet slug #2 in the bathroom tonight....
Please keep all of these things--especially Hershey--in your prayers over the next few days...
Update from Tuesday Night (11/13/07):
Hi All -
We just got back from the VCA hospital where Hershey is and thought it would be an appropriate time for an update--it's been an eventful day!
I spent a good portion of the day taking care of financial matters. One of our concerns is that they had access to our financial info, both through my laptop as well as through ransacking our safe. It seems that we're in good shape on those ends of things at this point...
Hershey seems to be gaining some more movement, which is a positive sign. The vet had sent her x-rays off to a vet radiologist, and the radiologist said that things look good. Time will tell whether or not there might be complications, but things look positive at this point. But on a human / animal-lover level, it's very hard to see your beloved dog in discomfort at the vet hospital...
I finally spoke to an adjustor late this afternoon (after almost 23 hours of trying...). She wants to come out on Thursday to look at the damages, etc. But she had some very bad news for us: our homeowner's insurance will not cover any of Hershey's vet bill.... Animals are specifically excluded from coverage.... So it looks like we'll be paying off her vet bill in some other way....
Allison and I are both very drained. In fact, I don't know how she made it through the day of teaching--she got less sleep than I did, and I did not get very much!
We would greatly appreciate your prayers as we continue to walk through this time....
Update from Thursday Night (11/15/07):
Here's the latest in the Peterson saga...
First of all: we brought Hershey home last night, and she seems truly happy to be home. The vet said that at this point they were just performing supportive care (keep her warm, fed, hydrated, drugged, change her bedding after she soils it, roll her over regularly, etc.),
and suggested that we could possibly do that at home. Since a day at the vet hospital runs between $300-$700, we opted to bring her home.... Hershey is still only able to move her back legs a little bit voluntarily, which is an improvement from Monday night. The vet thinks that is due to swelling in her spinal area where the bullet hit her in her neck, and that she will gradually improve over the next 7-21 days. The x-rays all seem to be negative toward anything else, but he did say there is a possibility that there might be a blood clot in the spinal area near the point of impact, but the only remedy for that would be a $1500 MRI (complicated by the bullet fragments in the area) followed by a $2000-3000 surgery, which are beyond our sense of stewardship.... He also suggested that if there is a clot, that it
might slowly dissipate on its own. So we watch, pray, and nurse her as best we can....
The AAA Adjuster came by this morning. I found out that we have a $1380 deductible, & they will reimburse us for replacement value on the items that were destroyed or stolen. They will also pay for a contractor to replace 2 windows (the one the thieves broke in through and the one next to it that they had tried to pry off), repair the bullet holes in the bathroom and bedroom, and to repaint both rooms. But they will not pay for the locks to be re-keyed or replaced (they would only pay for any locks damaged during the incident, and none of ours were....we're just concerned that they might possibly have gotten ahold of a key...). She was a very nice lady and gave me some helpful information about our insurance and possible upgrades to our policy--she even offered to donate some money towards Hershey's vet bill since pets are specifically excluded.
Please continue to pray for our situation. There are some items that are higher priorities for us to replace -- especially the laptop since I need it for my seminary studies. Please pray that the claim would be processed as quickly and as favorably as possible. Please also pray that God would provide for our financial needs. He provided very abundantly for us to move out here in July, for some unexpected car repairs in July, and for our early seminary costs. But the unexpected van repairs of the past couple of months (new head, transmission, etc -- over $3300, $720 of which was refunded to us) have exhausted our reserves. And the out-of-pocket expense on this incident looks like it will be around $4000 (almost $2500 in Hershey treatment + deductible + incidentals)...
Please also pray for Hershey's recovery. I know that on a scale of earth-shattering issues that confront the body of Christ, the recovery of a dog is such a small thing, but it's heavy on our hearts, so we ask for your prayers.... Pray as well that we would be strengthened so as to demonstrate the reality of God's working through a challenging time to the people around us.
Thank you so much...
Monday night (11/19/07) update from the Petersons:
It's been a few days since we gave an update, so it's time to let you know what's been going on with us. Let's start with Hershey.
Hershey has been making some gradual improvement. Yesterday she almost stood all the way up a couple of times before losing her balance and falling. At first we thought that she had lost strength in her hindquarters, but we noticed over the weekend that it's a lateral weakness--she has a lot more strength & control in her left side than in her right side... And just this evening she did actually get all the way up and took about 1.5 steps before losing her balance and falling. We're encouraged!
We had to take her in to the vet on Saturday. We had brought her home on Wednesday night, and she had not had a bowel movement since then. We called the vet, and they said that we needed to bring her in. They were able to induce her to do her thing by way of an enema... So we have 2 requests in relation to Hershey: that she would regain strength & muscle control on her right side so as to be able to move without falling, and that she would be able to poop on her own. The 2nd one is much more urgent--she needs to start pooping on her own by Tuesday evening, or else we'll need to take her back in.
We have received a few unexpected blessings over the past few days. A student at Allison's school collected $350 from other students to help us with our expenses. Another family we know at DTS gave us $600 over the weekend... And we received a $100 check in today's mail from a family that I went to church with in Santa Rosa but that I haven't seen in years... All of these are huge blessings! God has already provided for about 1/4 of our losses... Thank you, Lord!
On the security front, I re-keyed all of our locks yesterday afternoon for only $11. Thank you Ron Thurow, who alerted me on how to do that. We're also planning on getting an alarm system installed, which we hope will be an effective deterrent... If any of you have any recommendations on that level, let me know...
We appreciate your continued prayers on our behalf. We greatly need them and greatly appreciate them!
Thanksgiving (11/22/07) update from the Petersons:
Happy Thanksgiving to all of our friends! We trust that today was a day in which you reflected on the ways that God has blessed you and give thanks to HIm for that.
I am reminded of the words of George Washington in his proclamation that designated the Thanksgiving holiday for the United States: "...we may then all unite in rendering unto him [Almighty God] our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection..." Allison and I have much to be thankful for!
First of all, Hershey continues to improve physically. In our Monday night update, we specifically asked for prayer that she would start having bowel movements, and God has answered. Beginning Tuesday night, she has been pooping regularly. I know that this probably sounds wrong, but we praise the Lord for her poop! She's also getting around better, standing up several times each day and taking a few steps--or at least trying to do so. Just this morning she walked about 12 feet--we're thankful!
Secondly, we found out yesterday that the police had identified one of our intruders. One of the fingerprints that they got was of a 15 year old girl named Julia who is already in Juvenile Hall for another burglary. There were more people involved, but that's the only positive id to this point. It's kind of shocking that a 15 year old girl would be involved in not only breaking into a house, but shooting a dog along the way....
Thirdly, we had an alarm system installed at our house yesterday. Now all of our doors and windows are wired, and hopefully just the knowledge of that will serve as a deterrent to any future potential burglars. We felt that this was a necessary step since we heard that a home that has been burglarized has about an 80% likelihood of being burglarized again.... It gives a greater peace of mind for about $35 / month...
Fourthly, we had the blessing of spending the day with my best friend, Matt Montgomery, and his family. Matt and I have been best friends now for about 25 years, and it's a wonderful blessing to see him on a regular basis at Dallas Theological Seminary (the last time that we saw each other on a regular basis was when we shared a condo 15 years ago). Knowing that Allison and I were unable to travel to visit Allison's family as a result of Hershey's injuries and recovery, the Montgomerys invited us over to their home where we enjoyed a sumptuous feast and great fun and fellowship.
Fifthly, one of our neighbors, whom we met as a result of passing out flyers about our incident, gave us a smoked turkey yesterday. He serves as a police officer for Highland Park, which is an upscale enclave in the middle of Dallas. Each year, Sonny Bryan's BBQ gives turkeys to all of the HP police officers. He received his and gave it to us, since it was too much for he and his mom. We were blessed by his kindness.
Those are some things for which we're thankful this Thanksgiving. If we took the time, we could list a bunch more, but I hope that you're encouraged!
We would appreciate your continued prayers for us and for Hershey. Although Hershey's showing definite signs of improvement, she still has a ways to go on her road to recovery. Please continue to pray for her. We also would appreciate your prayers for our financial needs that are a result of this incident. We're encouraged by God's faithful provision for us so far, but we're going to have some pretty serious bills over the next month or so...and God has provided for only a portion of those bills up to this point....
Thanks for your continued prayers and support through these challenging days. We have felt both in very real ways...
Happy Thanksgiving, and may God richly bless you!
Kevin & Allison