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Monarch’s Intensive In-Home Service helps mom, daughter and dog find solutions that work

Sarah Revel with dogGina Revels’ daughter, Sarah, faces multiple health challenges because of a traumatic brain injury at birth.

Despite recent challenges, Marlie Toole, of Monarch's Intensive In-Home Service (IIHS) program in Lincolnton, was able to offer assistance, and mother and daughter are living in an environment where Sarah can continue to make progress.

Sarah, who turns 17 soon, has a great love for animals. She has an especially strong bond with Mystic, a young Malamute-Husky mix.

“Whenever Sarah has an outburst, Mystic is right there,” her mom said. “It just calms her down. It always has.”

That’s why Revels was keen to keep Mystic, who weighs in at about 35 pounds. The problem was that the place they were living wouldn’t allow dogs over 25 pounds.

“Sarah couldn’t get past having to get rid of Mystic,” Revels recalled

Fortunately, a friend had Mystic certified as a therapy dog for Sarah. At that point, Toole was able to step in and help.

“They were living in an unstable environment,” Toole said, “and we felt Sarah was not going to make progress.”

Toole got to work on paperwork for housing assistance. She met with real estate agents and took Revels to look at apartments. She arranged for assistance to pay their first month’s rent and to have the electricity turned on.

“I encouraged her that she could do it,” Toole said of Revels.

“I was in a very bad relationship for four years,” Revels shared. She and her daughter stayed with family and friends until Toole helped them find a place to live. "We had to have a place of our own.”

Revels found a better job as a manager at a fast-food restaurant, and developed a new-found self-confidence, Toole said.

“Things don’t usually happen that fast,” Toole said, “but luckily it did. Everything worked out. They’re much happier, and are living in a more stable environment. It’s a good feeling.”

“I can’t begin to explain how wonderful Marlie is,” Revels exclaimed.

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