6 min read

Ellen Gives Couple $10,000 To Help Save Their Sick Dog

Pearl the pit bull has been sick since she was young, but she's not about to give up.

Just months before their wedding, Jim Raschella and his bride-to-be, Jen Marion, have spent a total of $16,000 on Pearl - and now, Ellen DeGeneres has given them all some much-needed help.

Pearl is one of the couple's four rescue dogs. But before she found her forever home with them, Pearl had experienced more pain than anyone should have to endure.

She had lost an entire litter of puppies in utero. She was emaciated and suffering from infection. Her previous owner abandoned her at at a veterinarian's office when she was just 1 year old, according to her GoFundMe page.

Pearl became depressed after losing her babies. But when a litter of puppies in need of a mother arrived at the shelter, Pearl found comfort in caring for them like they were her own, and began to heal emotionally.

Raschella and Marion eventually became foster parents to Pearl through North Carolina's Love Mutts Rescue, and it didn't take long for the couple to fall in love with her. She quickly transformed from from a shy and troubled pup into a loud, vibrant one.

They soon realized Pearl would be a part of their family forever.

But that wasn't the end of Pearl's journey.

A year after her adoption, Pearl began to lose weight rapidly, and no local veterinarian was able to figure out what was wrong with her. It wasn't until Pearl was taken to the NC State Veterinary Hospital that the mystery behind her latest ailment was solved: Pearl suffered from exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a lack of digestive enzymes in the body that can lead to issues like weight loss and malnutrition.

Thankfully this deficiency, along with its symptoms, was treatable and Pearl was able to return home to her family.

However, Pearl was home for less than a week before she had to return to the hospital - this time for a treatable, but severe, bacterial infection.

Today, Pearl is in good spirits, gaining weight and finally out of the hospital. But, as one can imagine, caring for the pit bull hasn't been cheap. Marion is an elementary school teacher and her students understood this - the children came together make a lemonade stand, raising $120 toward Pearl's care.

The heartwarming gesture reached "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and the couple was invited to make an appearance. Sadly, since Pearl wasn't allowed to fly with her parents in the plane cabin as a non-service dog, she was unable to make the trip to California.

Still, Pearl, along with her parents, were the recipients of one amazing gift - $10,000 from the show, which will be going to Pearl's vet bills as well as the couple's honeymoon fund.

"We had decided from the very beginning that as long as she was not in pain and she was going to continue to fight, that we would fight for her," Raschella told DeGeneres on the show.

Marion added to the sentiment. "Our dogs are our babies, so it was never any big decision," she said.

Raschella and Marion's wedding now is set for June 25 and their beloved pup Pearl, who's fought so hard and survived through so much, is all set to be the prettiest bridesmaid.

Watch Raschella and Marion talk more about Pearl on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show":