Four local families received new canine family members last month thanks to Diamondcrest Littles and Operation Lotus.

It is no secret that a dog can be the heart of a family, especially a family that has experienced hard times. Thanks to a generous donation by a local breeder and coordination by charity Operation Lotus, four therapy dogs found new homes, for free, with families last month.

FishHawk resident Melanie Brockmeier-Jordy started Operation Lotus after her husband, Leon, passed away in 2012. She has used the charity to help local families in crisis ever since, and the donation of the dogs was something she had always wanted to do.

After receiving her own dream dog—Lennon, a King Charles cavalier—in October, Brockmeier-Jordy decided to make it happen.

“My wish has been to have and train to be a therapy dog to visit hospitals and schools,” she explained. “Through the process of receiving Lennon, the breeder, Diamondcrest Littles, learned about Operation Lotus and our mission.”

Owner Heather Muzzey reached out to Brockmeier-Jordy and offered to donate two puppies from their latest Aussalier litter to Operation Lotus to give to two families who have experienced loss or tragedy and need the love that a dog could bring.

“We were overjoyed to team with them in an effort to find such families,” she said. “When I lost Leon, the unconditional love and comfort that my dog Madisyn brought me is something I will never forget. Dogs know when we are in pain, and as I would cry and grieve, she would snuggle even harder. She just knew I needed her.”

Operation Lotus made a Facebook post looking for nominations and received dozens of emails, all telling deserving stories.

“It really seemed like an impossible choice to make,” explained Brockmeier-Jordy. “As the letters kept coming in, Diamondcrest Littles then told us they wanted to donate all four of the puppies left in the litter if they were cleared by the vet.”

The four families were chosen by Brockmeier-Jordy and received their dogs on Valentine’s Day.

“The families were all overjoyed, and she’s tears of joy as they held their pup for the first time,” she said.

The first dog, Gucci, went to the Baker family, who had recently suffered three stillborn pregnancies. Versace, the male pup, went to Renata Varnadore, a breast cancer survivor and school counselor who plans to bring the dog to school to help thousands of students. The McNeal family, who recently suffered the loss of their father, Matthew, to brain cancer at 34, received Fendi, and Prada was given to Billy Reese, who is medically retired from the U.S. Army and suffers from PTSD. He recently lost his 14-year-old dog, who provided him so much emotional support.

“Donating these puppies to these families has made my heart feel so good,” said Muzzey. “This is as much as a gift to me to be part of this as it is a gift to you.”

To learn more about Operation Lotus, visit, and for more information about Diamondcrest Littles, visit

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Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.