Angel Fund Helps Rescue Pet Owner on Disability

Mocha AF McDadeWhen Nancy McDade learned late in 2013, that Mocha – her four-year-old chocolate Labrador – needed surgery, she knew what she needed to do.

The former merchant teller at a bank was unemployed and living on disability payments and she immediately set to work to find ways to pay for an operation that was well beyond her means. “I wanted to do everything I could for my dog but money was definitely a factor because I didn’t have any for this. I contacted several agencies that help provide funding and the veterinarian [Dr. Sean Kay of Macy & Thomas Veterinary Hospital in Whittier] suggested Angel Fund.

“Dr. Kay is a generous and caring person,” she said. “He knew I didn’t have a lot of money and he discounted some of the services he had control over. But the surgeon who would come in expected full payment.”

The staff at Macy & Thomas helped Nancy with an Angel Fund application. And Dr. Kay, from the very beginning, told her: “We’ll just assume you’re going to get it.” She did. Angel Fund provided $500 and Macy & Thomas helped with $500 more. Her other efforts raised $700 to $900 from about half a dozen agencies.

Nancy had first noticed Mocha favoring her right rear leg and limping. So she took her to see Dr. Kay. An x-ray showed a torn anterior cruciate ligament. “It was torn but not fully detached and they tried doing laser treatments to see if it would heal. But it was torn too badly.” She was given the option of doing nothing. But that could have led eventually to amputation and it could have caused problems in the leg on the left side.

So, Nancy said, the choice was easy. “A bird should fly and a dog should run,” she said. “There was a beauty about Mocha, like a race horse, when she ran. She jumped over short little fences, like garden fences. There was beauty in the way she did it. And I wanted her to be able to do it again.”

So Mocha got the surgery. Depressed after five or six days in the hospital, she came home to recuperate. Under orders to keep her in a small space so she could heal, Nancy said she and son Jacob, who lives with her, “had barriers all over the front room. But at one point I took her back to the hospital because her leg was swollen and I was told that she was standing on it too much. She needed just enough space to stand up and turn around and we had been giving her too much.”

Mocha’s recovery took about four months. Today, she “is running around again like a crazy woman. She’s very happy. She’s a very well behaved dog and she is very protective of me. Nobody is allowed on my front porch – well, she thinks it’s her front porch. She follows me from room to room. Sometimes it’s like am I protecting you or are you protecting me? Because she’s always right next to me and fully alert.”

Nancy is grateful to Angel Fund, Macy & Thomas and the other donors. “They helped save my dog’s life – not that it was a life threatening condition. But this [surgery] gave her quality of life. . . . Wonderful!”

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