In January, 2014, Juli Bill was struggling to make ends meet. She was a nursing student at Long Beach State and paid the family bills with a part-time job at Disneyland and child support payments. Juli has two children – an 18-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son. An animal person, she has two dogs – an American Bulldog and a Weimaraner – and a horse that is boarded in Whittier.
So it was not welcome news when she learned that Hades, HHa 130-pound bulldog, needed knee surgery.
“I noticed that he was having some issues standing up in the morning when I took him outside,” she said in an interview. “I thought at first that he was just a little stiff. But when he had to go out in the middle of the night and he couldn’t get up and started dragging his rear end – that really concerned me. That’s when I took him to the vet.”
She went to Los Alamitos Animal Hospital. “It was actually both of his knees,” she said. “We did one and now we have to do the other.” But that first cruciate repair surgery was more than Juli’s budget could handle. Her daughter was about to graduate from high school and there were extra bills to pay. She set up a website about Hades and got about $1,000 in donations from friends “and a lot of different people.”
Dr. Claudia Horvath, the hospital’s medical director, told Juli about Angel Fund. “If it weren’t for them (Angel Fund), I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “There was no way I could afford the surgery on my own.” Angel Fund and the hospital each contributed $500. The staff at the hospital, Juli said, was fantastic. “They did everything for me. Everyone was so helpful and informative.”
After the surgery, she said, Hades had to be sedated before she could take him home to her house in Lakewood. Today, he is a happy dog – but he limps because the other knee is still unrepaired.
Juli is now planning his second surgery. She put her nursing education on hold and has left her Disneyland job, which paid just a bit more than minimum wage, for a full-time job at the California Department of Motor Vehicles. “It’s a good job. I have fun there, although it’s not my calling,” she said. But it pays the bills and she has been saving for Hades second surgery. She will do it when she can take vacation time so she’ll be at home during the initial stages of his recovery.
In June, 2013, Rebecca Martinez noticed a small dog running in the middle of the street near her Glendora home. “I tried to get her for a day and a half and I finally got two of my girl friends to come over and we were able to catch her,” she said in an interview.
“We took her to a local animal shelter. And we posted pictures of her and tried to find her owner. After a few days, the people at the shelter said it would be best if we took her home because she had a heart condition. If we had left her there, they would have had to put her to sleep. So we took her home.”
And, she said, “we tried to adopt her out but nobody wanted her with that [heart] issue. So we took her to a few different veterinarians and then we took her to a cardiologist to see exactly what was wrong. It’s been a long road.”
Through all this, the dog the family named Peatree was stealing the hearts of Rebecca, husband Jose and their two children. “Oh, yeah, I was attached to her already,” Rebecca said, “I just didn’t want to admit it.” The five-pound Chihuahua mix was one to three years old at the time, veterinarians said.
“I’m always picking up animals and I never had a problem finding an owner or being able to help a dog get adopted out,” Rebecca said. “And this was the only one I’ve ever been stuck with. And we love her to death! She came to us for a reason. She knew we weren’t going to let anything bad happen to her.”
There were a couple of surprises in store, however. “When we picked her up, we didn’t know that she was pregnant. So we couldn’t do the surgery she needed for her heart. And there was another catch: when she had x-rays to see how many puppies there were – the veterinarian could only see two but there were three – she had a shattered pelvic bone, either from being kicked or hit or some traumatic injury and she could not have a natural puppy birth. She would have to have a C-section.”
Peatree had a congenital heart defect, left-to-right shunting PDA, but Rebecca and Jose, who works for a wire money transfer firm, have not been able to afford the surgery. The cost was $5,000, she was told. But Peatree is now four or five years old and is doing well. Two of her puppies are part of the family and the third one lives next door. “They’re all healthy and happy,” Rebecca said.
She was told about Angel Fund by a friend of a friend, who runs an animal rescue center. “We maxed out two credit cards just for having the C-section and the after care,” Rebecca said.
Angel Fund and Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Lawndale, where the Martinez family had taken Peatree to see a cardiologist, each contributed $500 to help defray the mounting costs.
“The foundation was so helpful,” Rebecca recalled. If we hadn’t had that help, we wouldn’t have been able to make the right choice for Peatree. I am so appreciative.”
Missy is a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Her official name is Princess Buttercup, (named after the movie,” The Princess Bride”). She is always happy as you can see by her wagging tail. Missy loves to visit people and make their day a little brighter. She likes to go for walks at the harbor, play fetch and go visit her special people. Cheese is her favorite treat. She loves to go shopping with us and to have breakfast at Ruby’s (they have cheese). She also likes trips to Starbucks where she enjoys a tall glass of ice water. Missy is glad to meet you and she thanks you for the pets!
Wynston is a very loveable Yorkshire Terrier with the heart of a lion. He weighs about 4.5 lbs., and that’s when he’s soaking wet. His favorite people are “Everybody”! He even has a few kitty cat friends around his neighborhood as well as his favorite taunting squirrel “Peanut”. Of course they are all bigger than him, but he doesn’t know that. His favorite pastime is giving lots of kisses and a close second would be chasing his squeaky ball or any one of many many toys in his toy box. During the summer you may find him in the pool taking a ride on his boogie board. He enjoys eating treats and is always willing to do a trick or two. His specialty is making everyone smile. Wysnton also has a few nick names that he doesn’t mind you calling him like “Winnie Pooh”, “Little Pooh” or “Mister”. Wynston is looking forward to his therapy visits and is ready to make new friends wherever he goes.
Breed: Golden Retriever
Brithday: February 28th, 2013
Weight: 75 pounds
Human/Partner: Steve Booth
Henry is a fun loving pup who likes to greet everyone. He likes to lay in the front yard and watch life go by. Henry enjoys hikes, riding on our boat at the river and fetching the morning paper (except the big Sunday edition. He knows lots of tricks like spin, high five, shake, roll over and his favorite……BANG (play dead).
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself”