Archive for the ‘Angel Fund Grant Recipients’ Category

Angel Fund Helps Paulina

Friday, July 28th, 2017

The Los Angeles Veterinary Center was approved for an AHF grant to help the Munoz family’s 10 year old Paulina with her curtiate ligament repair surgery!

We hope Paulina a doing better after the surgery and will be back to her sweet self soon!

Sweetheart Fights Cancer With Angel Fund’s Help

Monday, July 24th, 2017

In September, 2015, Elaine Leonard’s 14-year-old cat, Sweetheart, was not feeling well.  She was coughing and lethargic and Elaine decided she should take her to see her veterinarian.

She lives in Orange and OC Veterinary Medical Center, owned by Dr. Jeffery Horn, was not far from her home.  Doctors there ran tests and examined Sweetheart, a Maine Coon breed.  They found respiratory problems and a large mass in her chest. They suspected cancer and lymphoma.  She also had some other physical issues.

Dr. Cooper (a veterinarian who no longer works at the hospital) told Elaine that “this is serious.  Sweetheart has a very large mass and you’d better think about things and what you want to do.”  She added that the animal might need surgery.

“I told them that I was not going to let my 14-year-old cat have surgery,” Elaine said.  She was concerned because of Sweetheart’s age and because of the expense – she did not believe she could afford an operation.

Dr. Horn prescribed antibiotics and pain medication and referred Elaine to Veterinary Cancer Group in Tustin, which has several oncology specialists on staff.  Sweetheart was examined there in November by Dr. David Bommarito, who is board certified in both oncology and radiation oncology.

Dr. Bommarito told Elaine that her cat might be treatable with chemotherapy.  But she chose to provide palliative care.  “My option for choosing palliative care was that   I couldn’t afford the expense of chemo treatment and didn’t want her to suffer any possible side effects,” Elaine said.

A retiree on a fixed income, she applied to Angel Fund for help with her bill.  Her request was granted.  Veterinary Cancer Group also contributed.  Elaine said that “of course” she appreciated the help and said that she also appreciated what Angel Fund has done to help many other pet owners.

She took Sweetheart home – although she had regular appointments with Dr. Horn.  The cat did pretty well for a few months.  “She was walking around and eating and drinking until shortly before she died” on March 25, 2016, Elaine said.  “On that last visit to Dr. Horn, he said to bring her in when you’re ready” for euthanasia.

But, she said, Sweetheart seemed to be doing OK. “I had her on morphine and I just wanted to keep her comfortable. She was eating and drinking and responding.  A week before she passed – she was a big cat and she’d never done this before – she pawed her was up on my bed and she got very close to me and she lay down next to my body.  She never had cuddled with me before.”

Within a few days Sweetheart was gone.

Angel Fund Helps Mango Overcome Chronic Disease

Monday, May 22nd, 2017

 

Some five years ago, Linda Lockwood found a stray cat outside her home in Vancouver, British Columbia.  “She was nobody’s cat.  I contacted shelters and looked around the neighborhood.  Nobody claimed her.  The shelter asked if I could keep her.  I had another cat but I thought I could take care of two.  So I said, OK, fine.”

Linda named her new charge Mango. She soon discovered that the new family member had some chronic health problems, particularly constipation.  “She had to get enemas once or twice a month,” she said.

Linda came to Southern California to go to school in June, 2014, with Mango in tow on the airplane.  (Her other cat had died.)  She enrolled at Pierce College in Winnetka, intending to become a veterinary technician because of her love of animals. But she ran into some trouble with a chemistry course and decided to change her major to computer science.  She did well – all A’s and one B –but decided to enroll at California Institute of the Arts to pursue her first love, music.  She will complete course work this spring on a master of fine arts degree.  Earlier, she had earned a bachelor’s degree of music in jazz studies from Vancouver Island University in British Columbia.

In November of 2015, Mango’s chronic constipation became a very real problem.  “She would poop everywhere – on my bed, on the floor,” Linda said.  “Sometimes, she’d try to poop and she couldn’t, so she’d cry. She was losing weight. She was extremely bloated because her colon was impacted.”  Linda had little money to spend but she took Mango to Happy Pets Veterinary Center in Valencia.

“They took x-rays and they told me how severe the problem was.  I just didn’t know what I was going to do,” Linda said. “Eventually, Dr. [Jane] Kelly told me, Mango was going to require surgery to remove almost the entire colon. She said she would have to refer me to a surgery specialist and that could cost more than $5,000 – and I just didn’t have that kind of money. But Dr. Kelly said that Mango’s life is at risk.  If you are unable to afford it, she’ll have to be put down.”

Dr. Kelly put Mango on intravenous fluids, multiple enemas, laxatives and pain medication for three days to stabilize her condition and suggested that Linda apply to Angel Fund for help. She did and received a grant of $275, a sum matched by Happy Pets.

But Mango still needed surgery.  “I found myself looking on the ground for coins, when I walked on campus,” Linda said.  “It only cost $1.20 to get rice and beans at my school, so that’s what I was eating.” Dr. Kelly suggested going to a low-cost clinic.

Linda talked to several clinics before selecting one. She raised money on a website, the largest contribution coming from a friend in Canada.  Mango got her surgery but the stitches holding the incision together quickly came out. “It was a gruesome thing. Her intestines came out,” Linda said.  “Everybody thought she was going to die.  I took her back and they sewed her up again – and the stitches came out again.”

This time, Linda found another veterinarian (on Christmas Eve), who repaired the damage and ordered Mango confined to a cage for a month as she healed. “After that month she was cage free and was as good as new,” Linda said.  “Today, she’s doing very well.  I give her everything that I can.”

And, she added, “I can’t believe I went through all of that.  I had to get extensions on all my essays and I had to leave classes early to pick Mango up.”

Linda believes that Angel Fund played a major role in saving her cat’s life. “Without them, I don’t know if Mango would have been in condition for what came next. The time she was in the hospital [at Happy Pets] bought some time for me to make plans for what to do.  I’m very grateful for what Angel Fund did for Mango.”

She also praised Dr. Kelly: “She is very compassionate and very caring.  I know she did it for Mango.”

And, she said, “It’s amazing how people, even if they don’t know you, they love animals.  I’m very grateful for what everyone has done for Mango.”

 

Young Shepard‘s Life Saved With Assist From Angel Fund

Thursday, February 23rd, 2017

In October, 2015, Tamar Goldberg took Lily, her young shepard mix, for some exercise to a dog park near her Balboa Lake home in the San Fernando Valley. Lily was young – a little more than a year old. And she still had many of the instincts of a puppy.

Later, she was “eating a lot of grass and trying to throw up,” Tamar said. “She was unable to jump up on the sofa. She hadn’t pooped. Clearly, she was not acting right. I didn’t know what was wrong.”

So Tamar took Lily to VCA McClave Animal Hospital on Reseda Blvd. “The vet [Dr. Nada Khalaf] believed she had a blockage and tried a lot of things to treat her without surgery, which was going to be expensive. Nothing showed on her x-rays so we didn’t know what was causing it. After two days, she wasn’t any better and she wasn’t eating. So we decided to open her up.”

Dr. Khalaf found a rubber nose off a stuffed animal. “It looked like a pig snout. Lily swallowed it whole. When it got to the small intestine, it couldn’t pass. It was like a cork,” Tamar said. “Part of her intestine had started to die so Dr. Khalaf had to cut away the dead tissue before she sewed her back up.”

Lily healed quickly and today at the age of two she is a normal, healthy dog. “She is great. No problem,” Tamar said. “But we don’t go to the dog park any more. Now we do a lot of hiking.”

Tamar and husband, Darren, a transportation captain who coordinates drivers for shoots of television commercials, applied to Angel Fund for help when they knew that surgery was needed. “I had not been working and we were a little bit short,” Tamar said. “Angel Fund contributed $600 and so did the hospital and we took out a personal loan.”

She added that the hospital was very helpful. And, she said, ”for sure” the surgery saved Lily’s life. “If she hadn’t had the surgery, she wouldn’t have made it. There’s no question about that.”

Tamar now is working as a special education teacher for an LAUSD charter school. Lily and her sister, Awesome, are best pals to her two children. Awesome is seven-year-old son Zeke’s dog and sleeps on his bed. Lily is 10-year-old Ariella’s dog and sleeps on her bed.

With Help From Angel Fund, Lillie Tries to Get Back on Her Feet

Thursday, November 24th, 2016

 

aAnn Champion, a production designer in film and television, has “always had animals and the one promise I always make them is, if their lives are at stake and they can continue on with quality of life, I’m not going to arbitrarily end their lives because I don’t have money.”

That promise was put to a severe test last summer.  Her Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, then about 9½ years old and a picture of health, suddenly and inexplicably lost the use of her legs.

“Lillie had always been very fit,” Ann said, “so it was devastating to find her collapsed on the floor beside her bed when I went to get her to go for our walk [one August day]. She was completely alert and could raise her head and wag her tail, but even though she was trying to move all four legs she could not get them underneath her to stand up.”

Lillie weighed 110 pounds, “almost as much as I do,” Ann said.  So it was almost impossible to move her.  But Ann managed to get her in her car, with help from a neighbor, for a trip to an emergency hospital. The doctor did x-rays and blood tests that showed nothing wrong. He recommended taking her to a neurologist at a specialty hospital.

The neurologist recommended putting Lillie on steroids to reduce inflammation in the discs in her neck, which she thought were causing the problem.  That sounded better to Ann than the other option – expensive surgery.  “It would be a reasonable course of treatment and we could expect a good outcome,” the  neurologist told her.

Quickly, Lillie was doing better.  After a few days, the hospital wanted to send Lillie home to recover with outpatient physical therapy.  “That created a whole new set of problems,” Ann said. “She was a very big girl and there was no way to get in or out of our Studio City home without having to negotiate steps. While there was a lot I was capable of doing to help her to continue to improve, I could not lift her.”

So Ann found a rehabilitation hospital. Lillie was fitted with a harness that made it easier to help her. The doctor at the rehab hospital said that he expected a full recovery.  “The only negative in all this truly blessed and positive news was that it would take time – and time was money that I didn’t have.”

Ann had maxed out her Care Credit card and she applied for a higher limit. She also asked about Angel Fund and applied for help.  She recalled visiting Lillie and taking her for a walk in the corridor with the help of the special harness a few days later.

“She was doing really well.  I didn’t have to support her front end at all and she was placing her hind feet correctly and she was pulling me through the corridor.  And I was thinking: ‘Yes! A couple more weeks of this and we’re gonna be home and walking up the hill.’  Then Lillie started doing less well, running a fever  . . . and she started back sliding.”

The rehab hospital wanted Lillie to have a checkup so Ann took her to a nearby hospital, which found nothing wrong besides the disc problem.  Ann decided to take her to the veterinarian in Pasadena who had treated Lillie in the past. He found liver problems, including a lesion.  “So that was it,” she said, “there was nothing more that could be done. It was such a shock. Several vets had said: ‘You should have a full recovery’ or ‘You should expect a good outcome.’  Nobody said, ‘well, she may not make it.’ So I made this huge leap of faith and took on this enormous financial commitment.  I‘m going to be paying for the rest of my life.”

Expenses for Lillie’s care totaled more than $9,000, including euthanasia and aquamation.  She used her Care Credit to pay the balance owed to the rehab hospital – less $500 provided by Angel Fund.  She also tried to raise money through an online website but after Lillie had to be put down that did not work.  “I was very grateful for the help I got from Angel Fund.  In this kind of situation, everything is a help.  It’s a wonderful program.  It was a godsend.”

Ann is struggling financially because working in the film and television industry is erratic at best.

Ann had given a home to a Swissy named Rozie before Lillie came into her life.  She had lived with Rozie for six years after acquiring her at age six.  So she had expected to have more time with Lillie, who had come into her life at four and a half years old.

Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs “are, without a doubt, the most wonderful dogs you can imagine in terms of their disposition,” she said.  “They are beautiful and they are just absolutely incredible. But as much as I love the breed, I will never have another.  They are so wonderful and you love them so much and their life span is so short.  When they die, they just rip your heart out.”

Angel Fund Helps Rescue Joy After Encounter with Foxtails

Monday, September 12th, 2016

joy-2-angel-fund-2016In the spring of 2015, Jose Perez moved with his Golden Retriever Joy, from an apartment to a house with a large yard. It seemed an ideal place for the young dog to exercise and play.

But Joy found trouble in that back yard.  “She barked a lot,” Jose said, and “I would pet her and she would jump all over me and I would try to wipe her nose [she had a nasal discharge].  I thought she had some kind of flu.”

Jose took Joy to a veterinarian who gave him some nose drops but they didn’t seem to help.  So he took her to All Pets Medical and Surgical Center in Phillips Ranch not far from his home in Pomona. The doctors at All Pets outlined a treatment plan. But Jose, a single father, who was working two jobs to make ends meet did not have the money to pay for it.

All Pets suggested that Angel Fund might be able to help.  Angel Fund approved Jose and Dr. Thomas Beighlie performed surgery on Joy.  Foxtails  had worked their way into Joy’s nose and caused the severe discomfort and bleeding she was experiencing.

“I didn’t know there were foxtails in my backyard,” Jose said. “They were inside a wall at the back of the yard. The veterinarian put her to sleep and opened part of her nose and removed the foxtail that was stuck up there. After I brought her home, she would follow me around the house and lay on the floor when I stopped. But she didn’t want to play.  After a week and a half, she seemed normal again.”

Jose kept Joy out of the backyard and always had her on a leash when he took her outside.  She wore a cone for a month, he said.

Joy was special to Jose because she helped him with his daughter, who is now 13.  The three of them often went hiking together. But the dog is no longer with Jose. He moved to Ontario and did not have space for her. So he asked a friend to take her. Now he lives in an apartment near Los Angeles International Airport and not far from the grocery store where he works.

He misses Joy but does not expect to take in another dog soon. She would be hard to replace, he said. She still has a special place in his heart and he is grateful that Angel Fund and the staff at All Pets made it possible to fix her problems.

Angel Fund Aid Helps give Rescued Dog a New Life

Wednesday, August 10th, 2016

Mickey AugAFIn December, 2014, Lisa Marie Sirko, who had gone to the Downey Animal Shelter to check out another dog, saw Mickey for the first time. Though he was emaciated and sick, she was impressed: “I saw this Rottweiler-Pit Bull head and a little short stubby body and I said: ‘Oh my gosh, what an amazingly adorable dog! What is he doing here?’

“So I had to get him out [of the shelter]. When I got him home and started feeding him, he ate pretty well.  But then he started vomiting. And he had diarrhea really bad and I there was blood.  So I took him to Lomita Pet Hospital and Dr. Sandra Kim.”

Mickey defecated part of a child’s stuffed animal that he had ingested – and it was nearly the size of his stomach. The hospital did surgery to remove other remnants of the toy that might be in his stomach or intestines.  Lisa Marie and Dr. Kim decided that Mickey probably had been very hungry and swallowed the stuffed toy in a search for food. “When people leave a dog in a fenced-in yard and don’t feed him, he will try to find something to eat. He was starving and ate that stuffed animal,” Lisa Marie said.

A few weeks after Mickey’s surgery, Lisa Marie put him in the back seat of her car. As she drove, a cat ran across the street and Mickey jumped up on the armrest near the side window. “His little legs hit the window button and the window started going down. I couldn’t roll it up because his foot was on the remote in the back seat. I pulled over and he jumped out of the window and his right rear foot hit the curb and fractured.  “I was overwhelmed with guilt. But I got him back in the car and took him to Dr. Kim.”

The veterinarian did surgery on the leg and put it in a cast. Lisa Marie, who had a small employment talent search company at the time, was struggling to make money in an economy in which companies were down-sizing and her rates had been discounted. (She later shut down the company to devote full time to saving dogs that she sees as discriminated-against breeds: Pit Bull, Rottweiler and Mastiff). She applied to Angel Fund for assistance.  She got help – for which she was grateful – from both Angel Fund and Lomita Pet Hospital.

Today, Mickey is doing well.  But, after two years of healing and rehab, Lisa Marie gave him to a new friend. “I wanted to keep him but I came across somebody who had lost his dog, who looked almost exactly like Mickey. He fell in love with Mickey. And I thought Mickey could fill his broken heart – which he did – and get all the attention in the world.  I still see him.  He’s my little step boy. But he’s No. 1 in somebody else’s life now.”

And Lisa Marie is working hard at finding, rescuing and rehabilitating discriminated-against dogs. It is work of passion and love for her. “Now I’m building a little team and I’m starting to plan a nonprofit to help these dogs. It’s hard being a one-woman show.  I don’t spend money on myself and I get some income from helping people train their dogs. And animal lovers will ask if they can donate to help the dogs. We get surprised by gifts such as a bag of dog food or a doggie bed. And it all makes a huge difference.

“I keep it small. I’ll usually have just three or four dogs. They’re healthy, they’re well fed and exercised. And they know the basic commands. More than half the dogs I have saved are therapy dogs, some with service certification.

“I always do what’s best for the animal. And I like quality over quantity.” Lisa Marie works out of her home in San Pedro.

Angel Fund Helps Walter Regain His Health After GDV Surgery

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

July.AF jul. AFIn January, 2015, Walter – a beautiful Airdale mix – got a bloated stomach and collapsed outside his owners’ apartment in Acton.  He was rushed to an emergency hospital.

“They said if we hadn’t gotten there within the next few minutes, he wouldn’t be with us any more,” Shneor Nodelman said. “If we had come 10 minutes later, they couldn’t have saved him. We got lucky on that one.”

Walter had Gastric Dilation-Volvulus.  Surgery was performed to correct the condition and Walter later went home with Shneor and his wife, Nancy.  “He surprised the doctors and recovered very fast,” Shneor said.  But a week later, Walter was back in the hospital.

“I don’t know what happened,” Shneor said. “After we took him home, he started to have pain and he was licking the incision.” He had developed an infection and new surgery was needed.  Dr. Katherine Schmidt at AV Veterinary Center in Lancaster performed the operation. “They had to clean him up and then stitch him up again,” Shneor said.

But the Nodelmans did not have the money to pay the new bills. Shneor is an electrician, who works part time, and Nancy works in real estate but does not make much money. The Nodelmans came to the United States nearly 15 years ago, emigrating from Israel. Shneor has a sister who lives in Los Angeles and has been in this country since 1994. He and Nancy would have come sooner, he said, but he had to fulfill his military obligation before the Israeli government would permit him to leave. “It’s a lot nicer here than it is in Israel now,” he said.

The hospital recommended Angel Fund. “They were really nice,” Shneor recalled, “very helpful and understanding. We also got some money to help from other sources.” Angel Fund contributed $442, as did the hospital.

The Nodelmans are grateful to Angel Fund, the hospital and other donors for the funds that helped make Walter whole again. “He is fine now,” Shneor said. “He gained back the weight he lost and he is happy, wagging his tail all the time. He’s a good and very happy dog.”

Angel Fund Teams Up With Clinic to Save Pit Bull Named Mitch

Tuesday, June 28th, 2016

MitchOne morning in March last year, as Ruben Gonzalez walked out into his Inglewood yard to get into his car, he saw that something was wrong with Mitch, his Pit Bull.

“He wasn’t himself. He started vomiting. And he was real stiff,” Ruben said. “Normally, he plays around the yard with my other dog, Brandy. And as soon as I step into my yard, he normally runs toward me. On that day, he just was not himself. He wouldn’t budge. So I put him in my car and drove to the emergency hospital. It was 7 o’clock in the morning and I was real concerned.”

Later that morning, Ruben and Mitch were at the Family Pet Clinic in Redondo Beach, a hospital with which he and his wife, Jennifer, have had a long relationship. Dr. Kimberly Daffner soon discovered that Mitch had a blockage – a piece of wood that was lodged in the duodenum. The doctor surgically removed the wood, Ruben said, “but Mitch was still throwing up and wasn’t recovering the way they expected so they did another surgery and removed a wad of grass from his stomach.”

Dr. Daffner told Ruben that Mitch needed to be neutered.  He also needed dental work, including pulling an infected tooth. “I told her I didn’t have the money to say yes, as much as I wanted to.  And she said, ‘You know something? We’ll work it out.’

“I was really strapped for cash,” Ruben said. “I was on disability leave because I had gotten hurt at work [he is a painter]. My CareCredit card was pretty much maxed out because of bills when my cat had gotten sick and died a couple of months earlier. My wife’s CareCredit, same thing.  And she was the only one who was working. The last thing I wanted to do was to put my dog down. But I didn’t have the money to cover the bill. I was hoping to make monthly payments but they told me they don’t really do that.”

The staff at the clinic suggested Angel Fund.  Ruben applied and was granted $500. The hospital contributed $1,800. He is grateful to Angel Fund and to the people at the Family Pet Clinic. “Everyone was great,” he said. “They went above and beyond for my family and my dog.” One technician – Erica, he said – took Mitch home with her to keep an eye on the dog for a couple of days when Ruben couldn’t do it.

Today Mitch, at five or six years old, is very much the dog he used to be, Ruben said. “He’s running around, doing great, enjoying life.” Ruben checks the yard daily for objects that a dog might want to chew.  He is working full time now but has a long commute. Wife Jennifer works in the fashion industry. The family includes her two daughters from a previous marriage, 17-year-old Rosemary and Mia, 11.

“I take Mitch and Brandy to the clinic about once a month, now, and Mitch always knows exactly where he is going,” Ruben said.  “As soon as we pull into the driveway, his tail is wagging.  As soon as I open the door, he jumps out of the car and can’t wait to get inside.  Everyone gives him a big greeting.  He loves it.

“I am so thankful to Dr. Daffner and everyone in the office. Without them, I’m pretty sure my dog wouldn’t have made it.”

Freako the Iguana Has Bladder Stones Removed

Saturday, June 25th, 2016

Freako Up CloseThanks to Dr. Zambrano of Zambrano Consulting Mobile Service for applying for an Angel Fund Grant.

The grant helped the Carlson family afford surgery to remove bladder stones from their pet Iguana, Freako.

Get well soon, Freako