Archive for the ‘Angel Fund Grant Recipients’ Category

With Help From Angel Fund, Nichole Saves Her Shih Tzu, Sally

Saturday, October 24th, 2015


Pulse Nicole-SallyOne morning late in January, 2013, Nichole Castaneda, was on her way to work.  She heard a dog barking across the street. It was a small dog – a Shih Tzu – and it was alone.  Nichole called to the dog and it ran across the street.

“It almost got hit by a car,” she said. ”I was wearing a sweater with a drawstring so I took out the drawstring and tied it around the dog.  Then I took it to the 7-11 that is next to my work” at a Weinerschnitzel fast food restaurant.  She asked a clerk at the 7-11 if she knew the owner of the dog.  The answer was no.  But the clerk said that a coworker might want to take in the animal. The coworker took it home.  But the dog’s barking annoyed his neighbors.  The next day, the dog was returned to Nichole at the Weinerschnitzel.  She put the dog in a shopping cart with a bowl of water and placed cardboard over the top.

“When I got off work, I took her home. She was urinating blood so I took her to an animal hospital.  They took x-rays.  She had no microchip. She had two ear infections. She had a bladder infection and three big bladder stones. She needed antibiotics and ear medication and they set up an appointment to do surgery for the bladder stones.”

By this time, Nichole and the dog – she named it Sally after a character in the movie, “The Nightmare Before Christmas” – had become fond companions. The surgery would cost more than $5,000, Nichole was told, far more than she could afford on her modest income.

“What I did was I went online to and set up an account where people could donate money toward Sally’s surgery,” she said.  She also posted an account of Sally’s adventures on her Facebook page.  Both brought contributions.  She also found Angel Fund online and submitted an application, which was approved.

“Angel Fund was awesome,” Nichole said.  “I really appreciated their help – a lot. And the same with the hospital and the Giveforward people. And everyone else who helped.” The surgery was performed at Veterinary Healthcare Center in Monterey Park in December, 2013. Angel Fund and the hospital each contributed $500.

Today, Sally is thriving at about seven years of age. “Sally is not afraid of anyone. She is friendly with other animals, children, old people. She is not afraid of fireworks, either,” Nichole said.

And the Shih Tzu gets lots of tender, loving care from Nichole and her 14-year-old daughter, Mary Lou. They live with Nichole’s dad and his second family in Rosemead. There are three other dogs, two cats and several children in the household – a great home for a friendly dog like Sally.

Bulldog Gets Knee Surgery With Help From AHF Angel Fund

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Hades 1In 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.

Peatree’s Problems Solved with the Help from AHF’s Angel Fund

Thursday, May 21st, 2015

Peatree1In 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.”

Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital Helps Koko

Friday, April 17th, 2015

Koko IMG_2788 (2)Thanks for Dr. Weatherford and Dr. Toro of the Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital for applying for the AHF Angel Fund grant to help 20 week old Koko’s family pay for critical diagnosis and care.


Angel Fund Enables Dental Surgery for Beautiful Tess

Friday, March 27th, 2015

Tess AFIn the summer of 2013, Tess – Rochelle Bates’ beautiful black and white cat – was no longer easy to be around. “When she opened her mouth across the room from you, the odor could just about knock you down,” she said. “It was intense. And it had developed very quickly over a couple of months.”

Rochelle and husband Ed had taken in Tess when she was a feral kitten. She soon became a loved member of their household. So Rochelle took the cat, just four years old, to a dental cleaning clinic at a pet store. The veterinarian who examined Tess “took one look inside her mouth and he told me what was wrong. He said: ‘All her teeth are rotting. You’re going to need to take her to a veterinary dentist.’ It’s a congenital condition.”

Rochelle, a former writer and producer in Hollywood, is disabled and her husband Ed was unemployed at the time so she immediately began to search for a dental specialist who could give Tess the treatment she needed – surgery for tooth resorption and stomatitis – at an affordable cost. “It was a rough time for this to happen,” she said.

“I called around to lots of veterinary clinics and found that the treatment was just too expensive. It was thousands of dollars to have all her teeth removed – or some of her teeth removed. “I didn’t know what I was going to do. So I looked on line for different grants and explored every one that was available – every single one.” Finally, she found Angel Fund. “It was the only one left. And it was the one that helped us.” Angel Fund provided a list of hospitals that could do the surgery. She chose the Dog and Cat Dentist in Culver City not far from her home.

She took Tess to the clinic and met Dr. Anson Tsugawa, VMD, DAVDC, and Jody Janes, RVT. “They were just the most wonderful people,” she said. “Jody is so kind. She shepherded all the paper work through and it was processed very quickly. There was a small balance that I had to pay. But they [Angel Fund and the hospital] covered almost everything. It was so amazingly generous of them!” Angel Fund and the hospital each contributed $500.

Dr. Tsugawa at first thought that he could save four of Tess’s teeth. But he called Rochelle after her cat was under anesthesia and said that all her teeth should be extracted. “Otherwise,” he told her, “she’ll have to come back and have the others removed later. We might as well do all of them when she’s young and healthy.”

The surgery “made a world of difference,” Rochelle said. “Tess had a very quick recovery and you would never know now that she doesn’t have any teeth. Dr. Tsugawa told us what would happen and that’s exactly what happened.”

Tess needed pain medication and antibiotics for a few days. Rochelle said that she gave the patient and her other two cats soft food at first, then switched to dry food. “Tess ate it with them [the other cats]. Now she eats a mixture of wet and dry food, like she always did before. She doesn’t care.”

The surgery has made a “world of difference” for Tess, she said. “Her personality has really blossomed since she doesn’t have that pain. I can only imagine what it was like for her.

“And I will always he so grateful to them [Dr. Tsugawa and Angel Fund] for this because, honestly, I don’t know what we would have done.”

Mickey Gets Help from AHF Angel Fund

Friday, February 6th, 2015

MickyThanks to the doctors and staff of the Lomita Animal Hospital, Mickey’s family could afford the fracture surgery he needed because the hospital reached out to the Angel Fund for a grant.

And, now, he’s a happy boy!

Angel Fund Helps Rescue Pet Owner on Disability

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

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!”

Angel Fund Gave Cosmo a Fighting Chance to Live

Saturday, January 17th, 2015

Cosmo AFOn May 5, 2012 – Cinco de Mayo, Jessie Carrillo recalled – her cat gave birth to a litter of kittens. The next day, the mother died and Jessie raised the kittens. One of them was special.

“Cosmo was my favorite cat in the whole world. He was my best friend,” Jessie said. But Cosmo, who was gray and white, found something to eat that he shouldn’t have one day when he was outside not long after his first birthday. It was a cork and it lodged in his intestines, obstructing the duodenum.

“He was acting really bizarre. After a day and a half, I realized that he wasn’t going to get better and I took him in [to the Cat Care Clinic in Orange]. They did an x-ray and they saw the blockage.”

The doctor told Jessie that Cosmo was very sick but that surgery might save him – although he might not survive it. The operation would cost $2,000 – an amount far beyond her means. Jessie wanted to do whatever she could to save her cat. The doctor suggested that Angel Fund could help. So Jessie submitted an application for assistance. She was grateful for the $250 contributed by both Angel Fund and the Cat Care Clinic.

“It was a blessing that [Angel Fund] was there because I couldn’t afford the surgery,” she said. She was working as a receptionist at the time “but my job was not affording me $2,000 for surgery.”

After the surgery, she took Cosmo home but he soon died. “He was OK for a couple of hours but then he died in my arms. I was lucky to share that last moment with him but it was really rough. He could have been euthanized but they gave me hope that he might make it. I think the surgery was just too much for his body.”

Jessie is grateful to Angel Fund and to the doctors and staff at the Cat Care Clinic. “They were really understanding and sympathetic. They were kind and they did their best.”

Today, Jessie misses Cosmo very much. Losing him, she said, was “just part of life.” But she has his sister, a beautiful black cat named Boo, now 2½.

Nui was “Little Big Man” and Loving Companion

Tuesday, December 30th, 2014

Nui Angel Fund

Loucinda Carter described him as a “big little dog” the first time she saw the Chihuahua who would spend nearly 18 years as her companion animal.  “I named him Nui,” she said, because that is the Hawaiian word for big and I had just come back from Hawaii. He was really big [compared to his litter mates] but he was little. He was nui, nui.”

Nui, she said went everywhere with her.  “I’m disabled and he was my companion dog. He did everything with me, including going to the cancer treatment center at Cedars Sinai Hospital” in Los Angeles. (She lives in Dana Point.) “He was right there with me the whole time. He was my family. He was everything. I am a nurse but unfortunately am not able to work.”

And, she said, Nui never was trained to do tasks that would assist her – but he learned to help her anyway.  “My bones are all messed up from having to take steroids and I would reach into a drawer to try to get my things and he would see that I wasn’t able to pull something out – my arm won’t stretch out all the way – and he would jump in the drawer and grab something and bring it to me.  And then he’d jump in and grab the next thing.  And he’d jump up on tables and bring me things I couldn’t reach. He was so in tune with me.”

Nui and Loucinda lived together and loved each other for more than a decade and a half and then Nui got sick.  Loucinda had him treated and he recovered but she exhausted her limited resources to pay his bills.  When he fell ill a second time in March, 2013, she had little money to pay for his care. “I knew I wasn’t going to be able to do it,” she said.  “It was really hard.”

Nui wasn’t eating right, she said, and he was sluggish and lethargic.  He also was shaking and having tremors.  She took him in the middle of the night to an emergency clinic, then to Laguna Beach Animal Hospital. He was treated for a kidney problem with antibiotics and a special diet.

“I prayed a whole lot and he did seem to get a lot better,” she said. “But the veterinarian (Dr. Jim Levin) said that he did not expect him to live much longer. I was hoping he’d be the longest living Chihuahua ever.”

Nui lived for the better part of a year – time that Loucinda cherished. She is grateful to Angel Fund and the staff at Laguna Beach Hospital for giving Nui that time.

Now she is thinking about getting another dog but, she said, “You never really can replace that one who’s been so special.”

Hit by Car, Husky Leia Lives, With Help From Angel Fund

Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

leiaIn February last year, Claire Gallo was moving into a new apartment. Her 11-month-old Husky Leia, not much more than a puppy, was so spirited that she called a friend and arranged a play date so the dog would be safe while she moved. “I didn’t want her running out an open door,” she recalled in an interview.

So she dropped Leia off at her friend’s house and returned to her car. “My friend opened her back door to let her Pomeranian out and Leia ran after her. There was no fence and my friend ran after Leia. When you chase Huskies, they run away from you and, when you run away from them, they chase you. So I’m watching my friend chasing my dog right out onto a main street.

“Two cars going one direction stopped and one car going the other direction stopped and she [Leia] was in the middle. I thought everything was OK but then a car came along speeding 10 or maybe 15 miles over the limit and the driver didn’t see her. The car rammed right into her and it was the most devastating day of my life. Leia screamed like a human being.

“I was thinking, ‘What do I do?’ I I was running toward her and she dragged herself across the street toward me and stuck her nose between my feet and cried. I didn’t cry and I didn’t scream. I ran and got a blanket out of my car while my friend stayed with Leia and I wrapped her tightly and put her on my lap and drove to the closest emergency hospital – San Clemente Veterinary Hospital – about two miles away. I was covered with blood and she was covered with blood. Her leg seemed to be hanging by a tendon.

“I had opened a new credit card the day before and I just swiped it. It was my baby and I didn’t want anything to happen to her. But her injury was so extensive that they [the hospital staff] seemed to be preparing me to put her down. That was the last thing I wanted to do. I’d had her since she was seven weeks old. So I was devastated. I didn’t eat. I didn’t sleep.”

Claire was 18 at the time and a part-time student at Saddleback College. She had about $2,000 in savings that she gave to the hospital to help pay for Leia’s treatment – but the bill was going to be about $8,000. “I was working my butt off just to pay the rent,” she said.

Then Angel Fund stepped in. It contributed $1,000 and the hospital matched that figure. Claire’s mother had found Angel Fund on the internet and the hospital also recommended it. “Basically, Angel Fund saved my dog’s life,” Claire said.

Dr. John Agostini of the San Clemente hospital, did the surgery. He said that “there was so much destruction of the tarsal joint – the ankle joint – that it had to be fused. That is unusual. At the same time, there was an extensive amount of skin that was lost. So it turned into a team effort with Dr. Randall Fitch doing the fusion and I was the reconstructive guy, who put the skin back in place. We did some plastic surgery, probably the best way to describe it. Then there were months of status changing and rehab. The post operative ankle fusion had to have a rather extensive Kirschner-Ehmer apparatus put on it. It’s an array of pins [nine in this case] to keep it stable while the bones heal. We [he and Leia] got to know each other pretty well. She was in here several times a weeks and had another surgery.”

Leia is “amazing” today, Claire said. “I take her to the dog park and nobody can tell the difference. She runs like the wind. Every once in while you’ll notice her picking up her back leg because there’s so much muscle lost. She runs as fast on three legs as she ever did on four.” And, she said, when she takes Leia back to San Vicente Hospital, they say, ‘Hey, look, this is the dog!’ They all love to see her.”

Claire is planning to continue her education. She is still a student at Saddleback but she’s thinking of transferring to a Bay Area school. And, she said, “after this experience, honestly, I want to be a veterinarian. I want to be that person who gives joy to people who have an experience like I had. I can’t even believe the gifts that Dr. Agostini gave me.”