Archive for the ‘Angel Fund Grant Recipients’ Category

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.”

Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital Helps Marvel

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Marvel Tustin Santa AnaMeet Marvel.  He is doing wonderfully after Dr. Laura Weatherford of Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital performed surgery to remove a “foreign object” that Marvel ingested!  Dr. Weatherford received a grant on behalf of the family to defray some of the costs of Marvel’s life-saving surgery!  The family is very grateful for Dr. Weatherford’s and the Angel Fund’s help!

Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital helped Munchkin with an Angel Fund Grant

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Munchkin Aliso Niguel AH (2)

Pet Vet Animal Health Care helps JR

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

The AHF thanks Dr. Brown for applying for an Angel Fund Grant to help the Floris’ family’s dog – JR, who needed a toe amputated.  JR is recovering and back with his loving family!


Angel Fund Helps Buster Overcome Plastic Blues

Monday, August 25th, 2014

buster2When Buster – Corinne Supernor’s beautiful black and white cat – got sick, it was because of an unusual appetite: he liked to chew plastic bags.

“Buster would go into the pantry and get ahold of sandwich baggies and chew at them,” she said. “We didn’t know what he was doing. Pretty much any plastic he could get his little paws on, he’d eat it. He liked the noise of it and I guess he just enjoyed it.”

It proved – like some things humans eat compulsively – to be a dangerous and expensive habit. In February last year, Corinne and husband Robert noticed that their cat wasn’t eating or drinking and was not acting normally. So they took him to Alisos Animal Hospital near their Mission Viejo home.

Dr. David Bahou put Buster on an IV, Corinne said, gave him round-the-clock antibiotics and tried to rehydrate him. “Then they did an x-ray. It showed a blockage in his digestive system. They tried giving him barium to make it pass,” she said, “and that didn’t work so they decided to give him surgery. That’s when we found out he had been eating plastic.”

Buster soon was on the road to recovery. But the Supernors were in a financial bind. “We really didn’t have the money to pay for the surgery,” Corinne said. She and her husband both work full time but “with all our other bills it was hard to come up with $4,000. And we didn’t have pet insurance so it was all out of pocket.”

The hospital recommended Angel Fund to help with the costs. “That was wonderful,” she said. “That was such a blessing. We told them our story and what we had been going through with Buster and they gave us a grant, which helped us greatly.”

Angel Fund and the hospital each contributed $500. Corinne and Robert put the balance on a credit card and are slowly paying it off.

And Buster? ”He is doing great. He got really skinny when he was sick. But he’s healthy again. And he loves playing with his brother [a litter mate]. He’s full of life again. He’s a bundle of joy.”

But the Supernors keep a close eye on him. That tempting plastic is kept out of reach. “It was pretty scary. We do not want him going through that ever again.”

The Cat Care Clinic helps Smokey Sanchez

Monday, August 25th, 2014

The Cat Care Clinic helped the Sanchez’ cat Smokey by applying for a receiving an Angel Fund Grant to help with the cost of Smokey’s care treatment. Thank you Cat Care Clinic!smokey Sanchez AF

Angel Fund Helps Sick Chihuahua Through Ordeal With Bladder Stone

Monday, June 30th, 2014


Early in January last year, Natalie Valle was concerned about Boss, her year-old Chihuahua.  “He was in a lot of discomfort.  He was hunched over.  And he was peeing out little specs of blood. And every time I would touch him, he would scream.”

So she and her then husband picked Boss up and took him to Mesa West Pet Hospital in Costa Mesa.  “The doctor (Lethicia Lepera) said that he had a bladder stone. It was a big-sized bladder stone – maybe two stones together.”

Dr. Lepera told Natalie that Boss needed surgery. But, Natalie said, “I didn’t have the money for it.” She was a student at Orange Coast College at the time and was not working. Her husband was working but did not make much money. Dr. Lepera gave Natalie a list of organizations that might be willing to help. One of them was Angel Fund.

Both the hospital and Angel Fund contributed $500 for the surgery.  Boss stayed at the hospital overnight and had the surgery the next morning.  And Natalie is grateful to both the hospital and Angel Fund.

“She [Dr. Lepera] was so helpful.  She fell in love with Boss and she did everything that she could to save his life. Her heart went out to him. The hospital was so good to us. There were beyond good to us. Boss was in really bad shape. It would break your heart. The stone was like half the size of a golf ball.  He was only about six pounds at the time.”

Now, a year and a half later, Boss weighs 10 pounds.  “He’s full of life. He’s a totally different dog. He’s like a little kid. He wants to get into everything. His mi His mind is always going,” Natalie said. “He’s so crazy but I love him to death.”

Today, Natalie is single and works as a customer service representative in Costa Mesa. eH When she is not on the job, she and Boss are constant companions.  And, as a reminder of what happened in January, 2013, she keeps that bladder stone in a plastic container.



Amazing Teddy

Monday, June 30th, 2014

TEDDY May AF (2)About three years ago, Sherrill Cook adopted a Saint Bernard.  Her four sons welcomed Teddy to the family – but he was Sherrill’s dog.  She is largely confined to a wheelchair and he is a service animal.

“He pulls my wheelchair. If I am standing and start to fall, he will push me up against something and brace me all on his own. Teddy is tuned in to my heart rate and talks to me when it gets up to 120.”  How does he do that?  “I don’t know.  I had an asthma attack once and they couldn’t get my heart rate under control. It was sky-rocketing and they sent me home anyway.  Teddy just sat there and talked to me.” Can he see a physical change? “I think he can sense it.  He’s really in tune with me. He knows when something is off.  He is alert to an anxiety attack.  And he wears a harness that I can use for balance.

In January, 2013, Sherrill and her husband, Jeremy, took Teddy to a dog park near their Thousand Oaks home “so he could relax and be a dog.  He was running around and he went down and blew out his knee.”

The Cooks took Teddy to Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital, not far from the agency where they had adopted him.  Laura Weatherford, DVM, performed surgery for a partial tear in Teddy’s Anterior Cruciate Ligament.  “She is really great,” Sherrill said. “She works with you and she explains everything really well.”

Jeremy Cook is a computer engineer.  But the family was “living paycheck to paycheck and we were really short of money at the time of the surgery, Sherrill said.  The Cooks applied for help from Angel Fund. “It worked really well. We’ve just been really blessed,” she said. Angel Fund contributed $500 to Teddy’s bill and so did the hospital.

Teddy was in the hospital four days and then had to be confined to a kennel at the Cooks’ home for eight weeks. Then he resumed his duties as Sherrill chief companion and helpmate.

But Teddy, who just turned four, “blew out his other knee chasing a cat in the backyard” and needs surgery again.  This time, Sherrill said, she will pay for the operation with funds from an inheritance she is getting from her late father.  She will get around, in the meantime, with help from her husband and sons.

Taryn Saves Hershey’s Life With Help From Angel Fund

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Hershey PixOne day in December, 2013, an elderly woman brought her Chihuahua, Hershey into Laguna Hills Animal Hospital.  She tearfully told veterinary assistant Taryn Collins that she wanted to put the dog down.

“She didn’t think the medications that had been prescribed for him were giving him any relief from the allergies and anxiety we thought he had,” Taryn said. “ She felt that he was irritable at night and not able to sleep.  She was hysterical and said that he should be euthanized right now.  She thought that there was nothing else that she could do and she didn’t have a lot of funds. But she really loved her pet.

“I was the first one [at the hospital] to have contact with her and escorted her into the examination room so it was definitely personal for me. I decided that I was going to fight the idea of euthanizing. So I offered the suggestion that we take the pet,” she said.

“It turned out that Hershey had patella luxation – that’s where the kneecap can slip out of place – in both knees and he needed surgery. So he was licking and constantly going to his knees because they were painful, not because they were itching.”

The woman signed papers transferring Hershey to Taryn. “At the time, I didn’t know I was going to raise money to get him the surgery.  I just thought I would take him in and see what I could do for him. The woman was really grateful. She thought it was better than euthanizing him. I don’t think that in her heart she wanted him to die. She just couldn’t take care of him any more.”

Taryn set out to raise money for the surgery.  Clients of the hospital contributed $200 after they heard the story.  She contacted mobile surgeon Paul Cechner through Dr. Bernadine Cruz and “asked if he would do us a big favor. It was the holiday season and he did what is normally a $3,500 operation, I think, for $1,000.” Angel Fund contributed $500 and the hospital added more than $600. After the surgery, Taryn took Hershey home with her to recover.

She had good friends who had recently lost a Chihuahua because of heart issues and she asked them if they would like to take Hershey. “They’re like a second family to me. So when this little brown Chihuahua came in and the lady wanted to euthanize him, what is the irony that this family had just gotten their pet taken away from them? So I wanted to fix him up and get him ready to be fostered.”

And, after six rewarding years at Laguna Hills Hospital, Taryn was allergic to cats. “I wanted to learn everything and do everything and work with animals. But I just can’t work with cats. So I planned to drive to Pennsylvania to a new job in a physician’s office.

“Hershey was with me for the first month and then I left him with my friends and drove across the country.  And I got texts from them all the time telling me about him. They’re a big family and the dog is just loved, [although] he was shy at first. I’ve been told that I saved his life.  It’s def

And Taryn, too, is happy.  She is now helping people instead of animals and enjoying her new job.