Posts Tagged ‘Angel Fund’

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 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.

Attacked by 3 Dogs, Lucy Is Rescued by Angel Fund

Saturday, June 18th, 2016

 

May AF LucyA week and a half before Christmas in 2014, Mary Parmer and her son Bill were in her Apple Valley home when there was a sudden eruption of noise outside – barking, snarling and shrieking.

They quickly investigated and discovered their two small dogs – a Corgi mix named Lucy and a Chihuahua mix named Lady under attack by three large dogs in the yard next door.

Before the three large dogs, including a Boxer mix and a Pit Bull mix, could be chased away from the smaller dogs, Lady was dead and Lucy had suffered severe lacerations.

“We didn’t have a car here, so Bill ran to a neighbor’s house and asked them to take us to the vet.  Lucy was ripped open in several places. She had surgery and was in [Bear Valley Animal] hospital several days, then she came home. But she had to go back for more surgery a week later. And she had to go back for more treatment after that.”

Mary is a retired widow who worked part-time for 25 years at Victor Valley College and Bill had been laid off from a maintenance job there so there was little money to pay Lucy’s bills.  The hospital suggested Angel Fund, which stepped in with $500, a sum matched by the hospital. Mary is grateful for the assistance that saved her pet’s life. A daughter helped her with subsequent veterinary bills.

Lucy still shows signs of the trauma she suffered.  Now about two years old, “she has good days and bad days and every now and then you can tell that her wounds still bother her,” Mary said. “She has trouble jumping. She is usually a very active dog and sometimes she gets real still and doesn’t have much energy.”

Before the attacks, Lucy slept on her bed, Mary said.  Since Lucy could not jump up on the bed during her recovery, Mary made herself a bed on the floor and slept there with Lucy for a few weeks after her surgery.

For a long time after the attacks, Mary said, Lucy would go out in the yard and look for Lady. “She missed her so much.  So we went out and got her another pal. They have a great time together.” The new dog is Crystal, also a Chihuahua mix.

Lucy came to Mary’s house originally when a friend found her at the side of the road not far away.  “She couldn’t keep her so we took her in. We checked with animal control and people in the neighborhood but no one claimed her.” That was about six months before the attack by the neighbor’s dogs.

The two yards are separated by a wooden fence. “I don’t know how our dogs got into their yard. I think the big dogs dragged them through the fence,” Mary said. The three large dogs still live next door, although all is now peaceful.

Unable to Pay for Dog’s Surgery, Family Gets Help from Angel Fund

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

BLUEIn November, 2014, the Montoya family’s dog Blue was having problems.  “He was showing signs for about a week,” Vera Montoya said.  “He lost his appetite and stopped eating.  I thought he might have eaten some of the kids’ Halloween candy. But then he didn’t eat for two days and he had a fever. Then he had a seizure. “

Mrs. Montoya, who was not working at the time, said that she didn’t have pet insurance and not much money to spend.  “I felt kind of helpless.  I didn’t want to take him to the hospital, knowing I didn’t have any way to pay for it.  I didn’t know then that there were places that offer people financial aid in those situations.”

But Blue, a pitbull, was shaking and feverish.  So she took him to an emergency hospital near her home in Santa Ana. “They took x-rays and found a small piece of metal that had punctured his intestine. And they told me that he needed emergency surgery.”

Vera told the doctor that she could not pay a surgical bill. He told her he would not do the surgeryH and he gave her the names of hospitals that he thought could help. The next day, she took Blue to one of the hospitals. The doctor said he could not do the surgery without payment and wanted $70 for the consultation.  “It was kind of hard right there,” she said.

In the meantime, she had gotten a call from one of the other hospitals – Mesa West Pet Hospital in Costa Mesa. “They said that they could treat Blue. So we rushed right over there.  The doctor took him in to emergency surgery and she did what she could for him.  She found a piece of metal and we tried to figure out what it was.  After careful consideration, I think it was from a spiked collar we had bought for him but never used. It was hanging on a door knob and one of the spikes was missing. He loved to chew on anything he could get ahold of and we think he chewed on the collar and swallowed it.”

The hospital suggested seeking Angel Fund help. Vera filled out the forms and was granted nearly $500 in assistance. She is grateful for the help that gave Blue a chance to live.

The hospital did not have 24-hour staffing so Vera was told that she should take Blue home at night and bring him back in the morning. “The first night, we brought him home on a gurney because he was heavily medicated. . . . He woke up at 4 a.m. and I offered him some water but he didn’t want a drink. The next morning he seemed to have bounced back – very resilient. He seemed almost himself but he was weak. We took him to the clinic and he looked at me like he didn’t want me to leave him.  I was planning to pick him up and bring him home later that afternoon.

“But at 2 o’clock I got a call from the clinic. The doctor said: ‘He didn’t make it.’ She said he had had a seizure and didn’t survive.”

Today the Montoya family has another dog, a Rottweiler-pit bull mix. “We got the dog because my five children were so heart broken. We mourned for several weeks and it just seemed like we couldn’t get past it. We’d never had to deal with death before and it was so hard. I got the new dog to try to help us recover.  It’s still a very hard thing to discuss.

“Blue slept in my oldest daughter’s bed.  He was close with the entire family.  When I was pregnant with my two-year-old, he knew it and when I came home from the hospital, he was very welcoming of the baby.”

Vera now is employed in a medical office and her husband, Bladimir, works in maintenance and as a janitor. Their five children range in age from 2 to 20.

“In my culture we celebrate Day of the Dead,” Vera said. “So it was ironic that it was on November first [when Pulse initially contacted her]. And I thought it was really surprising because I was doing the best I could to remember Blue – all the wonderful things about him.”

Angel Fund Helps Beautiful, Pregnant Boots

Monday, November 23rd, 2015

 

Boots and the Holy Spirit 009Last Spring, Scott and Barbara Peterson had a visitor to their Tustin apartment – a beautiful black and white cat who was affectionate and loving.  The animal – they named her Boots because of her white paws – soon became a part of the family.

But after a few weeks they realized that Boots was putting on weight, that she was pregnant.

When the time came for Boots to deliver her litter, it quickly became clear that something was wrong.  She was in extreme discomfort and seemed unable to give birth.  Scott searched the internet and found a website which suggested that a mother cat who was in labor for five hours should be taken to the hospital.  He went back to the internet to look for a nearby veterinarian and decided to take Boots to Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Tustin not far from their home.

There Dr. Diane Craig performed a cesarean section and delivered two kittens. She told Scott and Barbara that one of the kittens was simply too big to be delivered by a normal birth.

Scott, a retired electrician, did not have the financial resources to pay the hospital and surgery bills. He applied for an Angel Fund grant and was approved for $500, an amount that the clinic matched. He and Barbara are grateful for the help they received and the care Boots was given.

Today, Boots, who was spayed when her kittens were delivered, is an indoor cat.  One of the kittens still lives with the Petersons.  “She [Boots] is really pretty.  She’s black with white paws and a white tuxedo look,” Scott said.  And she is healthy and happy. He    e H

“I thought it was miraculous that she came to us when she was pregnant,” he said. “If she hadn’t done that, she probably wouldn’t have survived.  She just walked in the door. We didn’t realize she was pregnant at first.  But if she hadn’t come to us, she would not have lived.”

Did she have some inkling that she might need help? “I don’t know,” Scott said.  “Maybe somebody else sent her our way.  Maybe somebody from above.”

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 Giveforward.com 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.

Ollie’s Injured Knee Repaired With Help From Angel Fund

Thursday, July 16th, 2015

AF Ollie 2

In January last year, Brandy Knochel took her dogs to Riverwalk Dog Park in Riverside not far from her Perris home. “It’s a dog park I frequent and we were on the agility side of the park,” she said. “There’s a hoop you can jump through and Ollie loves to do that.”

Ollie is a Rottweiler-Airedale mix who weighs more than 100 pounds. “Bubba, go jump!” Brandy told him. The dog eagerly ran for the hoop but his sister, a much smaller Golden Retriever mix, got in the way. “She jumped in before him, which slowed him down. So when he jumped through, his back leg got hung up on a chain,” she said. “And when he landed, he immediately laid down and started yelping. I thought, ‘Oh my god, he just broke his leg.’ He couldn’t walk and he wouldn’t let his toe touch the ground. So I took him to the veterinarian.” The doctor said she believed Ollie had ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament. She referred Brandy to a specialist.

A dog trainer, Brandy said she was “immediately doing fund-raising for him. I did training at discounted rates. I did rummage sales. I did garage sales. I knew he was going to get surgery but, if we could get help, it made it that much easier.” At her garage sale, she put Ollie in her front yard on an ottoman with a document that described what had happened. “We told people that all proceeds would go for his surgery. We had people who came to the sale and didn’t buy anything but donated to his surgery fund.”

A friend who lives nearby and works for SCVMA told her about Angel Fund. Brandy filled out an application. Shortly before Ollie’s surgery date, her friend called her and told her that her application had been approved.

Dr. Sam Shenouda performed the surgery on Ollie at Ambassador Dog and Cat Hospital in Long Beach. When he repaired the ACL, however, he discovered a torn meniscus and repaired that, too. The additional cost was $900.

“I had raised enough for his ACL surgery,” Brandy said. But with the additional charge for meniscus repair, she needed the Angel Fund grant and the hospital’s match to pay her bill. “When I found out they had approved it, I said, ‘Holy Cow! I cannot believe this is happening.’ I was very thankful for it. I’m sure he [Ollie] was, too.”

Ollie now is “a brand new dog, essentially,” Brandy said. “He looks so good. And the doctors said that, usually, if a dog tears a leg on one side, he is at risk for the other side. We’ve had zero issues with his other side. You wouldn’t know looking at him that he had had surgery. HJ He takes a little longer to get up, especially in the winter, if he’s been lying down a while, because he has to stretch the [injured] leg.

“We’re very, very much appreciative of the help Angel Fund gave us. It relieved some of the tension and it just made this a whole thing a lot easier. It worked out extremely well for us.”

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.”