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Case of the Month

Angel Fund Helps Mango Overcome Chronic Disease

Angel Fund Helps Mango  Overcome Chronic Disease

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.”