Early in May, Allyson Vaquera noticed that Guido, her nine-year-old pit bull terrier, was having some problems. 

“He had an accident or two in the house – peeing accidents – that I really didn’t think anything about at first,” Allyson said.  “Sometimes that happens when he’s left inside too long.  But it happened again and I noticed a couple of spots of blood.

“Then Guido started to throw up and he didn’t want to eat.  And I noticed that he had problems having a bowel movement.  The combination of all those things made me really decide that he ought to see the doctor.”

She took the dog to Northridge Pet Hospital, where she works as a receptionist.  Dr. Marissa Williams treated the dog.  The hospital “did blood work and a urine test to see if there was an infection and then an -x-ray,” Allyson said. “That’s when they saw the stone in his bladder.  It was a very big stone and the only option was to have it surgically removed.”

Allyson said that the cost of the surgery was more than she and her husband, David, could afford.  “Because of Covid, David hasn’t had steady work in a long time and we’ve been struggling.  We had to decide what we could do and euthanasia was the last thing from our minds.”

The hospital said that Angel Fund might be able to help, although it had not used the service in some time.  After checking, the hospital helped her apply.  She received a $500 grant that was matched by the hospital.  She also found another charitable group that helped with a grant of $200. 

“I only had to come up with a few hundred dollars,” she said.  “Angel Fund was like a sigh of relief.  You just have so much stress and anxiety, thinking about how you’re going to help a member of your family when financially you just can’t do it,” she said.

 Guido had his surgery on May 13.  Allyson took him home that evening. “He pretty much slept the rest of the day,” she said. “The doctor said not to feed him that night. But when I fed him the next day he seemed pretty much back to normal. He didn’t seem to be in any discomfort. It was almost like nothing had happened.

“The stitches were taken out two weeks later and he got the cone off and he was back to his regular activity.  He’s doing great now.”

Guido is the protector and buddy of her younger son, Calyx, 8, Allyson said.  He was acquired as puppy.  “We had another dog and we lived in an apartment so we had to take him out for walks multiple times a day.  David was walking him one day and somebody drove up and told him that they had a new puppy and weren’t allowed to have a dog where they lived. They asked if we could take him.

“My husband came home and he showed me this little white puppy.  And I said, ‘Oh my gosh, where did this puppy come from?  You went out to take our dog for a walk and you come back with this puppy!’  That’s how we got him.

“We decided then that we could not live in an apartment anymore.  We’d have to get a house.  And that’s what happened.  We needed a yard with our two dogs.”

Allyson and David have an older son, Nathan, who is 13.

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