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Yelena and her mother have been rescuing dogs and cats they find on the streets near their Reseda home for years, often finding them homes, if they cannot locate their owners.
That’s how they found Mila nearly two years ago. A Poddle mix, she “was running around and she was in horrible condition,” said Yelena, who asked that Pulse not use her full name. “She clearly had not been eating well and she was covered with fleas. I had to give her three baths, one after the other.
“We tried to find her owner. She did not have a chip. We posted a description of her and some people contacted us and said they thought she was their dog. But none of them sent us a picture of her and we ended up keeping her. I think we gave her a really good life.”
A few months ago, Yelena noticed that Mila “was straining to pee. I checked her and there was no blood. But I took her to the vet, who asked if I had seen any blood and if Mila was eating. The vet prescribed antibiotics, thinking the problem might be an infection.
“That seemed to help her a little bit. But then I took her to the dog park and every five seconds she was squatting down and acting like she was going to pee. And I decided I would take her either to the emergency clinic or the vet. Then I looked again and I finally saw some blood.”
Yelena called VCA McClave Animal Hospital not far from her home. “I told them exactly what was going on. They said this was an emergency, since there was blood, and to bring her in. Dr. Carina Cortez told me that they would prefer to do x-rays and a few other procedures,” Yelena said.
“I was thinking, oh this poor dog! When Dr. [Nada] Khalaf [co-medical director at McClave] called me after she saw the dog, she told me: ‘We can’t keep giving her antibiotics – we would just be going in circles.’”
Dr. Khalaf said that she saw the stone shadow on an ultrasound. She told Yelena that she suspected stones but needed radiographs to confirm they were there. When the x-rays were taken, they showed “two enormous stones in her tiny bladder,” Yelena said.
“I said that I wanted to help the dog, but I really couldn’t financially, and I asked if there was any kind of financial plan I could do. And Dr. Khalaf said she could refer me to Angel Fund. I had never heard of Angel Fund. She said: ‘I don’t know how much they can help you’ but that she would call and we would see.
“And I was thinking, ‘Oh my god, maybe they would help!’ Dr. Khalaf called back and said Angel Fund would help. I was thinking maybe $100 or $300. But the doctor said they would do more – $1,000 – and the hospital also would help, matching the grant, and that they would help me open a CareCredit account.
Dr. Cortez performed the surgery to remove the stones.
“I was really so grateful,” Yelena said. “I am just very, very thankful.” She also expressed gratitude to Dr. Khalaf: “She’s the one who helped set everything up.”
She also said that she would “rate Angel Fund at 200 on a scale of 100.” The day she learned that she was getting the grant “was a very emotional day for me.”
Mila is now doing well, she said. “After the surgery we had some antibiotics and pain medication. She was told to keep Mila from running and jumping for two weeks but the dog wanted to do just that. She now urinates normally. “She’s 100 percent different from the way she was in the dog park.
“Mila is a very special dog.”
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