Early one cold January morning last year, Martiniano Gutierrez, was walking his Chihuahua Goofy in a park in Santa Ana. Suddenly, a black German Shepherd mix charged out of the predawn darkness and attacked the smaller dog.
Martiniano did not see the shepherd until it was too late. He managed to pull the dog off Goofy – but not before it had inflicted serious wounds on the smaller dog’s chest and abdomen and he himself had been bitten.
A 68-year-old man from Puebla, Mex., Martiniano had been living in his car for a year and a half and was not working. Goofy means everything to him. “He is my only family. He is my son. He is the other half of my soul,” Martiniano told Ligia Veloz, staff members at Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital where he took his dog for treatment. “Even though he was in pain from the attack, he still gave me kisses. Goofy may depend on me for nourishment but my soul depends on him.”
Goofy was calm, even though he was bleeding from his severe wounds. “He’s such a good boy,” Ligia, a receptionist and technical assistant at the hospital said. “That’s why we all fell in love with him.“ Dr. Laura Weatherford repaired Goofy surgically and the dog was released to Martiniano that evening. “We knew he would do better with his dad,” Ligia said. “We saw him the next day and when he came in to be checked over several weeks.”
Martiniano did not have money to pay the bill. The hospital steered him to Angel Fund, which provided $500, a sum matched by the hospital. Those funds made the surgery and treatment possible and Goofy and his owner are grateful both to the hospital and Angel Fund.
The Mexican native has lived in the United States for 37 years and is now a U.S. citizen. He worked for years as a tire man in a garage owned by his brother. But the brother died a few years ago. Martiniano worked in the same garage for his nephew – but his pay was cut back and he had to live in the tire shop. He sought work elsewhere but was unable to find another job because of his age and the fact that he has difficulty walking and standing for long periods of time.
Today he lives on a Social Security disability check. But he no longer is living in his car. He now owns an RV, purchased a year ago through a state program that friends told him about. It provides much more room and he and Goofy are more comfortable in it.
Martiniano recognized the dog that attacked Goofy. He had stayed overnight near the Santa Ana park frequently and knew the house where the shepherd lived. So he went there after his dog was injured and told the owners what had happened. They refused to help and seemed to blame the event on Goofy and his master.
Ligia acted as interpreter in an interview with Martiniano, who speaks little English. She said that her hospital helps him as much as possible. “We have clients who donate bed and food and we always contact him because we know that he appreciates it. And we love Goofy.”
Martiniano and Goofy plan to continue living in the RV because of money issues. But there is not enough income to pay for a space in an RV park so they will continue to park on the street at night.
But they are happy together. And Goofy is “really good,” Ligia said. “He’s always got his tail wagging. And he’s always looking for his dad. He’s just a happy guy.”
ANAHEIM Michael Diehl has had Osiris since the pit bull was just a pup. Diehl, 46, suffers from sudden seizures and Osiris helps keep him safe, alerting him before they happen, he said. “He means everything to me,” he said. “He protects me from everything.”
As one of hundreds living on the riverbed of the Santa Ana River Trail, Diehl was among 60 people and their pets who took advantage of free veterinary services offered on Sunday, July 30.
The services were offered by two groups, the Healthcare Emergency Animal Rescue Team out of Yorba Linda run by veterinarians Debra and Dr. Todd Kopit, and Dr. Mark Malo, vice president of the Animal Health Foundation, a nonprofit that is a charitable wing of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association.
The veterinarians did wellness checks, vaccinations, de-worming and parasite treatment.
“We launched this program because we know there are many services for homeless people but not for their pets, ” said Malo, who also works at the Garden Grove Dog and Cat Hospital. “These people are dedicated to their animals. They would go without their own meals to feed them.”
Angel Nole, 32, brought his dog Bandit, a Dalmatian pit bull-mix, for shots and flea control. He also brought Robin, a six-week-old pup for his first puppy shots.
“It helps out a lot,” said Nole said, adding that he can’t afford any veterinary care.
Daisy has helped make life bearable for the couple, they said.
“She brightens everybody’s day,” TJ Ivey said. “If they’re disgusted with life, she walks up to them and it’s a blessing.”
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.”
Dr. Lee of the Family Pet Clinic in Anaheim applied to Angel Funds through the AHF to help a client afford luxating patella surgery on Harley so that the 10 year old dog would no longer be in pain and be able to walk again!
The AHF thanks Dr. Lee for utilizing the Angel Fund to help Harley!
Some nine years ago, Betty Arevalo and her husband went to the animal shelter near her Rowland Heights home. They wanted to take home a small dog that their grandchildren could love.
They found half that. Skip was a beautiful black and white puppy. “I told the people there that we wanted a small dog. They said Skip was going to be like 25 or 30 pounds. But he outgrew that in no time. He had the biggest tail and the biggest ears. He was really cute and he really loved the grandchildren.”
But Skip was not going to be a small dog. After passing 30 pounds, he kept on growing until he reached 135 pounds. (Betty calls him a “St. Bernard-shepherd.”) But he was great with the grandchildren – and the neighbors and anyone else who came around. Skip looked like a horse, Betty said, and some of the neighbors refer to him as “the cow” because of his black and white spots.
In the summer of 2011, Betty noticed that Skip was bleeding from a toe on one of his feet. She thought he had cut himself as he dashed around the yard chasing grandchildren or squirrels and she dabbed peroxide on the wound to clean it. But it wouldn’t stop bleeding so she took Skip to Macy & Thomas Veterinary Hospital in nearby Whittier.
Dr. Sean Kay examined the foot and told the Arevalos that Skip had cancer and needed surgery to amputate the cancerous toe. Reynaldo Arevalo is a retired worker for the City of Los Angeles. He has emphysema. Betty had worked on and off and also is retired.
“We didn’t know how we were going to afford this. We were looking for help because it was going to be so much money,” Betty said. There was help – from an Angel Fund grant and from the hospital, which discounted the bill.
“They really helped us out a lot. We only had to pay a third or something like that.
Dr. Kay was a very good doctor. He really took good care of Skip. The people at the hospital were wonderful – just wonderful.”
Today, Skip is having problems with his hind legs. He has arthritis and is taking medication. He cannot chase the grandchildren around the yard now but he loves their visits – and they love him as much as they ever did.
Thanks to the Tustin Santa Ana Veterinary Hospital for using the Angel Fund to help Teddy’s family with surgery for a torn ACL. Teddy is a 2 year old Sant Bernard.
Thanks to the Point Vicente Animal Hospital, Judy got much-needed surgery for pyometra by getting a grant from the Angel Fund.
“A man came over to us and said he had found a dog tied up to a pole there and asked if it belonged to somebody,” Oksana said. “The dog [a chihuahua] had this little harness on and he had grown into it and it wouldn’t buckle up any more. It was so tight I couldn’t pull it over his head. We had to cut it off. He was really underweight and had a broken leg.
“My husband has a soft spot for little dogs and he said: ‘Well he’s not ours but we’ll take him and . . . see what we can do.’ We took him to Blue Cross Pet Hospital in North Hollywood. We’ve been taking our dogs there for a long time. And it turned out the dog had a broken hip on top of the broken leg.
Dr. James Walters, co-owner of the hospital, told the couple that the dog needed surgery. Eric is in the Marine Corps and Oksana works as a projects manager. She told Walters that they could not afford to pay for an operation. “‘We’d love to,’ I said, ‘but this is not our dog.’ My bigger dog was in a car accident less than six months before and we had been paying off that vet bill as well,” she said.
“The hospital offered to do the surgery for almost 50 percent off . . . so we finally decided to have it done. They had to put four pins, I think, in his leg. Our veterinarian told us after the surgery that somebody probably had kicked him and that the hip injury was a really old injury.”
The hospital took more than $700 off its bill and helped the Schwartzes obtain an Angel Fund grant. Oksana created a Facebook page for Murray, as they decided to call the dog, and a couple of friends contributed, too. “The fact that we got some help with the bill was really great,” she said.
“But we couldn’t find a place for him. Nobody really wanted a dog that had a broken bone,” Oksana said. “I really didn’t want another dog, either, because we live in a small apartment where we had two dogs to begin with and we weren’t sure if we could afford him. But he was such a sweet little dog that we decided to keep him.”
Murray still has some issues that Oksana believes are related to how he was treated before he came into her life. For instance, she said, “in the middle of the night, if he’s sleeping on our bed and you accidently touch him with your foot, he can have a freak-out moment where he starts growling. But usually if you just hold him down, he’s o.k. and he’ll calm down and go right back to sleep.”
“Since we’ve had him, he’s 100 percent better than when we found him. He was about six pounds then. Now he’s about 10. He wasn’t using his leg for a long time and the muscle had deteriorated so we had to train him to use it again. And now the muscle is slowly coming back.
“He’s a great addition to our family. He’s super sweet and smart and he wants to get petted all the time and he cuddles. He loves playing with our bigger dog and our little girl dog takes care of him like she’s his mom.”
The Animal Health Foundation’s Angel Fund was happy to help pet owners in Los Angeles and Orange Counties afford critical care for their precious furry pets.
The Nelson’s pet Pistol received a grant as a result of the Lomita Pet Hospital
The Portillo’s pet Little Ranger received a grant as a result of the Community Veterinary Hospital, Inc.
The Varela’s pet Diesel received a grant as a result of the Aliso Niguel Animal Hospital
The Hattori’s pet Buddy received a grant as a result of the Crenshaw Animal Hospital
The Meier’s pet Little Bob received a grant as a result of the Mar Vista Animal Medical Center
The Leek’s pet Sheb received a grant as a result of the Beverly Virgin Animal Hospital
The Rodriguez’ pet Teddy received a grant as a result of the Animal Hospital of Huntington Beach
Lazarus had an amazing recovery from his bladder surgery despite his anemia and his liver issues.
But our concern with today’s physical exma on his three week recheck and suture removal
Is that he is experinecing some neurologic issues. This may be related to his liver’s inability to
Digest proteins in his diet. Last week this happened and Carolyn lowered the protein in his food
and Lazaarus improved. But it only took a little bit of fish protein in his diet this morning to bring
on the neuologic symptoms again. We are watching Lazarus closely with hope in our hearts!
How many more times can Lazarus defy the odds?