Angel Fund Helps Cheeto, a Tabby, with Blocked Bladder

One day a few weeks ago, Ashley Bettencourt came home from her job as a pre-school teacher and found her tabby cat Cheeto in distress.

“He wasn’t himself,” she said. “He wasn’t eating.  He was lethargic and was lying on the tile in the hallway.  He wasn’t moving.  Nothing worked that I knew would make him excited. 

“I thought maybe he was constipated but I pressed on his belly and it was really hard.  It made me nervous.  So I called the Cat Care Clinic where my in-laws take their cats.  After taking him in for an examination, I was told that he had a blocked bladder – he wasn’t able to urinate.”

That was on a Friday.  Dr. Maggie Mills treated Cheeto.  “They didn’t have to do surgery but they kept him in the hospital the whole weekend so they could keep an eye on him,” Ashley said.  “They put in a catheter.  But they said he took it out himself.  So they put the tubes back in and he didn’t fight them again. 

“When I took him in to the clinic, I wasn’t expecting what was coming,” she said. “I thought he was constipated and they would fix it and I would take him home.   So when it came time to pay I was like, ‘I can’t do this.’

But the staff at Cat Care was understanding and helpful.   April, the assistant practice manager, “was so sweet and nice,” Ashley said.   “She printed me out a list of foundations that could help and she pointed out who to call and told me what to do.   Angel Fund was the first to say, ‘We’ll help you.’  I had never done something like that before.  It was overwhelming in a good way.

“I went home and I cried that night.  I thought what happened was amazing.  I couldn’t believe it.”  She said that she found another charitable group that helped pay her bill.  And the Cat Care Clinic found some money from another fund and they used that to help as well, she said.

“They said (at Cat Care) that, if we couldn’t do this, they would have had to euthanize Cheeto.  He always had been such a healthy cat that is horrible to even think about.  I love that Angel Fund and the veterinary association are letting people know about this.   I wouldn’t have known if it wasn’t for Dr. Mills and April.”

Cheeto recovered quickly.  “Now, he is good, he’s happy,” Ashley said.  “He’s lost a lot of weight.  But he’s eating well. He’s drinking a lot of water.   And he’s fine, he’s active and he’s playing with our other cats.”

Cheeto is the father of the other cats, Roxy, Khola Man and Sprinkles – all named by Ashley’s daughters.  There is also a dog in the family, Benny a miniature Doberman, with whom Cheeto is a best buddy.  “We are a house that loves our fur babies,” Ashley said.

Cheeto became a member of the family after Ashley’s husband found him hiding among tires at the warehouse where he worked.  He was a three-week-old kitten at the time and had to be bottle fed.

Ashley is a single parent to three daughters: Bella, 13; Skylar, 11 and Audrina, 7.  She loves her job as a pre-school teacher.  “It’s challenging but I love it.  my students are four and five.  They talk fast but they’re willing to learn and they love it.”

Angel Fund Helps Rescue Beba and Alvarado Family

A few months ago, Laura Alvarado said, her family noticed a beautiful gray cat spending time in their backyard in Long Beach. 

“The cat looked scared and it was hanging around in our yard.  So we decided to rescue it.  It was very friendly and it came to us,” Laura said.  “My mom took the cat in the house and took care of her.  We had never had cats, just dogs before. We got her the shots she needed and had her spayed.”

But not long after taking in the cat they named Beba, a beautiful short-haired gray domestic, the Alvarado family got some shocking news. Beba was pregnant – and she needed to have a cesarean section.  Leticia, Laura’s mother, had taken Beba to Los Coyotes Pet Hospital, where she was examined by Dr. Sonah Jo.

In early April, the surgery was performed.  None of the kittens survived.  “Dr. Jo told us to give Beba a lot of love because cats mourn the death of their kittens,” Laura said.  “We have been giving her as much love as we can and she’s doing great.”

The Alvarado family gets by on a limited income.  Leticia had to quit her job to provide care for a son, Gustavo Jr., who is disabled.  Gustavo, the father, can no longer work and gets a disability check.  Laura works as a probation officer in Riverside.  She spends half her days there and the other half at her parents’ home.

Dr. Jo told Leticia about Angel Fund.  “We couldn’t have paid for the surgery without it,” Laura said. “When Angel Fund was brought to our attention, it was just a sigh of relief.  We didn’t think when we rescued Beba, that we’d have to be so involved financially.

“Angel Fund was really great.  What they did for us was amazing.”  The grant was for $232.49, an amount matched by the hospital.   “We were devastated by what happened,” Laura said.  “We didn’t know what to do.”   Angel Fund helped provide the Alvarado family with the answer.  

Angel Fund Helps Mitzy, Blind Dog Diagnosed With IMHA

Helen Uitermark lives alone in her home in the San Gabriel Valley, except for her pets, including dogs large and small.  About a year ago, she adopted Mitzy, “so, if nothing else, I can hug her on my lap.” 

Mitzy is a West Highland White Terrier mix and is about the size of a Maltese-Poodle mix. She was just the right medicine to lift Helen out of a depression arising from her own medical problems.

Helen, is a senior citizen who often uses a cane or walker because of a broken ankle suffered nearly a year ago.  Mitzy replaced two tuxedo cats that were apparently lost to coyotes. 

Last spring, Helen said, “it was obvious that Mitzy wasn’t feeling well so I took her to Covina Animal Hospital.  The diagnosis was glaucoma in her left eye.”

Dr. Karryssa Fenderson-Joseph, the hospital’s medical director, said that, when Mitzy’s condition did not improve with medical management, the best option she could offer was to remove the eye.  The surgery took place a few days later.

Mitzy soon was able to run around in Helen’s backyard.  “Everything was fine for several weeks,” she said. “Then, because Mitzy didn’t seem to be herself, I checked her, and the other eye seemed to have a white haze across it.  I took her back to the hospital and she was diagnosed, again with glaucoma.”  Dr. Fenderson said she recommended removal of Mitzy’s remaining eye after Helen told her that she didn’t want Mitzy to have on-going problems.

“After removal of the right eye, Dr. Fenderson had me come back several times because of an anemia condition (Immune-Mediated Hemolytic Anemia). I had never heard of it.

“Dr. Fenderson gave Mitzy a full-blood transfusion,” Helen said, “and she improved every week. We’ve been back to the hospital every month for a checkup. According to the doctor, the numbers have been holding so – unless something else happens – we’re good to go!”

Dr. Fenderson said that Mitzy has done so well since her transfusion that she is in remission and no longer is taking medication for IMHA.

Helen had been told about Angel Fund by friends and she asked Dr. Fenderson about it. “She immediately said: ‘Let me see what I can do.’ There was no further discussion about it but a few visits later, she said: ‘By the way, the grant has been approved.’ I almost danced out of her office! You have no idea how much I appreciate the Angel Fund grant.

“Dr. Fenderson has been so terrific, that’s where I will be going. It’s 15 miles from my home but, yes, she will be taking care of all my animals. I love her dearly.”

Mitzy seemed to be depressed after the second eye was removed. “She wasn’t interested in much and wasn’t even exploring. I was offered a kitten, about eight weeks old, and I said yes, since I’d lost the two cats last year.

“The kitten, Rusty, a male who is about six months old, and Mitzy get along fantastically. Mitzy’s depression has improved so much. It was wonderful to see. She gets around the house and backyard just fine. Every day her awareness seems to get better.”

Helen is getting used to dealing with a sightless Mitzy and she often forgets that her dog is blind. “She and I are getting accustomed to it. I can hear Mitzy on the other side of the door when I drive into the garage. It’s as if she’s trying to jump into my arms when I come through that door – then she does.”

But the household got a shock when Helen was pressured into accepting two Shi Tzu dogs that needed a new home. Helen said that she really did not want more pets, especially with a pinched sciatic nerve that added to her mobility problems. “They were absolutely loveable animals but it was too much,” she said.

A month after they arrived – the Shi Tzus were adopted by another family – much to Helen’s relief.

“My household is down to Mitzy and Rusty now. After the Shi Tzus left, Rusty came over to Mitzy when she was lying down and cuddled up to her. And she is walking through the house like it’s her domain again. I hope it is for many years to come!!”

Angel Fund Helps Homeless Man, Chihuahua Attacked by Large DogGoofy After Attack by Large Dog

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.”

AHF treats homeless pets at Santa Ana River Trail for free

PUBLISHED: July 30, 2017 at 7:17 pm | UPDATED: July 31, 2017 at 7:50 am



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.

TJ and Chance Ivey were thankful for the opportunity to get their pit bull-Labrador-mix Daisy checked out.

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.”

Ollie’s Injured Knee Repaired With Help From Angel Fund

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.”

Family Pet Clinic in Anaheim Helps Client

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!

Angel Fund Helped Betty Save Skip for her Grandkids

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.