LIVINGSTON, LA — The SPCA of Livingston has seen its fair share of high veterinary bills. Although funds are tight, they always find a way to provide care for the abandoned or abused animals they rescue.
“There’s a saying in animal rescue - saving the life of one dog will not change the world, but it will change the life for that one dog,” Terri Dunlap, President of SPCA of Livingston, said. “No matter how cute they look on the outside, rescues are almost always broken on the inside. People damage these dogs and we do what we can to fix them.”
The latest rescue, however, has a price tag higher than anything she could have anticipated.
“When the vet said it would cost $2,000, I thought it was ludicrous,” Dunlap admitted. “But when the Plan B option is euthanasia, you have to try.”
That price tag hangs on the head of a 5 month old Chihuahua mix originally surrendered to the West Baton Rouge Parish Shelter in Port Allen.
“The shelter is one we work with from time to time,” Dunlap explained. “They told us this dog was brought in and he was not in good shape. He was infested with flees and severely emaciated. On intake to our shelter, he started to crash.”
The sick puppy named Eeyore quickly grew on the affections of the rescue workers. Then they learned that his challenge was far greater than anything they could have anticipated.
“The next day we took him to get a medical exam and they said he had a level 5 heart murmur,” Dunlap explained. “We took him to another vet for a second opinion, and the prognosis was even worse. They said he had PDA.”
Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA) is a genetic heart disorder that is common among dogs. If left uncorrected, it is fatal within the first two years.
“I had an emergency meeting with our board members and told them that we had a 5 month old dog with only another year to live if we didn’t raise $2,000,” Dunlap said. “There was not a whole lot of thinking needed. We couldn’t imagine throwing away a 5 month old dog.”
The board decided to appeal to the public and see if it’s even possible to raise the funds necessary.
“He’s already over half way to his goal amount,” Dunlap said with excitement. “It looks like we’re doing this wonderful thing, but this is the public. All we did was post the story. The public and their overwhelming response is what’s saving this dog.”
Dunlap is confident they will reach the goal amount in time.
“Eeyore the Winnie the Pooh character had trouble with his tail, and our Eeyore has trouble with his heart,” Dunlap said. “He was thrown away once, and we promised that we’re not going to throw him away – we’re going to give him a chance.”