A special fund created to save dogs with high-cost medical needs at Lucas County Canine Care & Control is nearly depleted, but a fund-raiser Saturday is to help.
Cutie’s Fund, created in November, 2012, has about $5,000 in its coffers. But the county shelter also has outstanding bills totaling about $6,000 after several dogs recently needed expensive emergency care.
“Obviously with the fund being low, the ability to help dogs with extraordinary medical needs is much more limited,” said Julie Lyle, director of the county shelter.
The fund has raised more than $59,000 since its inception, and about $53,700 has been spent to help dogs with a wide variety of problems such as broken bones, embedded collars, heartworm, hip dysplasia, severe wounds, emaciation, and extreme illness.
Ms. Lyle said more than 50 dogs have benefited from Cutie’s Fund, not including numerous others that have had X-rays, blood tests, and other minor procedures paid for by the fund.
“Cutie’s Fund has been a great help,” Ms. Lyle said. “Without Cutie’s Fund and the assistance of our transfer partners, these dogs would not have been savable.”
The fund’s namesake was a Chihuahua brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in its birth canal. The bill for treatment was more than $1,400.
The first $5,000 in public donations was matched by Block Communications Inc., parent company of The Blade. The fund was seeded with a $5,000 donation from John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Blade, and Allan Block, chairman of Block Communications.
Determining if Cutie’s Fund will aid a dog’s veterinary needs depends on a variety of factors, but “we help as many dogs as possible,” Ms. Lyle said.
“In general, if a dog needs a major surgery like orthopedic leg repair, etc., we need to have a transfer partner lined up before doing the surgery as dogs need special care during recovery that we are not able to provide here,” she said.
Many dogs have been saved through a combination of Cutie’s Fund money, placement with local rescue groups, and additional fund-raising efforts. Ruthie, a 1-year-old chocolate and white “pit bull,” entered the county shelter as a stray Dec. 7. The friendly, sweet-tempered pooch was put up for adoption, but began showing lameness this month. A veterinarian determined she needed surgery to fix a luxating patella.
Cutie’s Fund contributed $400 to her surgery, which was estimated at $800 to $1,100. Volunteers at the county shelter raised the rest, and Ruthie had surgery Friday. She is now in a foster home with the Lucas County Pit Crew.
“We won’t really have a final figure until all the followup is done,” Jean Keating, executive director of the Pit Crew, said. “Her medical bills are probably going to be higher than that by the time everything’s done, but with the fund-raising, I think we’ll be close to meeting it.”
The Pit Crew has also taken in Avery, a brindle mastiff-mix puppy thought to be 7 or 8 weeks old and found running loose in Toledo last week. He had four severe, open wounds on his neck, presumably caused by another dog. While Cutie’s Fund covered his initial care, Avery’s ongoing care falls to the Pit Crew.
“There’s just not enough to go around,” Ms. Keating said. “[Cutie’s Fund] can’t pay for everything.”
Ms. Lyle said Cutie’s Fund has been an invaluable resource in helping the county give rescued dogs a second chance at a happy, healthy life.
“We are extremely thankful for all the public support for Cutie’s Fund thus far, and hope to be able to help many more dogs with their continued support,” she said.