Reba’s maternal instincts didn’t kick in at first after her seven puppies were delivered. Five died. The survivors are doing well.
An influx of dogs with serious medical needs has nearly depleted a fund at Lucas County Canine Care & Control that pays for their treatment.
Cutie’s Fund was set up in November, 2012, to help dogs at the county shelter with a variety of problems such as broken bones, embedded collars, heartworm, hip dysplasia, severe wounds, emaciation, and extreme illness.
“If we don’t have Cutie’s Fund to rely on, we unfortunately don’t have the budget to treat a lot of these things,” Director Julie Lyle said. “It really means life or death for some of these dogs.”
Cutie’s Fund has raised more than $85,000 for the care of more than 115 dogs, plus numerous others who have had X-rays, special medications, or other needs. More than $77,500 has been spent, leaving about $7,500 with thousands of dollars in outstanding bills.
“We can go for weeks, then have four or five at the emergency clinic at one time,” Ms. Lyle said. “The donations kind of go in waves, and the expenses come in waves. Unfortunately, they don’t usually coincide.”
In recent weeks, Cutie’s Fund has paid for hospitalization of puppies with canine parvovirus, an eye-removal surgery, a blood transfusion and hospitalization for a puppy sickened by rat poison, orthopedic surgery for a dog with two severely broken legs, and an emergency cesarean section.
The surgery was performed on a young Chihuahua that was listless and hardly able to move. All seven puppies in Reba’s little belly were delivered alive, and the canine family was transferred July 30 to a foster home with the Toledo Area Humane Society.
Reba, who is underweight, initially did not want to care for them. Sadly, five of them died.
“One of them died not too long after we got them,” said Michelle Healey, development specialist for the humane society who is fostering the group. “The other four made it through about 24 hours being bottle fed, but weren’t suckling well and were struggling. They died the next day.”
With some help, Reba’s maternal instincts kicked in, and the two surviving puppies are nursing and doing well.
Reba is also perking up.
“She’s very sweet, really friendly, and loves attention,” Mrs. Healey said. “She’s very peppy now.”
Reba’s story is similar to that of Cutie, the Chihuahua who became the fund’s namesake. She was brought in during the middle of the night with a dead puppy lodged in her birth canal. The bill for treatment was more than $1,400.
The first $5,000 in public donations to Cutie’s Fund 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.
“We’re able to save a lot more dogs that have medical issues because of Cutie’s Fund and our transfer partners,” Ms. Lyle said. “We don’t want to say no to a dog that needs help, but if we don’t have the funding, we don’t have many options.”
Donations to Cutie’s Fund are tax-deductible and may be made in person or mailed to Lucas County Canine Care & Control, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, 43604, or made online by going to lucascountydogs.com/donate/cuties-fund.
Checks should be made payable to Lucas County Canine Care & Control with “Cutie’s Fund” specified on the memo line.