A special fund created to help dogs at the Lucas County Canine Care & Control with high-cost medical needs has risen thanks to recent donations, though it could still be easily emptied if the county shelter receives more special cases.
Cutie’s Fund, which had been almost empty in mid-February, has raised more than $71,000 since its inception in November, 2012. About $60,800 has been spent, leaving about $10,200 remaining with bills yet to be paid.
“There are always outstanding bills coming in,” shelter Director Julie Lyle said.
Ms. Lyle said the fund has benefited more than 80 dogs with a wide variety of problems like broken bones, embedded collars, heartworm, hip dysplasia, severe wounds, emaciation, and extreme illness.
She said keeping the fund at about $10,000, as it is now, would be good, “but that can be quickly depleted depending on [the dogs] we get in.”
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.
On Tuesday, Cutie’s Fund paid for an in-house surgery for a 2-year-old pug mix named Edie. She had large bladder stone that was causing severe pain. Ms. Lyle said she is doing well now.
“The bladder stone took up almost all the room in her poor little bladder,” she said. “It was very painful.”
Ms. Lyle said dogs who are candidates for Cutie’s Fund money must be able to be transferred to a rescue group before the fund can kick in for their medical needs. She said the shelter cannot provide proper aftercare for many of the dogs.
“Many of our Cutie’s dogs need weeks or even months to heal, and a shelter is not a safe place to do that where they are one of 100-plus dogs that need care, new dogs with new germs are coming in every day, and they must be confined to a cage nearly all the time,” she said.
The county promotes Cutie’s Fund through a pamphlet at the shelter and on its Web site, as well as reaching out through Facebook and local media.
But competition for donors’ attention is always strong.
“The end of the year tends to be a time for higher donations, and when there is a high-profile beneficiary of the fund, donations tend to raise temporarily,” Ms. Lyle said. “Other than that, we are competing with all the other animal groups in the area for every donated dollar, and there are never a lack of groups asking for money for one worthy cause or another.”
The Lucas County Pit Crew last month held a canine fashion show to benefit both the “pit bull” rescue group and Cutie’s Fund. The group was able to send $1,700 to Cutie’s Fund.
Canine Karma, a dog training business based in Holland, will hold two special yoga classes Saturday, April 5. Half the proceeds from the event, called “Downdog for a Cause,” will benefit Cutie’s Fund.
Tina Ferner, owner of the business, already teaches yoga classes as part of Canine Karma’s offerings because her clients frequently are dealing with their dogs’ behavioral problems.
“It’s stressful to have a dog with behavioral challenges, so we put something in place to help dog owners relax,” Ms. Ferner said. “I thought that I’d like to have a couple of these events this year and split the proceeds with Cutie’s Fund.”
The 9 a.m. class at 6128 Merger Dr., Suite C, in Holland is slated for more advanced yoga participants, with a beginners class following at 10:30 am. Reserve a spot by calling 419-290-8237, preferably by April 1, though Ms. Ferner said she would accept last-minute registrations. The cost is $20 per person.
Ms. Ferner’s goal is to raise $1,000 for Cutie’s Fund.
Ms. Lyle said the county shelter appreciates Canine Karma’s effort.
“We are always grateful when the community comes together to help homeless dogs,” she said. “People can take part in this fun event and help dogs in need at the same time, so I think it is wonderful.”
Donations to Cutie’s Fund, which are tax-deductible, may be made in person or mailed to Lucas County Canine Care & Control, 410 S. Erie St., Toledo, 43604, or they can be made online at 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.