When Gina Wirth of the Jefferson County SPCA arrived at the Lewis County Humane Society recently she thought she was on a routine trip. She was there to pick up some of their dogs and transport them to the Watertown shelter as part of a joint effort to help place them in loving homes. But when she spied a young black Lab mix limping around the kennel her heart melted.
"I can't resist a puppy," she said, noting there was just something about him that touched her and she wanted to help him. "When I stopped at the Lewis County shelter and saw this little guy all I wanted to do was help him. Many shelters do not have the funds, or the ability, to provide care to the injured. Machiko was unfortunately one of the ones they felt they could not help and was scheduled to be euthanized."
Unwilling to turn away, Ms. Wirth made a few phone calls. "I couldn't stop thinking of him and wondered if there was something that could be done so that he could live pain free and have a chance at a family. Because of a great support system I was able to get him transported, kenneled and seen by a veterinarian. The staff at North Country Animal Health Center fell in love with him fast."
Ms. Wirth said she was holding her breath as she waited for the outcome of the dog's examination by the veterinary staff at NCAHC, hoping for the best but fearing the worst. Following x-rays the diagnosis wasn't as bad as previously thought.
"While we don't know how he received his injury, we do know that it can be fixed," said Ms. Wirth. "At first we thought he may need surgery to repair both hips. Further testing showed that all he needs is a Femoral Head Ostectomy (FHO). They will remove the head, or ball, of the femur which will then form a ‘false joint’."
But funds to pay for Machiko's surgery and aftercare would need to be raised. Undaunted, Ms. Wirth immediately set about making it happen. She began by creating a campaign at the fundraising site known as "Youcaring.com" and then put the message out to local animal advocates and supporters about what was needed.
The community responded with the love and enthusiasm local animal advocates are familiar with in the North Country. To date, $675 of the $2000 needed for the surgery has been raised. Ms. Wirth has said any funds in excess of what is needed will be donated to NCAHC's Angel Fund to assist other animals in need.
Machiko is scheduled for surgery next week. Updates on his condition and progress, along with a slideshow documenting his care and recovery, will be seen here soon.
If you can help please visit Machiko's campaign at Youcaring.com. You can also help by sharing his story on social media sites to help raise awareness. Every dollar, every share, helps tremendously. What had seemed hopeless at first is now hopeful thanks to a caring community, North Country Animal Health and one very determined employee of the Jefferson County SPCA.
Watertown Dog News applauds the efforts of this community's many outstanding animal advocates. While we cannot save them all, we certainly can make a huge difference in the lives of many animals every day, one set of paws at a time.
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