Cooper is a friendly and energetic 9-month-old Chihuahua. Cooper’s parents always wanted their daughters’ 4-year-old Chaizjuan, and 2-year-old, Chasziah to have a pet. When Cooper’s Mom found him on Facebook, in need of a home, the family made arrangements to meet him. The family realized that Cooper was the “perfect dog” for them, when Cooper let his older sister, Chaizjuan pick him up to cuddle just minutes after they met. Since then, Cooper has become the girls’ beloved canine brother.
While walking Cooper one day, his dad noticed that Cooper was unusually lethargic, and disoriented. When Cooper began vomiting, the family rushed him to the vet. Cooper was initially diagnosed with hypoglycemia. Cooper’s mom expressed relief: “It was the first time we ever had $175.00 in our savings account and we just had enough money to cover Cooper’s bill.”
When Cooper had another medical episode a week later, the doctor ordered blood work. It was suggested that Cooper might have a congenital condition called a porto-systemic shunt (PSS), Cooper’s parents worried about the costs. In order to obtain a proper diagnosis, the family was told that Cooper needed an ultrasound or CT (computed tomography), because those tests are the best ways to diagnose PSS.
A “porto-systemic shunt” is where a blood vessel forms abnormally shunting blood away from the intestines, carrying much-needed nutrition AROUND the liver instead of THROUGH the liver, which causes the liver to develop abnormally. If Cooper didn’t receive the needed ultrasound, his parents were told that patients with untreated shunts have shortened life spans, causing the liver to fail at a young age.
Wiping back tears, Cooper’s mom recounted her dilemma: “I felt like I had to find Cooper help; I knew we couldn’t afford the treatment, but we couldn’t give Cooper up, just because he was sick; what would we tell our daughters?” Determined, Cooper’s mom reached out on Facebook, and she contacted her friends at the SPCA for advice; the family even initiated prayer chains for Cooper. Animal Welfare Assistance Group (AWAG) stepped in to provide the family with financial help, which led to a referral to BirchBark Foundation.
Cooper’s mom called BirchBark and applied through the online application process. After meeting the qualifications for financial need, Cooper’s records were sent to BirchBark’s veterinary review panel. The panel deliberated quickly and voted to fund the ultrasound and exam at Associate Member hospital, Pacific Veterinary Specialists & Emergency Services.
Cooper’s parents believe that finding BirchBark “was a miracle.” They add: “the financial grant meant more to us than we can ever express.” After Birchbark funded the case and Cooper had the needed exam and ultrasound, it was found that he DOES NOT have PSS and his condition can be treated with a special diet.
In the end, Cooper’s parents are grateful for their experience: “BirchBark gave us hope; the care and concern they gave Cooper and our family was amazing. They were there for us and we can’t thank them enough for the grant; it’s been a blessing.”