Kiki is an energetic, 8-year-old loving and gentle dog that just loves to play and who dearly loves her ‘Dad’ Howard. The story of Kiki and Howard is one that is intricately tied together. Howard is a 69-year-old man who has spent most of his life waging an uphill challenge for survival and dignity. As a result of a traumatic brain injury as a young man, Howard is developmentally disabled and lives with full time caregiver support. After years in the state hospital system, Howard now is part of an independent living program run by Mainstream Support, Inc. Howard’s health progress and goals are evaluated every three months by a team of state and agency professionals. At every meeting Howard’s number one goal was to have a dog. Then, in 2006 his dream came true¬—he became the ‘dad’ to a Kiki, a Brindle Staffordshire Terrier puppy.
Both Kiki and Howard have thrived together. Howard’s emotional stability greatly improved after he adopted Kiki. He became more involved in life and became a more active working member of the Santa Cruz community. There’s no doubt Kiki is a positive influence on Howard’s health and wellbeing.
In early spring, Kiki suddenly became extremely ill.  She was diagnosed with acute renal failure but the cause couldn’t be determined. She was transferred from her regular veterinarian at Adobe Veterinary Hospital to Pacific Veterinary Specialists, both BirchBark Associate Member hospitals.  Howard’s funds are extremely limited. BirchBark Foundation was called and was able to step in and help support Kiki’s hospitalization for a several days while she was stabilized with antibiotics and fluids and extensive diagnostic tests were done to determine the cause. Howard’s caregivers, Mark and Adam stayed by his side and communicated daily with BirchBark regarding Kiki’s progress.
Kiki slowly began to improve. The laboratory results showed that she was suffering from Leptospirosis, a serious bacterial infection. She remained in the ICU at Pacific Veterinary Services for another two weeks. Howard’s caregivers and others who care deeply about keeping Howard and Kiki together were able to contribute subsequent funds.
Kiki now receives care at home and is still on antibiotics, IV fluids and a special diet. To the casual observer she displays no sign of illness. She continues to make steady improvement toward a full recovery. 
Please make a gift to BirchBark today! Your donation can help us save other pets like Kiki