A 9-year-old great western terrier that
won the hearts of Kootenai Pets For Life animal shelter volunteers
died last December.
The force that local businesses and
volunteers put behind trying to save the little dog’s life,
however, has led to something positive – a recently-established
fund in the canine’s name to help shelter animals in need of
KPFL volunteer Terri Turman still gets
emotional when she speaks of Casey, the little dog that died from
complications after a bone became lodged in his throat.
“He just touched everybody at the
shelter,” Turman said. “He was so well-behaved and so sweet.”
Casey didn’t stay long at the shelter
before he found a new family to take him home last year. But
shortly after his move, his owners brought him back for a
veterinary exam. The dog had been vomiting for a week.
That is when the wheels began to
Dr. George White, who performs spay and
neuter surgeries at a reduced rate for KPFL, determined that the
terrier needed to be X-rayed. The picture revealed a pork chop bone
lodged in Casey’s esophagus just above the heart.
White, who is an animal emergency and
critical care specialist in California for much of the year, gave
volunteers a list of items he needed before he could safely remove
Running solely on donations and
volunteers, KPFL has little in the bank to fund animal surgeries,
Turman said, so she was pleasantly surprised that so many people
helped in the cause. St. John’s Lutheran Hospital donated surgical
equipment, and when Turman couldn’t find a business with the needed
antibiotics, Rick Jaqueth of Libby Drug offered to hunt them down.
He called back only 25 minutes later, she said, and reported that
Northwest Community Health Center not only had the correct drug but
also offered it as a donation.
White and his veterinary technician
agreed to work on Casey after having already performed eight
spay/neuter surgeries that day. The bone had perforated the
esophagus in three places, leading White to remove a 2-inch section
of the esophagus, Turman said.
Volunteers were happy and hopeful when
Casey came out of surgery, and was awake and alert the entire next
day. The damage, however, was too great, and he died the following
day at White’s home.
“Casey’s passing does not mean that the
efforts of many people working together were not heroic and that
the combined efforts of many Libby people should not be
recognized,” Turman said.
Moved by the community’s efforts,
Turman recently began the Casey Fund, a separate account solely to
provide funding for animal surgeries at KPFL.
Surgeries aren’t needed very often, she
said, but the cost can be substantial.
“I’m a sucker for animals,” she said.
“I just want to make sure that if the animal needs it, they will be
able to have surgery.”
To donate or for more information, call
Turman at 291-0711.