Dog’s death leads to fund for surgeries

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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

the bone.

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.

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