A Non-Profit 501(c)(3) Organization
Serving Northern California
and Surrounding Areas
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* NorCal Collie Rescue is California non-profit public benefit 501(c)(3) corporation C2798651 EIN 20-3381549.
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The Eddy Fund Collies
Collies brought back to health with a little help from a friend.
The Eddy Fund supports collies born with genetic defects that cause them pain and suffering.The Eddy Fund provides funds for veterinary care of young collies born with afflic tions that reduce their quality of life but can be helped with veterinary intervention.
Merlin was our first Eddy Fund recipient. Merlin came to NCR when a good Samaritan answered a Craig’s List ad in which Merlin and his brother were listed as “free to a good home.” Their living situation with the original owner was grim, but thanks to a caring collie lover, they made it into NCR where good homes could be found for both.
Merlin had some health problems that NCR addressed as best we could. Among other things, he had a mysterious abundance of kidney stones, perplexing to say the least for his young age (less than 1 yr), that were found by accident then he was neutered. Because he was crypotorchid, the veterinarian had to go searching inside his body cavity where the kidney stones became obvious in his bladder. We worried about the cause of these unusual stones, but our NCR veterinarian did not put 2+2 together, perhaps because Merlin’s condition is quite unusual.
When Merlin was adopted to a fabulous home, his new owners had their veterinarian examine him. This veterinarian immediately linked the clue of the unusual kidney stones with other symptoms and alerted Merlin’s owners that he might have a congenital portosystemic shunt in his liver. This condition means that he was born with a birth defect that caused most of his blood to bypass the liver on the way through the body. The liver plays an essential role in removing toxins in the blood and regulating a number of metabolites. If his blood could not pass through the liver normally, Merlin would live a short life with some certain degree of suffering as he become increasingly ill.
Because the liver shunt can be fixed with surgery, Merlin qualified for the Eddy Fund: He was a young dog with a genetic defect, which could be fixed and allow him to live a long, normal life. The surgery, however, is quite expensive. Tada! That is where the Eddy Fund can make a difference. So Merlin’s owners took him to the UC Davis Veterinary Medicine Teaching Hospital (VMTH) where the best available medicine could be applied by the most qualified veterinarians in the region.
Merlin’s surgery, supported in part by the Eddy Fund, was a guarded success. Merlin’s prognosis after the surgery would be more evident with time, as it was not possible right after surgery to be certain that the new blood flow pattern into Merlin’s liver would work.
Time has passed, and it turns out that Merlin is doing very well. Here is what his “mom” had to say about his current state of health: “He has been very healthy since his experimental surgery at UC Davis. His energy level is as high as any other dog and his lab tests, at our Vet, have all been normal. Our vet follows him with yearly liver enzyme studies which have all been normal.”
“Merlin is a great dog! He was described to us as a “velcro” dog and he is just that. He loves people, anyone. He is the first collie we have had that doesn’t show family favorites. He also loves having other dogs around. He has a friend who comes here at least once a week for “play day” and they love it. They run and tease each other like best friends. He is a talker, like all Collies and of course very smart and tuned into what is going on around the house. We really enjoy having him around. When Bill gets home from the office he runs in the bedroom, gets on the bed and waits for Bill to change so that they can have their evening conversation. At 5:55 PM, he is ready to EAT. He somehow knows that it is time.
Eddy Fund Helps Sophie
By Andrea Moss
I was on a rare vacation in Hawaii when I received this heartfelt email from a young woman in Sacramento:
My name is Melissa Dahlstrom, I'm 20-years old, and I'm writing this email to you on behalf of my three-year-old Rough Collie, Sophie. It appears that Sophie was born with a heart defect that causes her heart to be enlarged and the valve in her heart not to close properly when it beats (I don't recall [the veterinarian’s] specific terminology). Normally, I'd never appeal to anybody under these circumstances, but the circumstances aren't normal. Last year, we lost our home and our car after my father lost his job and we are barely making it month-to-month especially after the strain caused my parents to split up. Now, the diagnosis is only tentative and if it's confirmed she'll likely need surgery that will cost $2000 or more. At the
moment she needs tests that neither I nor my parents have the money for. We've managed to get the money for her to see the specialist (she's on some heart medications that are helping a bit), but what he wants to do are some very expensive tests. The confirmation tests alone are going to cost $500-600, which is not an amount of money we have to spare. Somebody at the specialist's office suggested I try contacting the NorCal Collie Rescue about my situation to see if there's any way you can help. So if there's anything at all you can do or even if you have any suggestions I'd be immensely grateful.
I noticed that Melissa gave only the briefest summary of her family's financial difficulties. She had to explain, but didn't want me to spend one minute feeling sorry for her. Saving Sophie was foremost in her heart.
It's an unfortunate reality that many families fall on hard times, decide "we can't keep the dog" and leave their uncomprehending companion at a shelter. Melissa wasn't going to be "realistic" when the Collie she loved so much needed expensive medical care. I could tell by her words that if I couldn't help, she'd find another way. She wasn't going to give up.
I wrote back that even though the Eddy Fund was low, we'd figure something out as soon as I got home. In follow-up correspondence-among some discouraging discussion about costs for tests and my frustration with veterinary offices that showed their concern by leaving my emails unanswered and phone calls unreturned-Melissa always included something about just how much she appreciated her dog and her presence in their lives: "Sophie is so loving and sweet and we love her so much, I just want to help her."
Sophie, at three years old, was actually quite sick- she had little energy, panted constantly, and her heart beat so hard it seemed it was going to burst through her chest. Despite feeling so bad, she was always sweet and loving to her family.
It took several weeks to find the right specialist, arrange for tests, and get the financing together to help her. One day I discovered, almost by chance, that Melissa made a $50 PayPal donation to the Eddy Fund- of course I emailed her they couldn't afford it and that I was sending it right back! She responded, "I just made the donation because it seems silly of me not to contribute when the Eddy Fund is doing so much to help Sophie." This gesture, the desire to give back, showed me the depth of her character. Foreclosure and divorce are extremely stressful life events. She and her mom had to work several jobs to make ends meet. Her Collie was suffering. And to top it off, a distracted driver had recently rear-ended her, which totaled the only car they had. But in spite of everything she had to deal with, Melissa kept in mind that others might also need support. It seemed she and Sophie had the same philosophy: don't whine about your bad luck, just do your best and give what you can to others.
When she first heard about the heart problem, Melissa felt the ambivalence I did when I found out Eddy had genetic defects. Sure, the breeder would take him back and give me a refund. But what would have happened to him? I knew the answer to that and… it was unthinkable. No "refund" could replace the innocently joyous and unique being that came into my life. Melissa came to the same conclusion. In her application she wrote: "Sophie is a beautiful dog who loves everybody equally and is full of happiness and joy... Sophie helps bring joy to our lives with her unconditional love and I don't want to lose her, especially if there is something out there to help her and make her better. I'd be eternally grateful for any help that can be offered."
Melissa and her mom did some research and found that the treatment at UC Davis would be the best and least expensive route. The tests paid for by The Eddy Fund showed that Sophie had an open and leaking blood vessel. Without surgery-even on medication, which caused her to sleep all day and become incontinent-she wouldn't live more than a few months. The cost of surgery was over $2,000, but UC Davis generously said they'd cover $1,000 of it. The Eddy Fund provided another $850, and American Working Collie Association graciously donated the rest.
Sophie had her surgery May 27th. Melissa reported that she showed dramatic improvement almost immediately- no more panting or racing heart. After a week of recovery she began to play with Olive, their Basset Hound, as enthusiastically as before she became ill. Melissa and her mom were delighted to see Sophie playing again… and so was Olive!
Thanks to many small donations from people who care, the Eddy Fund helped give a dying Collie the chance to live a long and happy life. I'm very glad we were able to help her, and I know Eddy is too.
Eddy Fund Update - Merlin
Merlin was our first Eddy Fund recipient. Here is what his “mom” had to say about his current state of health: “He has been very healthy since his experimental surgery at UC Davis. His energy level is as high as any other dog and his lab tests, at our Vet, have all been normal. Our vet follows him with yearly liver enzyme studies which have all been normal.”
“Merlin is a great dog! He was described to us as a “Velcro” dog and he is just that. He loves people, anyone. He is the first collie we have had that doesn’t show family favorites. He also loves having other dogs around. He has a friend who comes here at least once a week for “play day” and they love it. They run and tease each other like best friends. He is a talker, like all Collies and of course very smart and tuned into what is going on around the house. We really enjoy having him around. When Bill gets home from the office he runs in the bedroom, gets on the bed and waits for Bill to change so that they can have their evening conversation. At 5:55 PM, he is ready to EAT. He somehow knows that it is time. “