The puppy lovers did it.
With the $5,500 fundraising goal nearly accomplished, surgery to save the life of 8-week-old Eva, the puppy that captured Durango’s heart, is set.
To give her some time to gain strength before the operation, the surgery to fix Eva’s heart will be July 29. It will be performed at the Colorado State University School of Veterinary Science.
Eva was 5 days old when she and five other littermates were saved from euthanasia in Chinle, Arizona, and taken to Durango for some TLC. They were bottle-fed and nurtured to health in the next several weeks by a nonprofit organization called Lisa Parker’s Puppies.
“It’s just been unbelievable,” Lisa Parker said Friday evening about the public’s response. “I’ve been in tears so many times already.”
Four puppies, including Eva, have been adopted. Two are still up for grabs. Taura Hatcher, who works at Aspen Tree Animal Caring Center, adopted Eva.
During an exam, a vet discovered Eva has a heart condition – severe pulmonary stenosis and an atrial septal defect. It will prove fatal if not treated.
The cost estimate for the surgery, travel and follow-up costs was more than one person could afford, so a fundraising drive, led by local public relations pro Beth Lamberson, kicked off Tuesday online.
Lamberson then made an embarrassing, wonderful error. Meaning to select just a few friends to email, she “spammed” her entire 2,900-person gmail list. That included everyone from government and college officials, to her book club, to media including The Durango Herald and The Durango Telegraph, which both ran stories and a photo of Eva. A few people were upset, but more were eager to help.
“It was the best mistake I’ve made,” she said. “For about an hour and a half, I was mortified.”
Starting late Wednesday, the money began rolling in. By Friday, it was obvious enough donations were coming in to make the surgery affordable, so it was arranged with CSU.
By Friday evening, the total had reached $5,070 online with at least a couple checks in the mail. Lamberson said any extra funds will help new rescues for Lisa Parker’s Puppies, and the Web page will be closed Monday.
Lisa Parker’s Puppies basically is a one-woman operation that has rescued more than 100 dogs and runs under the auspices of the Durango-based Dogster Spay and Neuter Program.
Eva is taking medication for the cardiac problem. Parker said Eva is allowed to be a puppy, but only for short stretches.
“Everybody’s been so awesome,” Parker said. “I’m so proud to live in a community like this.”