The La Plata County Humane Society and Lisa Parker’s Puppies have joined forces to raise funds for another puppy in need of life-saving medical treatment.
Sugar, who was rescued alongside two other dogs in Gallup, New Mexico, last month, was found to have a heart condition when she was examined in Durango by Dr. Becky James at Aspentree Animal Caring Center, according to the Humane Society.
While the Humane Society will pay for the procedure, and Lisa Parker’s Puppies will care for Sugar afterward, both organizations are asking the community to help cover the expenses.
They are hoping to raise $6,000, and any additional funds will go toward helping other animals in need.
Without the procedure, Sugar’s life expectancy is less than a year.
“We are going to pay for this no matter what,” said Chris Nelson, the Humane Society’s executive director.
Nelson said the community pours in donations when it learns about a specific case – such as Lieutenant Dan, who last year needed orthopedic surgery and a custom wheelchair. The nonprofit’s appeal to the public raised $32,000.
A puppy named Eva captured the public’s attention last year under similar circumstances to Sugar’s. Parker helped raise $6,000 from the public to pay for Eva’s heart defect.
Over the last couple of years, the Humane Society has strived to lower euthanasia rates and is focusing on life-saving efforts. Last year was the first time in Nelson’s 12-year career the facility euthanized fewer than 100 animals, he said. Sixty of them were for medical reasons, the rest for extremely aggressive behavior.
“Every animal’s life is important to us,” he said. “If there’s a possibility to save them, we will do whatever it takes.”
Upon Sugar’s diagnosis, a follow-up echocardiogram confirmed a life-threatening patent ductus arteriosus – the failure of a blood vessel, which connects the pulmonary artery to the aorta, to close at birth.
A team of veterinary cardiologists will perform Sugar’s procedure Tuesday. Parker said she will take Sugar to Colorado State University in Fort Collins on Sunday. If all goes well, Sugar will return to her foster family in Durango on Wednesday night until she’s ready to be adopted, Parker said.
For more information or to donate, visit www.lpchumanesociety.org/savesugar.html or call 259-2847.