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Mend Birdie's Broken Heart

$2,946 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 58 people in 8 months
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We met little Birdie in May when she showed up at a friend's house, terrified and flea bitten. With no chip and no one claiming her as their own, we took Birdie in. She's now an enthusiastic member of our family, and she loves belly rubs, giving doggie kisses, and playing with her big brother.

In the course of getting Birdie a wellness checkup and shots, we learned that she has a heart murmur.  We took her to an ultrasound specialist, and his analysis is that it's likely a congenital heart defect and that she will need to get surgery. One of her heart chambers is already enlarged from backflow. The nearest surgeon who can perform this is in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and surgery can be thousands of dollars. In the meantime, the specialist wants Birdie to start a medicine regimen in case there's a delay in  being able to schedule surgery. We are making preparations to make the trip.

The sooner Birdie gets help, the better chance she has of having a happy, healthy life. We've been told that she has a great chance of being okay so long as she gets surgery before she starts experiencing heart failure.

My husband and I are doing what we can to make sure we have the money to take care of little Birdie.  He is picking up extra shifts at the police department, and I'm teaching extra yoga classes. Right now, we're out $811 for the cost of diagnostics alone. 

We want to be as transparent as possible during this whole process, so we will put money for Birdie in a separate account and update everyone on expenses and her progress. 

In the event that we raise more money than Birdie needs, we will give any remaining money to Spay Arkansas, which provides affordable spay, neuter, chipping and vaccines in Northwest Arkansas, helps place rescue animals with homes, and helps lower-income families care for their animals.
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I am so happy to report that Birdie's visit to Oklahoma State University was better than we could have hoped. She does have a heart defect, but it is not the defect preliminary results indicated. According to the veterinary cardiologist, Birdie's final diagnosis was best-case scenario for her and at this time, SHE DOES NOT NEED SURGERY. Not only were we able to fully pay for all of Birdie's medical bills, other rescue animals like Birdie will benefit from your donation, as we will be setting up a medical treatment fund at Spay Arkansas with your donations that were above and beyond what Birdie needed.

As background, when Roger and I took Birdie to her first specialist a month ago, he explained that she likely had PDA, a congenital heart defect. He told us that PDA would be corrected with surgery. He recommended she start medication. We were horrified by what the cost of surgery would be – not even in the realm of something we could afford - but we decided to fundraise with the information we had at the time, and we went ahead and scheduled her cardiology appointment at Oklahoma State University. We decided to hold off on starting medication, and I am thankful we did.

We took Birdie to Stillwater this week for her cardiology appointment. The team at OSU re-did her echocardiogram while Roger and I were in the room (note: I was not happy we had to re-do exams, but I understand why they did it, and I'm now grateful they did) and explained what we were seeing. The doctor informed us that she does NOT have PDA, though he told us he completely understands why the first specialist thought that was the issue, and he said the specialist did the right thing in referring us to OSU. In plain English, Birdie has a hole in the membrane that separates the two sides of her heart. This is creating back flow from the larger chamber to the smaller chamber. The smaller chamber is enlarged, but it is not dangerously enlarged at this time. The veterinary cardiologist told us that Birdie's very prominent murmur is actually a GOOD thing, as it indicates the hole is small and that her heart is working. He said that if a dog has a congenital defect, what Birdie has is best-case scenario.

The VERY GOOD NEWS is that the outlook for Birdie is very good. Her heart murmur is loud, but the hole in her heart is small. The vet even said that it appears that one of her valves may be starting to close the hole in her heart. He seemed very encouraged AND he told us she does not need surgery OR medication at this time!

So what does that mean for her in the future? Birdie will go back to the specialists at OSU for a checkup in a year. In the meantime, we will be on the lookout for indicators of complications, which includes coughing, fainting, and other breathing problems. The vet said that if her condition gets worse, we can start her on medication or opt for open-heart surgery. However, we do not anticipate that her condition to worsen to this point, and it seems that the cardiologist has recommended the checkup out of an abundance of caution. We are confident that our little rescue girl will live a full, happy life running circles around her big brother Buster and snuggling with her family.

And what does this mean for your donation? We are so very touched by your support of Birdie. We will use $1384 for Birdie - $811 for initial diagnostics in Arkansas, $474 for exam and diagnostics in Oklahoma, and $100 for travel expenses. As I said before, any money over and above what Birdie needs, we will donate to Spay Arkansas. The people at Spay Arkansas, in addition to providing affordable spays, neuters, and vaccines for animals, also help find homes for rescues and help animals who have been injured and abused receive medical care. Normally, Spay Arkansas has to fundraise on a case-by-case basis for each rescue they receive. Next week, we will give a check to Spay Arkansas for $1700 – that's your $1562 plus a donation from Roger and I. We will ask that Spay Arkansas designate that money go to animals who are injured, abused, or need specialized medical care. I will also ask that they keep us updated on how the money is used so we can share the stories with you on here.

Birdie is a brave little girl with a big heart (literally!), and we are so overwhelmed by the love and support she has received. If you want to continue to follow her story, you can find her on instagram at @ladybirdsanders (note – my husband runs this account, and it is very obvious how much he loves her!), and we will continue to post updates on the other rescue animals you have helped. Thank you for being with us in our time of need.

With love,
Sarah, Roger, Buster, and baby Birdie
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Birdie saw the heart specialist at Oklahoma State, and it went as well as we could have hoped. I spent 45 minutes typing up everything that happened to share with you... and the form on GoFundMe closed and everything I typed was DELETED :(

I will post a full update tomorrow, but this time I will type it into Word before copy and pasting it into GoFundMe.

In the meantime, thank you so much for your love and support for Birdie <3
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Birdie will be seeing the cardiologist at Oklahoma State University Center for Veterinary Health TOMORROW! So many people have given us encouraging stories about the treatment their animals received at OSU, and I am confident that Birdie will receive excellent care while she is there. Birdie doesn't care much for leaving the house, but has a new doggie car seat for the trip to Oklahoma, and I imagine we will be packing several treats for our GOOD GIRL!

We will follow up with results from the appointment when we have them. In the meantime, here is the information on the OSU Clinic:

https://cvhs.okstate.edu/veterinary-medical-hospital/cardiology/index.html
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Thank you all SO MUCH for supporting Birdie! Here is an update on Birdie and our finances:

Right now, we are waiting on Birdie's appointment with the cardiologist on August 29 at Oklahoma State University. Unless there is an emergency, we do not anticipate another visit to the vet between now and then. We've been carefully watching Birdie's behavior to make sure there aren't any shifts or symptoms of heart failure, and right now, she's still a happy, energetic girl.

Between your donations, the extra work that Roger and I have picked up, and re-budgeting, it looks like we are going to be able to have around $4,500 in Birdie's savings account by the end of the month. This is HUGE dent in Birdie's expected expenses, and it was made possible because of YOU. We cannot express our gratitude enough.

We will continue to keep you updated! Roger, me, big brother Buster, and Birdie say thank you!!
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$2,946 of $10,000 goal

Raised by 58 people in 8 months
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