Hello, My name is Aaron, and this is my four year old dalmatian Ember. In the past week Ember has become very sick, and needs some help from you. But before you decide if you will help her, please let me tell you our story. About four years ago Ember was abandoned by her owners at a vet's office. A friend of mine told me about her, and that the staff wanted to give her to me. They figured a dalmatian needed to be with a firefighter. Rescuing Ember turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. As time went by and we spent more time out in public, it came to my attention just how many people (especially children) that would get extremely excited to see a dalmatian in person. And then one day it hit me...If perfectly healthy happy kids are running to see this dog, how would sick children in a hospital respond to Ember visiting them? I knew this was going to be amazing, so we began to train, and train, and train. After about 1 1/2 years Ember and I were finally able to successfully pass the certification test for the Alliance of Therapy Dogs. We dove in head first and started making visits. We have made visits to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at both Egleston and Scottish Rite, Northside Hospital Cherokee, Camp OO-U-LA (summer camp for pediatric burn victims), Camp Puzzle (Day camp for children with autism), several elementary schools, and the Cobb County Safety Village where Ember is an Honorary Firefighter. Ember has put smiles on a countless number of children's faces, brought calm and peace to hurting patients, helped a non-verbal boy find his voice, and has literally changed my life. Ember is even responsible for me meeting the woman who would become my wife.
Ember has had dental problems since she was about two years old. On two different occasions she has had to have teeth extracted, and no one has really been able to explain why she had this issue. In July Ember went to the Vet for her annual physical and everything checked out fine, except her teeth were dirty again. I was told that they needed to be cleaned relatively soon, but that they weren't to the point of worry yet. Fast forward to about a week ago and her breath had suddenly gotten horrible. I knew it was past time to have the teeth cleaned and started inquiring when we could make that happen. Two days later and Ember was suddenly very sick. She refused to get out of bed, she was shaking, and would whine and cry if she was made to move. I immediately took her to the vet and they diagnosed her with CUPS, an auto-immune disease that causes a dog to become allergic to the plaque and bacteria on the teeth. This allergic reaction causes painful ulcers in the mouth. The assumption was that the ulcers had become infected and were causing her illness and pain. She was started on an antibiotic, blood work was drawn, and her surgery to remove ALL of her teeth was scheduled for two days later. The day of the surgery Ember was unable to get out of her bed and I carried her to the car. As soon as the vet entered the room where we were anxiously waiting, I knew something was wrong. He informed us that the surgery would have to be postponed indefinitely, and that he had found the real reason that she was so sick. Her kidneys were failing. My heart stopped as he explained that her creatinine levels were more than 5 times higher than they should be. He asked us if it was possible that she had ingested anything toxic, but we are nearly certain that is not a possibility. She is always supervised outside, and there is nothing in our apartment for her to get into. Since then, she has spent four days at the vet's office receiving IV fluids, had an ultrasound, blood work to test for Addison's disease, more antibiotics, nausea medication, and a third blood panel to see the effectiveness of the IV's. At this point the Vet is still not sure what is causing all of this. They are treating her with the antibiotics in case it is Leptospirosis. She has been sent home for now to see if the medications resolve the issue. If in two weeks she is getting better they will do another blood panel to confirm the results. At that time we can refocus our attention to her teeth. If she has not improved then we will have to be referred to a specialist for more testing, and her teeth will have to wait a while longer. The IV fluids have definitely made her feel better for now, but it is our fear that it has only treated her symptoms and not solved her underlying problem.
I will do anything to save my dog, even if it means swallowing my pride and asking for help... The Vet bills have already reached beyond what my wife and I can really handle, and even in the best case scenario there is still be a lot more money needed. We are asking for $5000 in anticipation of a worst case scenario. In the event that we raise more money than is needed to care for Ember through this crisis, I will be donating the balance to an organization called Canine Assistants. They train and provide service animals to people in need. https://www.canineassistants.org
Please consider helping me save this wonderful animal. She still has so many more hearts to touch. Thank you, Aaron