The Fix Cullen Fund

As anybody who follows me on Instagram or Facebook knows (unless they blocked me from their feed), I volunteer a lot with a rescue (specifically, The Barking Lot) and occasionally (ha) like to bring dogs home. I started fostering Cullen for The Barking Lot in July, 2015. Our rescue networker tagged me on a picture of a very angry looking little black and tan Chihuahua, telling me if I fostered him, we could rescue him from a high kill shelter in Moreno Valley, California. Not being able to resist a black and tan dog, I said yes.

Upon Cullen's arrival, it was clear that the shelter didn't disclose Cullen's many medical issues. His back was curved and arched high, his legs were covered in abrasions and wounds, and at the time, we thought he could not walk given that his legs splayed out unnaturally at his sides. 

Cullen saw a vet a few days later and x-rays showed that Cullen had several crushed vertebrae in his spine. The theory was that it was either the result of trauma (i.e., being thrown from a car) or he was just born that way. No official diagnosis could be made from x-rays but Cullen was given a regimen of pain management medications.

Almost a year later, and Cullen is quite a part of my life and home. Contrary to our initial beliefs, Cullen can walk, but his walk is more of a wooden soldier march, as his back legs don't bend and his back paws often flip knuckle down as he moves. He can only take short walks before he just kind of says "F it" and wants to lay and eat grass. Cullen also fits right in with my dogs, and has become an integral part of their crew, wrestling and playing tug of war as best he can.

Given the year we've spent together, I know Cullen's day-to-day successes and tribulations very well. I would say most of his days are good days, where even though he moves and looks a little funny, he has a good time and enjoys life. On the flip side, Cullen also has bad days. Bad days include incontinence (i.e., not being able to control peeing and pooping), hiding under pillows, biting his legs and paws obsessively to the point where he makes himself bleed and cries in pain, random tremors, and the inability to really move much combined with a total lack of desire to interact with anyone.

Recently, we took Cullen to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital here in San Diego for a consultation to see what exactly it would take to help Cullen live a more normal, pain-free life. The staff neurologist evaluated him and said the only way to even garner a diagnosis was via complicated (and expensive) testing. The Hospital emailed the estimate - Cullen's diagnostics would cost anywhere from $2,200 to $2,800.

One of the myriad goals of rescue is to help a dog live his best life. While Cullen has a good life, I'm pretty sure it could be even better and I would love to help him get there. The Barking Lot spends thousands and thousands of dollars (something two of my rescues, Gus and Rufio, can attest to) on rescuing dogs and helping them get better. With approximately 120 dogs currently being cared for by The Barking Lot, sometimes funding is limited. I want to help and fundraise for Cullen so that his diagnostic costs will be 100% covered.

If you've ever met Cullen, he's probably peed on you out of fear and tried to nip you (the world is a scary place when you're 7 lbs and disabled). But at home, he is incredibly loving, affectionate, and sweet. So even though I can't bank on using his sparkling personality (because most people have never seen it) to garner favor and funds, I can say that I would be incredibly grateful to anyone who helps out in any way that they can. If Cullen knew what money was, I'm sure he would be grateful, too.

The goal is to raise $2,500 by July 23. That's the date Cullen came to live with me, and I'd love to give him the gift of anesthesia and big neurological-type machines for our one-year fosterversary! So whether you give a little or a lot, all of it is appreciated and will go toward helping us figure out what exactly is wrong with Cullen and how we can help him - a pretty good cause, in my opinion ;-)

Donations (68)

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  • Theresa Dawson
    • $25 
    • 7 yrs
  • Anjelica Sena
    • $20 
    • 7 yrs
  • Dabby Cannon
    • $35 
    • 7 yrs
  • Caitlin E
    • $5 
    • 7 yrs
  • Kasie DeHart
    • $50 
    • 7 yrs
See all


Kendra Ramada
San Diego, CA

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