Help Us Save Trigger

Trigger came to us staggering, starving, exhausted, and afraid. But after a few days of patience, love, and nutrition, we were able to nurse Trigger to the point where felt comfortable in our arms, and soon was affectionate, energetic, goofy and playful. But suddenly things took a turn for the worse, and on December 22 we carried his limp and emaciated body to the El Centro Animal Clinic.

The vet could not locate a heartbeat due to excessive fluid in his chest. He was slowly suffocating to death, and without any other choice but euthanasia, we carried him out on a stretcher and rushed him two hours away to VCA Emergency Animal Hospital in San Diego.

But Trigger was still thought to be too far gone. A tumor was likely to blame, but without an ultrasound, who could say?

So on Christmas Eve, we ordered an ultrasound and it was discovered that 6/7ths of his liver had herniated into his chest, most likely due to being hit by a car.

After tapping 6 liters of fluid from his chest, Trigger was still thought too weak to undergo an operation.

But it was our only hope.

The doctors were right. While being prepped for surgery, Trigger went into cardiac and pulmonary arrest. His surgeon performed CPR, cutting him open without sterilization to massage his heart and bring back his pulse, but he could not breathe on his own. Our hearts broke for him as a family; was he trying to tell us it was time to let him go? Or was he fighting for life? So on Christmas Eve, we had to decide what to do.

But the answer was easy: whatever it takes.

Around midnight, his surgeon called to deliver the news that, "by some miracle", Trigger had made it through surgery. He was a fighter, she said. It was "amazing, wonderful", and again, "a miracle".

Trigger's road to recovery is going to be a long one. Every night he spends in the hospital costs us thousands of dollars, but our line of credit was exhausted after his operation. But he continues to improve a little every day, so we cannot and we will not give up on him.

Because he hasn't given up on us.


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Alexis Justman 
El Centro, CA
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