Saving Nico

Nico came to us 10 years ago in a shoe box off the J train, an unwanted 6 week old pitbull puppy from Brooklyn. They said she was the runt of the litter and a terrible biter to anyone who came near her. They said she was the only puppy who came out an ugly color “like a rat.” They said they couldn’t sell her and they just needed someone to take her off their hands. 

So of course Belle took the shoe box and brought her home, against my wishes. I’ll never forget the moment I opened that shoe box though. Her perfect blue puppy eyes, her silver fur... I fell in love immediately. I’ll never forget how she chewed through everything we owned, took her sweet time house training, and viciously attacked my toes in bed all night every night with her sharp puppy teeth. I’ll never forget how every single time we’d take her on walks through the city and pass a bartender standing outside on his smoke break, she’d jump up and snatch the bar towel hanging out of his back pocket and chew it to shreds on the spot.  I’ll never forget how she grew out of all that too, and with love and patience and training grew into the most magnificent, loyal, and beautiful animal I’ve ever known. 

Nico is our first born, and she was there for us in every struggle and every triumph. She was there for the birth of all three of our kids, protecting and caring for them since day 1. She grew into such a gentle and intuitive creature, a calm and loving dog the kids trust behind anyone else. The kids tell people she’s their “sister-dog”, and thats really not far off. She is truly a member of our family. 

 A few months back she started moaning, and her belly started to swell. It was obvious she wasn’t well, so we took her to the vet, and got a devastating answer: she’s old and unwell, and there’s not much we can do- likely either liver failure or heart failure, but not much we can do at her age. We were heartbroken, but something seemed off. She didn’t seem old and dying, she seemed lively but just in pain, and didn’t have any other symptoms of her body failing except for her belly. So we took her to back to her old vet from when she was little (ABC Animal Hospital) and he ran all the tests the first vet said either weren’t necessary or were too risky for an older dog. Turns out her heart and liver are functioning perfectly and she doesn’t have markers for any cancer, but does have an enlarged gallbladder, which had leaked fluid over time into her abdominal cavity which was slowly suffocating her and making her suffer. A couple of appointments later we checked her into the animal hospital and drained 7 liters of fluid from her belly. Within days she was getting back to her old self, going from hardly being able to breathe and walk to happy and running again. We’ll need to repeat this process one or two more times to get all of the fluid out, as doing it all at once could send her into shock so it needs to be approached methodically, and her organs are still semi-compacted from the fluid left there. She’ll need to stay in the hospital each time. 

We’re working on getting her gallbladder healthy again through diet and treatment, and although no masses or growths were found anywhere on ultrasound and x-rays,  we may need to run further tests and/or biopsies if her gallbladder doesn’t respond entirely to other treatment. 

As of now we’ve racked up quite a few big medical bills, and on top of an already financially hard time, it’s been a real financial struggle to get her back to good health. It’s also been worth every last cent. Nico is my family.  To see her happy and healthy again is priceless to me. I’m so grateful for every single test and procedure that has allowed us to begin healing her, instead of just chocking up her sickness to old age, like we could have. I’m asking for donations to help cover her vet bills so far, as we try to save to schedule her next stay in the hospital to do the 2nd draining. 

It’s not easy to ask for help, but I’m trying to find a way to give Nico the care she needs, now and going forward. Money is tight with three kids in NYC, so if anyone can help, we would appreciate it beyond words.  If you’ve met Nico, you know the crazy love and loyalty she gives to everyone around her. I want to be able to give that back to her now. 

Every little bit helps. And if you can’t help financially, I know that keeping her in your thoughts and sending well wishes has gotta do some good too, and we appreciate all of it so much. Thank you so much.


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Gaby Savransky 
New York, NY
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