Trigger Needs Life Altering Surgery

Trigger needs a surgery called Hemilaminectomy due to joint hypertrophy. In layman's terms, one of  his joints is so enlarged that it is crushing his spinal cord. As time goes on without surgery, the compression of the spinal cord will worsen, but right now he is already at about 30%. 

The estimate for surgery is$6,000-$8,500 with many variables that could drastically change alter the price, such as whether or not he will need a catheter and a second MRI. I have been making calls to other neurologists and colleges attempting to find somewhere cheaper, but so far everywhere that has given me a quote has been about the same price. Trigger is only 5 years old and I refuse to condemn him to a life of suffering and degrading when surgery has a very good chance of not only stopping the progression of his condition, but reversing the damage as well.

The longer I wait to do this surgery, the more likely he is to get worse, and the less likely it is that surgery will reverse most, if not all, of the damage. We are currently doing everything we can to put any extra income into savings, but I was hit with $4,000 in car issues within the last 3 months and we are still working on paying that back.  I currently work 7 days a week and dedicate any spare hours I have to running Shenandoah Shepherd Rescue. My husband is a Navy veteran who works full time as well as goes to school. We will not stop until we can afford this life-altering surgery for Trigger because he is our world, but any help you can offer only means we can fix him that much sooner. 



Trigger became my world the moment I found out he was born on November 12, 2013. He kept me company for 9 months during husband's deployment, and has been our road tripping,  backpacking, camping, swimming, snowman building and cuddle giving best friend every day since the moment I picked him up.  Now he is hurt, and I can't help him on my own anymore. 

Trigger started experiencing occasional lameness, tripping, knuckling and unwillingness to jump onto my bed or into my car several months ago. Worrying about hip displaysia, we took him in for X rays only to find out his hips are completely normal. 

We were then sent to an orthopedic specialist to look into some minor arthritis in one knee, as well as to check for any potential knee or back injuries. Everything came back clear, and the ortho gave me the devastating news that he is most likely suffering from a neurological condition. MRI confirmed that his problems likely all stem from the compression of his spinal cord due to joint hypertrophy.

I have gotten used to a life where Trigger trips occasionally. Where it takes him more than one try to get onto my bed, and where some days he can't get into the car on his own.  He slips all over my hardwood, and last week he fell trying to get up our 4 porch steps. I broke down and cried. Watching Trigger struggle over these last few months has turned my whole world upside down. 

This dog isn't just a dog. He is my world. He has taught me more about love and loyalty than any other human ever has. He is the reason I started a rescue and as a direct result, over 600 dogs have been saved from some of the worst conditions possible. 

I have maxed out my care credit and personal credit cards between car problems and Trigger's many vet visits. 

To anyone who can spare anything, the amount of gratitude I have for you is unimaginable. I just want my boy to be okay. 



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Kaitlin Vazquez 
Shannon Hill, VA
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