Ellen Berrios is organizing this fundraiser on behalf of Josef Berrios.
Four years ago, I was driving in Aguada when I saw a small, filthy dog in the middle of the road trying to get at some tuna that had been thrown from a car. He was skinny and covered in ticks, with knotted gray and black fur. Fearing he may be hit, I pulled over and called out, "Little doggie, please get out of the road." He came skipping over happily to me, stood on his hind legs, and put his front paws and head on my leg. I helped him cross the street, but he just began eating cigarette butts; he was so hungry. I had to bring him home. We named him Willy and cleaned him up, discovering that he was actually WHITE and black, with brown on one leg. A trip to the vet revealed that he had an eye infection, anaplasmosis, and ehrlichia and so I began to foster him and get him healthy. Willy fit right in with our family and had a particularly close relationship with our son. All dogs are special, but there was something truly magical about Willy. His strong empathy made it feel like he was looking into your soul when he made eye contact. He was charismatic and silly, but soulful and sensitive. Many times, I heard people say that they do not like dogs, but they like Willy or that they wanted to steal him. A few months ago, after our son endured the loss of multiple friends and family members within a short period of time, we made the decision that our son really needed for Willy to be with him up in Boston. While it was difficult to part with Willy, it was an easy decision in that I knew they had a special bond and that they would take care of each other. It warms my heart to think of how devoted a parent and friend my son was to Willy during these last few months. I know it was an important time for both of them. A couple weeks ago, Willy began to show signs of being in pain. Though my son's unemployment claim is 6 weeks behind in processing, he didn't hesitate to rush Willy to the ER. The ER determined that there were signs of a neurological problem, tentatively diagnosed a herniated disc in his neck (based on exam as imaging was so expensive), and referred him to a neurologist. The neurologist agreed with the assessment and after failing to manage Willy's pain for a week, the decision was made he would need surgery. I quickly made an appointment for him in Puerto Rico and booked a ticket for my son to bring him here for surgery where I know of a good surgeon and the costs are much less. However, Willy began to have respiratory distress and my son had to bring him back to the ER where it was decided that he needed surgery the next morning. During his pre op MRI (his first imaging), the vet discovered that Willy actually had a brain tumor and that it was untreatable. Willy was euthanized that evening on the 4 year anniversary of his rescue. I cannot tell which is more painful: Knowing that I didn't get to say goodbye to Willy or comfort him in his last days, or knowing that a gesture that was meant to comfort my son in his grief only added to his grief in the end. Either way, there was nothing we could do. We are now faced with the weight of our grief for our Willy who was only 5 years old and also the burden of the bills for his final expenses incurred in trying to save his life. We humble ourselves to ask for any help possible toward Willy's vet bills and are grateful for every contribution. We are grateful for both your financial and emotional support in this painful time.