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Nina - A Real Life Rescue Story

$4,532 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 162 people in 16 months
Even if you are a wonderful dog surrendered to a shelter with a great behavior history, you can still become urgent due to circumstances not under your control. This is exactly what happened to Nina. While she quickly became a volunteer favorite at ACCT Philly, Nina was classified as VERY urgent from the beginning of her stay: she was drastically underweight, had several mammary tumors, and contracted an early onset upper respiratory infection that was on its way to becoming pneumonia.
Nina was first know as Nina Blackwell. She was officially surrendered to ACCT Philly on February 27th, 2015. She went into foster with me on March 12th, 2015. 


When I met Nina, I was working at ACCT Philly as a Lifesaving counselor, a person who focuses on saving our most urgent animals. Knowing Nina's extremely urgent medical status with the lack of space we had at the shelter, I scrambled to find a foster for Nina who could save her life. Luckily, I did find someone, but the foster could only get her in two days time, so I took her in temporarily. True to Nina's feisty personality, she wasn't quite a fit in the foster home, so we were once again scrambling for options rather than bring her back to the shelter. At this time, I was asked to foster Nina full time, which I agreed to not knowing that this goofy senior would become my own dog. My time with her was supposed to be temporary (two days), but instead we found each other in a way I never expected.

While fostering her, Nina made amazing progress at home and with her health, enough so that we were hoping she would be adoptable following her mass removal. Despite her bossy personality, she had settled in well with my dog Skippy, my roommate's dog, and our lifestyle in general. Unfortunately, we were hit with a sad twist of fate: while Nina's mass removal was successful, her biopsy came back positive for cancer. Even worse, the cancer had spread to one of her lymph nodes. I was told dogs with her prognosis rarely lived past a year, so I made myself content fostering her while trying to find an adopter ok with having a special needs/hospice dog. After over a year with no adoption inquiries, I adopted her on July 23rd, 2016 after realizing how much she loved me: when I was on vacation in Canada for two weeks, she was so depressed that she wouldn't leave my bed and eventually stopped eating. That's when I knew she loved me more than anyone else, and I couldn't let her go to another home.27838384_15190047140_r.jpegNina at the University of Pennsylvania after her successful surgery to remove mammary tumors in the spring of 2015. 

Despite her cancer diagnosis, Nina thrived beyond anyone's wildest expectations. She just wouldn't give up. After several followups with Penn (thank you so much, Penn Mammary Tumor Program!) over a year's time, Nina was labeled as "in remission" and eventually "cancer free." She had beaten the odds, not only with cancer, but also as an urgent senior dog in an open intake shelter. She has a new lease on life, and trust me, she has been living it to the fullest! No one can make you smile as much as Nina does because of how full of love she is. Once you're in her circle of friends, you better be ready for constant antics as well as her trademark "big Nina kisses." While she can be a handful, the good thing is you can always tell you are VERY loved! When I adopted her officially, I told myself I would make it work financially, even if I didn't necessarily have the resources to care for a dog who could not be insured due to pre-existing conditions. She was special and deserved more than the life she was given.
27838384_15190047660_r.jpegNina, sharing our couch with my other dog, Skippy, in 2018.

Now comes the reason why I am writing this. After adopting Nina, I had started to save for her extensive medical needs (major dental work, numerous wart removals, senior bloodwork, emergency funds, etc...) that come with owning a senior dog. Unfortunately, before I had this all secured, Nina suffered a complete tear of her ACL. I have been advised that her best prognosis would be to have an expensive resconstructive surgery called a Tibeal Plate Leveling Osteotomy (TPLO). To make matters worse, I am going through my own medical issues which are also straining my finances. The injury couldn't have come at a worse time.

For this reason, I am asking for your aid. I am so happy Nina is mine now. She is such a wonderful dog who lives every day to the fullest. Regardless of if this fundraising goal is met, I will provide for her, but any help or support would be so appreciated. I plan on scheduling her surgery at the end of February. I did not anticipate having two dogs at my age, let alone one being a senior with multiple medical issues, but I am here facing it now. Because I already work two jobs to support myself, Nina, and my other dog, I don't have the opportunity to create more income at this time. Helping fund Nina's ACL surgery will allow her to be a normal dog again, let me save for her other medical expenses, and take care of my own personal health. Every rescue animal has a story, but few as compelling at Nina's. Please help her live the life she deserves after all she has gone through.
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Hi everyone,
Nina is definitely feeling better now that she's almost a week out of surgery. I've attached a video of her playing around and being a total goof so everyone can see how happy she is! Thank you so much for supporting her. We are waiting on her biopsy results and are hoping her cancer has not returned. If the tests are negative, I will proceed in scheduling her TPLO surgery. The only issue is that this extra surgery has used up the funds you all raised plus the money I had been saving to pay the balance of her TPLO surgery (estimate was around 5,000 to 6,000 dollars).

Please understand I say this with a very heavy heart as I've appreciated every person who donated, shared, or just floated positive energy towards our way, but due to this extra surgery, I may have to ask for your help again. I don't expect anyone to donate more money towards us as you've all done way more than enough, but if you all could please, please, please share Nina's story, it would be so helpful. I know raising another 4,000 to 6,000 dollars will be extremely difficult, so if anyone has any special contacts who can help us get her story out there, it would be a huge help.

Once again, she deserves so much more than what she was given in life. You all are now a GIANT part of making her life better by being part of this campaign for her, so I hope that we together can go the distance to get this girl what she needs. You are part of her story. As I have said before, regardless of what we get, I will provide for Nina, but further support through sharing her story would be so appreciated by both of us.
Sincerely,
Keith M

PS If anyone would ever like to hang out Nina, please reach out! I know that might seem odd, but I think anyone who has helped us deserves to meet her (I mean her story seems pretty epic at this point, am I right?). She obviously wouldn't mind having a friend over while she's recovering, and Nina is a special girl who can really put a smile on almost any person's face. We're probably going to decorate her cone now since she's in one so much, and she doesn't mind it! If anyone has any good ideas to bling it up, let us know.
Happy Nina post spleen removal!
Vet bill for Nina's spleen surgery :/
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Hi everyone,
Update from Nina:

Once again, we were thrown another curveball in regards to Nina: On preop radiographs (barely seen at the bottom of the image) a soft tissue mass was found in her abdomen. Upon further examination (ultrasound and aspirate) it was found that Nina had a necrotic mass the size of a potato which the veterinarians suspect was due to a chronic splenic torsion. This came as a complete curveball to all of us, as she had not been displaying symptoms consistent with this condition, and her pre-surgical bloodwork was normal. They will be sending the mass removed during exploratory surgery out to make sure it is not cancerous.

Due to the need for this additional surgery, Nina did not have her TPLO today. I will keep everyone updated as a I know more. Please keep her in your thoughts! The good thing is she is up from surgery, again beating the odds, and intent on living for forever as always. Here is an update of her awake post surgery. I will hopefully have her back tonight or tomorrow. Once again thank you all for all the support.
Sincerely,
Keith M
For some reason it's upside down!
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Thank you so much for the support everyone! I am sorry for posting so much later but work and life is pretty hectic. Nina and I went to Cares last week (on my birthday actually) and got a second consult. It was about expected aside from a torn meniscus as well, but I have officially scheduled her surgery for next week. This honestly was the best birthday present I could have asked for and am so thankful for all of you who donated and shared Nina's story. I will try to post updates as she recovers from her surgery. Please keep her in mind as she recovers!
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$4,532 of $4,000 goal

Raised by 162 people in 16 months
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