Trixie, the tiny Bichon Shih Tzu puppy, scampered throughout the back room of the Fairmount Animal Hospital. As she dashed across the floor each member of the veterinary staff broke out in a smile. When Trixie first visited Fairmount the day before Christmas everyone was worried she would not survive a terrible scare. Trixie had sunk her teeth into an electrical cord. The shock sent a jolt through her system.
"Trixie means everything to me. She's my baby. She's very spoiled," said Trixie's owner Kathy Wilson. "I'm over protective of her." Wilson was working the night shift when she learned Trixie bit into the cord. Once morning came she started calling veterinarians, but could not find one to take her on an emergency basis with limited funds on the day before Christmas. Fairmount Animal Hospital opened its doors to her.
Dr. Eileen Fatcheric had immediate concern for Trixie. The electrical shock had burned the sensitive tissue in her lungs. All options for care were considered including round the clock hospitalization so the puppy could be breathe elevated oxygen. Wilson was short on money. Enter the Shamrock Animal Fund.
"All animals should have a chance at vet care and a positive outcome," said Shamrock Animal Fund co-founder and president Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy. "Unfortunately cost can be prohibitive."
Jamie started a conversation with Wilson and Dr. Fatcheric about a cost effective solution to getting Trixie the care she needed. The Fairmount staff brainstormed and figured out a way to send Trixie home. "We instructed the Wilson's on how to make a homemade oxygen cage, but putting trixie in a small plastic carrier wrapped in saran wrap so the oxygen can't escape," said Dr. Fatcheri. "Let her breathe the oxygen all night."
It was a good plan that developed a glitch. The provider of the oxygen Lincare was going out of its way to get the Wilson's the oxygen on Christmas Eve. But, miscommunication over the prescribed amount would have left Trixie short on oxygen over the holiday. Pomilio-Mulcahy noticed the problem when talking with Wilson.
"It's Christmas eve and I was there with my family and Jamie's texting me, " said Dr. Fatcheric. "And, God forgive me, I was texting her back. But we made it happen." Wilson said, "On Christmas eve and on Christmas Day she called me. Gave me her cell phone number and said if anything happens call. We kept in touch. It's really great. I wish I knew about your program a long time ago."
Pomilo-Mulcahy said, "It's just a wonderful feeling to know that this puppy is alive and doing well thanks to the collaboration and care of many individuals who wanted this dog to have a positive outcome. It truly is a miracle, a Christmas miracle you could say because it all happened on Christmas Eve."
"I've learned over the years that the gold standard for care isn't the only standard of care, granted it's the best standard of care. But, it's a shame that patients who might survive with first aid or minimal care euthanized because we are afraid of the worst case scenario."
"She bounced back. I brought her back the day after Christmas and it was like she was a new dog, " said Wilson. Two months later Trixie was back to being a happy little puppy. Putting smiles on the faces as a Christmas miracle case of the Shamrock Animal Fund.
Shamrock's Celebration 2013 fundraiser is March 23rd. Online reservations are available.