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      Shamrock Fund provides help to its first sick animal

      Colleen Boord and "Pookie" / photo: Matt Mulcahy

      In the shadow of the towering Cornell University Animal Hospital the white coat of an eight year old American Eskimo dog stands out as she wanders through the summer grass. Curiosity has Pookie sniffing every corner, every inch. She is active and engaged. Her ailments are no longer obvious.

      Moments later a breeze blows through pine trees surrounding a memorial park bench where Colleen Boord cradles her beloved Pookie and recalls the difficult nine months prior. "I'm so glad for the Shamrock Animal Fund," said Colleen Boord. "If it wasn't for the Shamrock Animal Fund, I wouldn't have been able to come down here and get her taken care of because I didn't have the money."

      Colleen discovered The Shamrock Animal Fund through the cover story on the Central New York magazine that featured Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy and Matt Mulcahy and their experiences with their 19 year old poodle Shamrock. Shamrock received wonderful care at Cornell in his last years of life. Their time with him there helped inspire them to start The Shamrock Animal Fund to benefit animals in need of veterinary care.

      Pookie and her owner are the first recipients of assistance from the fledgling fund. Colleen hasn't worked much recently because she has been caring for ailing parents at her home in Bridgeport. Last November her dog's health began to fail. Anemia and an autoimmune polyarthritis had sapped her dog's strength. Her local veterinarian had some success treating with prednisone, but as winter turned into spring Pookie weakened. She wasn't walking much and was clinging to Colleen's side at the start of June when her vet told her it seemed time to put down her dog.

      Instead Colleen sought answers, but was short on resources. She reached out to Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy at The Shamrock Animal Fund. Jamie encouraged a visit to Cornell's renowned Animal Hospital. Colleen couldn't pay, but took responsibility and moved ahead. Her sister helped, Cornell helped and The Shamrock Animal Fund helped get Pookie care she otherwise would not have received.

      Resident Dr. Kate McGonigle became involved in Pookie's case. Dr. McGonigle also treated Shamrock in his later years. An ultrasound ruled out concern of internal bleeding or tumors although it did reveal an enlarged liver. They discovered a blooming infection on Pookie's leg. She started antibiotics for the infection and began tapering the prednisone dosage. One week later Pookie's energy was returning.

      Cornell's expertise and experience with treating the unusual is making a difference. Dr. McGonigle said, I think putting all those minds together makes things that were subtle and insidious come to light where they wouldn't have otherwise."

      "This place is a miracle place," said Pookie's owner. If they can't figure it out, nobody can. And they figured it out." Colleen Boord truly appreciates the help she received that made her visit to Ithaca possible. She respects the effort to keep alive the memory of a treasured pet like Shamrock. Boord said, "Part of Shamrock will still be always alive in these animals you're helping because she might not be here today if it wasn't for the Shamrock Animal Fund."

      The Shamrock Animal Fund is a not for profit corporation that accepts donations year-round. It is still in the early stages of organizing. You can go to or call 315-415-8563 to donate or get more information.