Grab your tissue boxes ladies and gentleman, I have stumbled upon a wonderful story filled with human and animal kindness. In order to convey this story correctly, I want to share with you three individual stories.
River is a beautiful 4-year-old rescued yellow lab. River’s family knew they wanted a yellow lab, and that they would rescue one from a shelter. After scouring Petfinder, and many other websites and rescues, River’s family found her listing and went down to meet her at the Merced county shelter. The shelter workers only knew that River was found roaming the streets by herself, and it was obvious she previously had at least one litter of puppies. River almost didn’t end up going home with the family because of a mix up at the shelter that had her marked as already adopted, but thanks to Mom’s persistence, River found herself in the comfort of their home very soon. Since then, River has enjoyed a wonderful family life complete with a Chihuahua sister, kitty sister, and 4 humans to call her people.
Well, one day River stopped eating her food. If you have ever met a yellow lab before, you know this is a HUGE concern, since labs love to eat everything. So River’s mom decided to see if she would take some treats, and she did. Then, the next day, River didn’t want any more treats, but she would eat some people food. At this point, River’s mom became concerned, and decided to take her into the vet’s office. River was tended to with fluids and diagnostics, but no conclusion could be met as to what was curbing her appetite. Before long, she began having vomiting and diarrhea and was refusing any type of food.
On Wednesday evening, the vet thought to turn in a fecal sample as a possible diagnostic, but they couldn’t get one due to the lack of food River had consumed. When River’s mom took her for a walk just before the vet’s office closed, she got a sample. Since it was getting so late, they had to wait over night for the results. That evening, River was struggling with going to that bathroom, and spent much of her time pacing back and forth, so River’s mom left the back door open so she could go out if she wanted to.
At 2am, River couldn’t be found in the house, she had curled up under a bush outside in the yard. River’s mom rushed over to her to find her struggling to stay on this Earth, she was drooling and listless. So her mom laid down in the dirt next to her and cried her eyes out for fear that she would lose her before the sun rose again.
Early the next morning, River still clinging to life, the vet called and stated that River had salmon poisoning, something not seen very often in this area, and she should be rushed to the emergency clinic immediately to see the internal medicine specialist. River’s family suspects that while running alongside her dad on a local trail which sits next to a lake, she must have eaten something that caused her illness.
The family quickly learned that salmon poisoning can kill an animal within 5 days, and at this point it had been 10 days since River began showing signs of illness. It was a miracle that River had made it this far, and now it was time for treatments and fluids in order for her to get better and regain her strength. River’s family spent many days back and forth between their own hospital visits (more on that later) and the veterinary hospital.
After 5 very long days in the hospital, River survived.
At Sage, the emergency clinic where River was treated, the animals who are seen during the day in the “Internal Medicine” ward, will be taken care of by the night/emergency staff if they have to stay for an extended period of time. Since River was treated at Sage for 5 days, a veterinary technician named Lindsay fell in love. She felt enamored by River and her very sweet family that she interacted with during River’s stay. At times, Lindsay even climbed into the cage with River in order to comfort her and make her feel more comfortable.
A few days into River’s treatment, Lindsay suddenly felt guided toward applying for Care Credit. Care Credit is simply a line of credit used in veterinary medicine (and many other medical locations) to help owners pay for very expensive and unexpected bills. Something was telling Lindsay that she should apply for Care Credit, despite not having a pet. She thought it would be a good idea to be approved ahead of time in case she ever needed to use it. Later that day, Lindsay over heard a friend of a client telling the receptionist that her friend’s family was in a tough financial position and they could really use some help. After hearing a few minor details, Lindsay walked up to the woman and asked, “Are you talking about River’s family?”. The woman replied that indeed she was. The family had maxed out every line of credit possible to pay for River’s 5 day stay, and they were struggling to find room in their budget for the remaining bill. Lindsay decided right then and there that she would take on the existing balance of River’s bill for the family. Keep in mind, Lindsay did this without ever expecting repayment of any kind, she just felt that this was her chance to do something nice for River and her family.
Lindsay has a family of her own, and decided to take on a $1300 bill without blinking. River’s family was absolutely floored. Someone they barely knew was willing to help them, just because. Without giving too much detail, I can say for certain that having lived on a veterinary technician’s salary, there isn’t a lot of extra room to take on large bills like this. Truthfully, who does?
River’s Family’s Story:
What Lindsay didn’t know was that in River’s family, her mission was not just to be loved, but to share love. Their teenage daughter had been diagnosed with leukemia a few years prior, and River gives her extra love and support after her chemo treatments. Lindsay was doing this family a bigger favor than she could have known. She had no idea that mom was shuffling back and forth from the vet hospital to chemo treatments with her daughter. Additionally, Lindsay was unaware that the River went down hill quickly, much like their daughter did when she was first diagnosed. Moreover, she didn’t realize that stepping in when she did, lifted a huge financial weight from the family.
When Sage’s management got wind of Lindsay’s act of kindness, they decided to give a 50% discount on River’s services. Further perpetuating the cycle of human kindness this story brings.
We happened to have funds left over from Bella the Basset’s campaign that we put toward River’s bill to help Lindsay pay for what she took on, but we would like to make it so Lindsay doesn’t pay a dime. She was willing to put all her personal money out there and what better way to have truly selfless acts be rewarded then by having them paid back.
I had the opportunity to meet both River and her mom and I can say this family is truly deserving of such kindness. I knew that the bill Lindsay took on, was only one of many veterinary and medical bills that family has, so we want to help both Lindsay and River’s family come back from their most recent financial set backs. Any of the donations made on our Animal Lover Funding page will go to Lindsay first (per the family’s request), then some of River’s remaining balance at Sage (since a few rechecks were also needed), and lastly, River’s family wants to pay it forward and donate to a loving and deserving rescue in our area.
In the spirit of the New Year, please share this story, or consider making a small donation to our campaign. We want the families who put their pets first to be rewarded….in the name of River.