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Tails Of Hope

Here are inspiring stories from just a few of the pets and pet owners Rochester Hope for Pets has helped. Check back often as we will update the page with new stories as we receive them.

Kitty, Ray and Josephine

BuddyWhen a black and white tuxedo cat began visiting Ray and Josephine’s home, the couple was understandably concerned. Life-long animal lovers, Ray and Josephine could not let the cat stay outdoors to brave the weather, cars, and other threats alone. This feline clearly felt the same way, for as soon as the door to Ray and Josephine’s home was opened to him, he ran right upstairs and sat on their bed. This is how Kitty came to join Ray and Josephine’s family, and he has been a valued member ever since.

But soon after Kitty’s appearance in their home, Ray and Josephine began to notice that he was having difficulty eating and was not gaining weight. After bringing Kitty to a local veterinarian, Ray and Josephine agreed with the doctor’s advice that Kitty would benefit from a dental cleaning as a first step in diagnosing his eating difficulties.

However, as a retired couple dependent solely upon their social security, Ray and Josephine faced a great difficulty in amassing enough money for Kitty’s dental work. Wanting to do the best for their cat, they applied to Rochester Hope for Pets for financial assistance. Fortunately, Kitty was granted an award from Rochester Hope for Pets and received a dental cleaning at Caring for Cats Veterinary Hospital.

Since the cleaning, Kitty has improved immensely. He has put on a little weight and is able to eat with more comfort than before. Ray and Josephine still monitor Kitty’s progress closely, but he is now a happy, healthy cat who loves to spend time with the kind family who welcomed him into their home.

Princess and Barbara

BuddyFor the last eight-and-a-half years, Barbara has shared her life with Princess. Loving, calm, and undeniably regal, Princess the white and grey cat loves to listen to music with Barbara, preferring patriotic songs above all others. Amazingly, Barbara tells us that when Princess hears “The Star-Spangled Banner,” she grows noticeably calmer and listens attentively to the song, enjoying both the music and the love she shares with her friend.

But one day, Barbara noticed that Princess was uncharacteristically restless and agitated. She’d begun to shake her head frantically back and forth and was unable to make herself comfortable. Because of her bond with Princess, Barbara knew immediately that Princess was in pain and needed to see a veterinarian as quickly as possible.

Princess was examined by Dr. Melissa Pelesz at the Animal Hospital of Pittsford, who diagnosed Princess with an aural hematoma, a collection of blood within the cartilage of the ear that requires immediate attention.

Though dedicated to the well-being of her “soul mate,” Barbara was unsure how she would be able to afford the cost of Princess’ surgery while living on her social security. Fortunately, Rochester Hope for Pets was able to offer Barbara and Princess an award to assist with this financial difficulty.

During the pre-operative consult, Princess was understandably frightened. Luckily, Barbara knew exactly what her friend needed and began to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in the exam room. Princess immediately calmed down and later came through the procedure wonderfully. Since then, Princess has made a complete recovery and is now the happy and healthy cat she’s always been. Of her experience with Rochester Hope for Pets, Barbara has only kind words: “Just the fact that people cared so much was an extra bonus” to Princess’ recovery, she tells us.

Because Princess’ medical problems were located in her ear, Barbara was worried that her cat would suffer from some residual hearing loss. We’re happy to report that Princess still listens to “The Star-Spangled Banner” with the best friend with whom she shares her life.

Petey and Richard

BuddyPetey’s story starts in March 2012 when Richard adopted the cute little puppy from Pitty Love Rescue. Richard says anyone who encounters Petey agrees he is a well-behaved and laid-back dog. Petey was so easy to train that Richard thought he couldn’t possibly be that good of a dog — but he was, and he still is.

Petey is a gentle, playful and can’t wait to make new friends. One day while running laps around a pool with another dog, as he had many times before, Petey injured himself. When Richard called for Petey to come in for a swim, he was not using his back left leg. He did not seem to be in any pain, and he just wanted to continue playing. After a day or two of no improvement, Richard took him in to see Dr. Ken Scheider at Perinton Veterinary Hospital.

It turned out that Petey had a very rare knee ligament injury. Richard considers his dog as family, and he wanted to do everything he could to see him recover, but, financially, it was going to be difficult to cover the expensive treatment. Richard had recently bought a house, and he was putting himself through graduate school. When he was told he would receive an award from Rochester Hope for Pets, Richard felt his prayers had been answered.

The surgery was extensive and so was the recovery — Petey was in a cast for almost two months — but he got through it successfully. He can now use his leg and run and play like every puppy does. Without the award from Rochester Hope for Pets, Richard and Petey’s story may have had a different ending. We’re so glad it was a happy outcome!

Buddy and April

BuddyThis is Buddy, a 2-year-old poodle mix. His friend April says he rescued her a couple years ago and helped her to smile again.

In the summer, April noticed that Buddy was limping and having some trouble walking. She took him to his veterinarian at Walworth Animal Hospital and they determined that he had luxating patella on both hind legs and needed an expensive surgery to repair his problem.

April contacted Rochester Hope for Pets and was granted an award to use toward Buddy's surgery.

Buddy is recovering nicely and we are glad they are smiling again.


FrenchyOn Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2011, Justin Greco, DVM, DACVS, performed surgery on Maltese mix rescue dog Frenchy. She had patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a congenital cardiac defect that is fatal unless surgically corrected. Frenchy, who was between 1 and 2 years old at the time, was about to be adopted when Dr. Allison Kulow, a contract veterinarian for Rochester Animal Services, discovered the Maltese mix had a heart murmur that sounded serious. The potential adopters withdrew from the adoption after learning Frenchy could have a health condition.

But Animal Services volunteer Ginny Randisi would not give up so easily on Frenchy. She reached out to Rochester Hope for Pets,requesting assistance in acquiring a cardiac ultrasound and other tests to identify Frenchy's specific condition. Rochester Hope for Pets communicated with Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, who agreed to waive $600 in fees to help Randisi and Animal Services learn more about Frenchy's condition.

Anna Gelzer,DVM, Diplomate ACVIM (Cardiology), performed a cardiology consult at Veterinary Specialists of Rochester, including a complete physical examination, an echocardiogram and an electrocardiogram. Dr. Gelzer concluded that Frenchy has a left to right shunting PDA, which is common in the Maltese breed and is caused by a blood vessel that does not close after birth like it should. The condition is completely curable with a serious surgery, which cost about $4,000, including a surgical fee, post-operation hospitalization, anesthesia, surgical instruments needed to complete the complex surgery, and more.

Luckily, Animal Services, Rochester Hope for Pets, the Animal Hospital of Pittsford, Nuts for Mutts Rescue, Inc, a local donor, and Veterinary Specialists of Rochester have worked together to bring about everything needed for Frenchy's procedure. Frenchy made it through the surgery and was adopted shortly afterwards. She is now a healthy, happy pup living with her new family.

To read more about Frenchy's story, visit the press release on the Animal Hospital of Pittsford's website.

Hooch and Jennifer

HoochHooch is a 9-year-old standard smooth red dachshund. His mommy, Jennifer, describes him as full of expression, loyal, and fun. He loves the outdoors and is perceptive and understanding. He makes her laugh every day.

Back in 2011, Hooch became very ill. He was retaining fluids. Jennifer learned that she needed to take him to Cornell Veterinary Hospital Ithaca to have an echocardiogram so that doctors could make an exact diagnosis and prescribe treatment. In addition to veterinary bills already incurred, Jennifer was then faced with another bill for this costly diagnostic test. She contacted Rochester Hope for Pets and was granted an award to help cover some of the costs.

Doctors determined that Hooch has right-sided heart disease and they were able to formulate a treatment plan. He is currently on medication and, with help from his owner and his veterinarian, he is maintaining his health. He has lost muscle tone as an effect of his disease, but he's still a happy boy.

“It’s hard to sum up this wonderful dog,” Jennifer said about Hooch. “Together, we take one day at a time. He’s my clown boy. He still makes me smile every day.” His sweet face shows how grateful he is … and we were happy to help him!

Kali, Ann Marie and Michael

KaliThis is Kali, a 9-year-old Miniature Pinscher. She developed an unexpected illness that required extensive testing to diagnose. This type of testing can be quite expensive, but Kali's family wanted to know what was wrong and how they could help her. They contacted Rochester Hope for Pets and asked for some assistance.

Dr. Erica Grzankowski of Irondequoit Animal Hospital determined that Kali had severe pancreatitis and a possible pancreatic tumor. Although the prognosis was poor, Ann Marie and Michael felt better knowing Kali's diagnosis and were able to make decisions to keep Kali comfortable.

Kali put up a brave fight, but unfortunately succumbed to her illness. Her family is grateful for their award, which allowed them to provide her the best possible care.

Kara and Pat & Charles

KaraIn April 2011, five-year-old Kara was diagnosed with diabetes. Although she was treated for her condition, she developed mature cataracts in both her eyes. Kara's veterinarian referred her owners to Dr. Kent Burgesser, an ophthalmologist at Veterinary Specialists of Rochester. He recommended double cataract surgery and lens transplant. Even though the procedure would be costly, Kara's owners decided to go ahead with the surgery. They wanted her to be able to see again. The staff at Greece Animal Hospital, Kara's regular veterinary hospital, admired her owner's devotion.

Kara received an award from Rochester Hope for Pets to go toward her surgery, which occurred in October 2011. She is expected to make a full recovery. Her diabetes is under control and she is doing well. Best of all, Kara can see again! This is quite a relief for Charles and Pat, who are appreciative of their Hope award. They said, "It is like a miracle to see her act like she did when she was a puppy."

Kittens and Sue

KittensMeet three little kittens, Gracie, Piper and Tigger. Their owner, Sue, took in a stray cat last spring and that cat turned out to be expecting! With guidance and help from the staff at Greece Animal Hospital, Sue took care of the mother and her kittens. Mama was spayed soon after the birth of her kittens. Sue wanted to take care of the kittens, too, but spaying three kittens is very costly. Fortunately, Sue received an award from Rochester Hope for Pets to help her with the cost of the spays.

Mama and her three kittens are all doing very well. Sue is very grateful for the help she received.

Koshka and Robert

KoshkaThis is Koshka, the cat friend of Robert. In June, while Koshka was sitting in a window sill, the window came crashing down on her leg!

A few days after receiving emergency treatment, Koshka still was unable to put weight on her leg. Although he is unemployed and worried about the expense, Robert could not bear to let her continue limping. He contacted the Hope Foundation and was granted an award to help with the cost.

Robert took Koshka to her regular veterinarian at Brighton Animal Hospital. They did a fracture repair and put her in a cast.

We are glad Koshka is on the mend!

Merlin and Maria

MerlinWhen 12-year-old Merlin got sick, his family faced other expenses because their two dogs, Cara and Roux, also required veterinary care. Merlin suffered from constipation, dehydration, and renal failure. He needed tests to determine what was wrong and how it should be treated. For Merlin's family, it was a lot of pet care in a short amount of time.

The family received a Rochester Hope for Pets award, which helped them to be able to afford the diagnostics Merlin needed. Through testing, Merlin's veterinarian, Dr. Carolyn Fisher at Suburban Animal Hospital, was able to make a diagnosis of kidney disease. He received treatment for some time, allowing him to have a better standard of living for months after receiving his diagnosis. Unfortunately, Merlin passed away not too long ago. We were very sad to hear this, but we were glad we could help his parents make him more comfortable.

"The thought of not having the option to at least try and help him was a heartbreaking and hopeless feeling," Merlin's owner Maria said. "However, Rochester Hope for Pets helped us out with that."

Oliver and Sandra

OliverOliver's story starts in October 2005, when Sandra went to Lollypop Farm and rescued the 4-month-old Weimaraner. He has been by her side ever since, and Sandra says that "he is my shadow." Oliver turned out to be a very well-behaved, even-tempered and loving dog. Among Sandra's friends and family, he is affectionately known as "Oliver the Gentle Giant." He is as gentle as he is big – and at 100 pounds, he is big! But don't tell him that, because he thinks he is a small dog and loves nothing more than to crawl onto Sandra's lap and fall asleep.

Weimaraners are an active breed, which is a great fit for Sandra. Every morning they take a three-mile walk around the neighborhood, which Ollie loves. One Sunday in October 2012, they started the day as usual with their walk, and Ollie even got to play with his best friend Murphy, a stocky black Labrador. Sandra and Ollie then enjoyed a lazy Sunday in front of the television. Later on, when Sandra got up to go to the kitchen, her "shadow" got off the couch to follow and started gagging. Sandra knew something was wrong. She let him outside for some fresh air but couldn't get him to come back to her. He kept trying to lie down and was clearly in distress. When he finally came in, Sandra could feel that his abdomen had doubled in size, which she knew must be bloat.

After rushing Ollie to Animal Emergency Service vet, it turned out that not only did he have bloat, he had gastric dilatation volvulus, or "twisted stomach," and without surgery he would have to be euthanized. The veterinarians said he would make a full recovery with surgery, although it would be quite costly. Ollie has been with Sandra for seven years; he is her family. She decided to do whatever it took to save his life. She agreed to let them operate, and even though she knew it would be a tight financially, it was never really a question in her mind to save him.

While looking at the Emergency Service website, she saw a link for Rochester Hope for Pets, so she called. A few days after filling out an application, Sandra was offered an award to help out with Oliver's expenses. He made a full recovery and is back to being the amazing dog he has always been. In Sandra's own words: "I can't imagine my life without him and wasn't ready to say goodbye to him. While I may have rescued him from the shelter, I honestly think he rescued me. I may have agreed to the operation that saved his life, but the way I see it, I was just finally returning the favor."

Rudy and Hope

RudyMeet Rudy, a cavalier King Charles/border collie/Doberman, who was adopted by Hope in 2003 when he was one-and-a-half years old. In January, Hope took Rudy to the Animal Emergency Service, where she learned he had pancreatitis that would require ongoing care for chronic flare-ups. Rudy's prognosis was good as long as he received ongoing medical care, including hospitalization, fluid pumps, professional treatments, medicines, and more.

Treating Rudy's illness became quite costly for Hope, but she refused to give up. Dr. Linda Banks of Stone Ridge Veterinary Hospital, Rudy's primary care veterinarian, had known Hope and Rudy for a while. "Hope loves her dog and tries to do the best she can for Rudy. Rudy is really all she has and I believe he gives her something to live for."

Hope said she felt grateful upon receiving a Rochester Hope for Pets award, which has allowed her to continue providing the ongoing medical care Rudy needs. Rudy is doing well now, and Hope continues to be grateful for the award she received.

"I came very close to losing him," she said. "Thank God I didn't. I wasn't ready to give him up."

Shamus and Dennis

ShamusOn Friday, May 13, 2011, Shamus, an Old English bulldog, was hit by a car. His owner, Dennis, immediately brought him to Animal Emergency Service in Rochester, where doctors stabilized him. Shamus had a large, open laceration on his back leg that needed cleaning and assessing.

For four days, Shamus remained in emergency care, where he received extensive wound care and bandage changes. Surgeons could then perform an operation to close his wound. Although on medications and receiving daily bandage changes from a veterinarian, Shamus went home to Dennis until he developed an infection in his wound three days later. The surgery team decided Shamus needed to receive daily anesthesia and more extensive wound management.

After more than 10 days total of hospitalization, Shamus returned home. With antibiotics and bandage changes every few days, Shamus's health is still improving. However, lengthy hospital stays and extensive wound care resulted in a significant bill for Dennis.

The doctors realized Dennis' dedication to his pet. They saw that Dennis would go above and beyond to help his dog heal. So, although Dennis covered most of the medical costs, the Hope Foundation provided him with an award to help.

"I wasn't expecting it, but it definitely helped out in a time of need," Dennis said.

Storm and Nicole

StormStorm is a 4-month-old Australian Shepherd puppy. When Nicole acquired her, she was aware that this was a puppy with special needs, which she thought was an eating disorder. She quickly realized that something more serious was wrong.

Nicole took Storm to see Dr. Larry Silberg at Suburban Animal Hospital. He diagnosed Storm with megaesophagus (ballooning of the esophagus), which was caused by a band of tissue surrounding the esophagus. This was preventing food from going into the stomach (vascular ring anomaly). This condition could be corrected by a very costly surgery that would need to be performed at Cornell University Hospital for Animals. The veterinarians at Cornell agreed with Dr. Silberg's diagnosis and told Nicole that Storm had a very low chance of survival because of her frail condition.

Nicole decided to go ahead with the surgery, because without it, Storm had no chance. She began contacting every agency she could find to seek assistance with the cost of Storm's required procedure. She posted fliers seeking donations. Everyone was quite impressed with Nicole's dedication to this adorable puppy. Rochester Hope for Pets was pleased to give Nicole an award toward the cost of the surgery.

Today, Storm is eating well and growing fast. Nicole and Storm are grateful for the help they received that will allow Storm to live a long doggy life.