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Gulf & Main Magazine

Gulf Coast Humane Society Second Chance Fund Saves Pet Lives

Apr 27, 2018 11:29AM ● By Kevin
The Gulf Coast Humane Society’s Second Chance Fund has been "an invaluable savior" to countless animals who have nowhere else to turn to during a serious medical issue, which has inflicted them by no fault of their own, according to a recent press release by the nonprofit.

The Second Chance Fund helps pay for medical bills and rehabilitation from everything to being hit by a car, a serious medical diagnosis or an injury caused by negligence or abuse. 

The success rate is nearly perfect, as well. Every animal which was a Second Chance Fund recipient, was eventually adopted. 

This fund could not be an option without the support and donations of the community. The fund was set up to help animals which have no one else to turn to and the donations to the Second Chance has kept it as a viable option for several years now. 

“It’s literally been a life-saving fund for many of these animals,” said GCHS executive director Jennifer Galloway. “The fund has covered medical costs which would have never been picked up by anyone else, so in essence, they would have never had the procedure done. It’s a very important initiative of ours at GCHS.” 

Gulf Coast Humane Society is a regional organization dedicated to helping companion pets find their forever homes, no matter how long it takes. GCHS provides an adoption center, spay-neuter and veterinary clinic, as well as education and awareness to the public about the welfare of homeless pets. 

The importance of the Second Chance Fund has been on full alert the last couple of months, with more than several animals’ lives being directly affected by it. 

Mack, a lab-terrier mix, came into GCHS with two broken legs, which was caused after he was hit by a semi-truck in DeSoto County. Specialized Veterinary Services is the go-to clinic GCHS relies on for many of its Second Chance Fund treatments. Mack’s case was no different, as Dr. Jason Eisele performed major surgery on both of Mack’s hind legs. 

“Throughout the entire process, Mack was always wagging his tail,” Galloway said. “He deserved to be pain-free and live a long, happy life.” 

That’s exactly what occurred, as Mack is more than along his way to a full recovery, and is now in foster. 

“Mack is doing fantastic,” said his foster Michele Smith. “He is the sweetest thing ever and we are enjoying every single kiss and cuddle.” 

A rarity also occurred at GCHS with two little puppies, who were diagnosed with diaphragmatic hernia. This hernia occurs in dogs when the abdominal organ (such as the stomach, liver, intestines) moves into an abnormal opening in the animal's diaphragm, which is the sheet of muscle separating the abdomen from the rib cage area.


And it is a rare occurrence in one puppy, but two sharing the same kennel is double rare (the hernia is not a contagious syndrome). 

Claude, a small Chihuahua mix and Rey – a terrier mix - were kennel mates after Rey underwent the diaphragmatic hernia operation at SVS. It was soon found out that Claude also suffered the same disorder.

"We were stunned to learn Claude had the same rare hernia that Rey did and here they were kennel mates," Galloway said. "Rey had a full recovery from her surgery and was adopted, which was also paid for by the Second Chance Fund. Claude’s surgery was also successful and he, too, was soon adopted, which was an amazing story in itself."

Claude, now named Bodhi, was adopted by Jill Turner, the CEO of the Children’s Advocacy Center after his hernia surgery.  Turner fell in love with Bodhi after seeing him during his visit to the CAC. The CAC and GCHS have a partnership where the shelter allows a CAC employee pick-up a puppy for the day to act as therapy for the kids. 

“(Bodhi) has the sweetest temperament, cutest face, and just a really happy guy,” Turner said. “Having a puppy on site from GCHS  is a great way to allay the anxiety of the kids who come here for tough reasons, abuse and neglect.  We provide therapy, forensic interviews and medical exams among other things.  

“It is also great for the puppies as they become more socialized and easier to adopt.  We have been partnering for about three-plus years and I am aware of over 35 puppies that have been adopted from here, mostly staff!  Well, I resisted for all that time and then I met Bodhi, it was before his surgery.  I fell in love.  I already have 4 dogs and now Bodhi.”

Bodhi will now be a CAC therapy dog for the kids there, which is a perfect turnaround, since now he can be the one helping after he was lent a helping hand through the Second Chance Fund.

The last couple of weeks, though, GCHS has been using the Second Chance Fund much more than normal. Three separate surgeries were performed on GCHS shelter animals, including Ralphie (a Jack Russell mix), Howie (a Maltese, Yorkshire mix) and Archie (an American Bulldog/Terrier mix). 

For Howie, his surgery cost nearly $3,000, which he had a shunt placed on his liver. 

“Howie was born with an abnormal vessel shunting blood around the liver instead of into the liver.  The shunting vessel caused toxins to build up in his body, causing illness,” said Jason Eisele, DVM, DACVS, surgeon for Howie.  “Without surgery, Howie may have been able to live approximately two-to-four years.  But with the elimination of the shunt, Howie should now be able to live a healthy, normal life.”

Howie isn’t up for adoption, yet, but will be after his recovery. 

“He is one hard to resist,” Galloway added. 

Archie’s surgery was a result of either major negligence or him being used as a potential bait dog. One of his hind legs was heavily damaged, after he pulled out of a tether, which ultimately resulted in him tearing all of his tendons in has ankle. 

“Archie came into GCHS with his foot just hanging there,” Galloway said. “He had torn all his tendons and ligaments after pulling himself out of a tether. Dog fighters do tend to tie up bait dogs by their ankles, but we do not know if this was Archie’s case.” 

The terrier-mix dog’s surgery resulted in him being in a boot for the next several weeks, and there is a possibility he will have a limp afterward. But Archie holds no bitterness and is a very well-mannered and lovable dog. 

Archie is currently in a foster-to-adopt after his surgery, which was handled by SVS and paid for by the Second Chance Fund. 

With many animals now healthy and living full lives because of the Second Chance Fund, Galloway said it’s an obvious decision to try and keep the fund viable for many more years to come. 

“We could never pay for all these procedures without the Second Chance Fund,” Galloway said. “And the Second Chance Fund could not be possible without caring peoples’ donations.”
Helping animals with no chance, that’s what a donation to the GCHS’ Second Chance Fund provides. 

GCHS’ mission is to care for companion pets in need by offering safe refuge, providing medical care and facilitating adoptions. GCHS promotes the concept the “Adopt, Don’t Shop” and help educate the community about proper and responsible animal care, while providing quality, affordable veterinary care. 

To make a donation to the Second Chance Fund, log onto the GCHS website and click the red “Donate Now” button; send a check to: GCHS Second Chance Fund, 2010 Arcadia Street, Fort Myers, Fla., 33916; or call 239-332-0364.

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