PET PROJECT FOR ANIMAL LOVERS Can't PAY the vet? Bummer
By JENNINE ZELEZNIK
VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF
BROOKFIELD -- When Donald Shaw's cousin brought the blanket-wrapped bundle to his door early Saturday morning, he was shocked.
Wrapped in the blanket was Max, the Shaw family's miniature collie.
"My cousin told me, 'He can't walk,'" Shaw said.
At first, Shaw thought the dog had been hit by a car.
On closer inspection, though, a small, bloody hole was found on Max's left rear leg near the hip -- the kind of hole made by a .22-caliber bullet.
As soon as the veterinarian's office opened, Shaw took Max for X-rays -- first demanding that the dog be sedated.
The pictures showed confetti-like pieces of bone and bullet scattered around the remains of the femur.
Shaw had two options: Repair the leg -- typically a $1,000 surgery -- or put Max to sleep.
Difficult situation: The family is in a tough financial situation.
Shaw and Amanda Hahn are expecting a baby in two weeks. Hahn is off work, and the couple already has a 3-year-old son, Andrew.
Shaw works as an information technician, repairing and installing telephones at St. Joseph Health Center in Warren.
Still, "After having him for 11 years -- he's like a kid," Shaw said, stroking the collie's perked ears.
"If he had a terminal disease, I could see [euthanizing him]. But I don't believe in putting animals down because of a broken leg."
The surgery was set for today. Dr. Sukhbir Singh was to use pins to repair the shattered bone, which should heal in about 12 weeks.
Max was lucky -- part of his femur was still in the hip socket, so his joint wasn't destroyed.
Max will be going home late this week, Dr. Singh said.
Bummer Fund: But how to pay? Dr. Singh, Max's vet, suggested the Bummer Fund.
Started in 1994 in memory of a family cat, the Bummer Fund is a not-for-profit organization that donates money to responsible pet owners whose pets are in emergency situations.
The funds are to properly care for the pet, instead of putting it down.
The Youngstown-based charity agreed that Max deserved the surgery, but it has only $300 available to help now -- they had paid only the week before to remove polyps from a cat's throat, president Susan Sexton said.
Shaw is now turning to family members for the remaining money.
Dr. Singh, who owns the Animal Medical Care Center & amp; Cat Hospital in Niles, is donating some of his time.
Seeking donations: Still, Sexton asks that anyone interested in helping Max send a tax-deductible contribution to the Bummer Fund.
"We can use all the help we can get," Shaw said, as Max nosed his pointed snout into Shaw's palm for a pat.
Andrew, riding on his mother's hip, leaned over to pat Max's long fur. Hahn put her hand over her son's to help.
"I's gonna do it," the small blond boy informed her, then patted the dog's head without assistance.
"Hello, Max," he said.
XThe Bummer Fund can be reached at (330) 746-5101. Contributions can be sent to 269 Redondo Road, Youngstown 44504.