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The Story

On Sunday May 20th, I woke up and realized that my Great Dane, Annabelle, hadn't come in for her morning kisses like usual. As soon as my boyfriend and I start talking, we're usually joined by my giant dog with tail wagging and kisses to the face as she climbs in bed with us to snuggle for a few hours.

I went to check on her and she was on the floor, which is odd since she's a comfort creature who usually prefers the couch. I went up to her and barely got a response. I called Kevin in and normally she can't contain herself with excitement when he enters the room.

Nothing. Her eyes could barely even stay open and she looked uninterested in everything.

We got her to stand up and realized she was not putting her right foot down at all. We tried walking her; she couldn't walk. So we ran her to the emergency vet (since it was a Sunday). My boyfriend had to carry her because she couldn't walk.

The day before she was her normal goofy self. Playing ball at the dog park, and even rough housing with a new Great Dane puppy. She came home and was fine that night. It all happened between when we went to bed and when we woke up.

At the emergency vet, her fever was 104.7. She was a very sick dog. They kept her all day on Sunday until her fever went down. He said her paw looked to be injured but that it likely caused an infection (she had elevated red blood cells). He sent her home with an antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory medicine for the injured paw. Original bill was $900 which I didn't have. I burst into tears because she is my baby and the wonderful vet lowered it to $600.

Sunday night my boyfriend and I slept in the living room because she couldn't move and I didn't want her being too far from me. He slept on the floor and neither of us got much sleep.

I took Monday off and luckily I did because her paw did not stop gushing blood. I had never seen so much blood just gushing without stopping. Obviously, I couldn't let it continue so I took her to my regular vet. She thought it was foxtail that had weaved it's way into the paw, we scheduled Annabelle for surgery the next day and all should have been well.

This was how swollen her paw was before the bleeding even started. It has only gotten worse from here.

However, things turned ugly the next day. When they opened the bandage up, they found that the whole on her paw had grown to twice the original size and her flesh was rotting around it. The vet called and said she felt it was either a brown recluse bite or flesh-eating bacteria (such as MRSA).

I took her in for a second opinion with the emergency vet who saw her on Sunday and he said her tissue was liquefying. It was one of the worst cases he'd seen in a very long time. He was leaning more toward flesh-eating bacteria, but said a brown recluse bite could still be possible. He did say that with aggressive veterinary treatment, she would survive. She might lose part of her foot, but that she would be fine if we did everything the vet is asking of us.

Sadly, we still don't know what we are dealing with.

We just know that her skin and tissue is rotting at an alarming rate. She went from playing catch with us on Saturday to us looking at her dying within the week if we couldn't get this under control.

Today is Wednesday and from the massive amounts of a variety of antibiotics, she's doing better. The wound hadn't grown any larger for the first time since this whole ordeal. It's not reversed yet, no healing is present, but the fact that it stopped spreading the way it had is a good sign.

Her clotting tests came back normal showing that her body is healing the wound.

Everything is pointing to good signs if we keep up treatment.

The issue is cost. I have spent $2,000 since Sunday. That's over half my monthly salary. I pulled money from my IRA to pay for services and I am running low over there.

Today alone was $870. Tomorrow? Another $300. And until she shows healing, it could be $300 a day to hospitalize her. Then it will be regular vet visits with special bandage changes ($55 a day - I am hoping to negotiate or learn how to do this myself at home). Once she starts healing, she will need surgery to remove to dead tissue and to either stitch/graft or amputate as needed depending on the damage that is done. This could add up to a couple thousand more depending on the course of treatment.

She requires all of this to survive. Right now, it's looking more and more like a flesh-eating bacteria. A super bacteria of sorts that got into her injured paw and is killing the tissue. It's crazy how she can go from being fine on Saturday to having her foot rotting away on Tuesday. It's mind-blowing and terrifying.

How she is today (Wednesday)

For a dog with flesh-eating bacteria on her foot, she's almost back to normal personality wise. The antibiotics seem to be working on the internal infection, it's just the wound that needs to heal up. While at the vet this morning, she climbed up in the chair next to me like normal. When I came to pick her up this afternoon, she pulled the vet tech down the hall to get to me. She's now putting a little weight on the paw which means the pain is subsiding. She's happy to greet my roommate once again, and she even begged for food last night (which I spoiled her with two hot dogs because she's been through a lot).

She's on the mend, the treatments may be working. Though without knowing what the bacteria is immune to, it's going to mean a lot of trial and error to get this under control for good.

My Situation

I won't go into my sob story great length since this is about Annabelle. But I left a really bad relationship about 2 years ago, moved out to California for a job opportunity to be in my field... and Dang, it's expensive out here. Rent takes up half my monthly salary and I wish I was exaggerating. It's tough. I have barely been able to save up anything and I live very frugally to make ends meet. My pets always come before me, their needs get met before mine and I make sure they eat better than I do. They are my world.

I had to get Annabelle spayed last August, and because she is a Dane, I also had her stomach tacked to help prevent bloat (You can Google it. It's a Great Dane issue). I used Care Credit to fund that. She had sickness associated with the surgery which required a lot of vet visits, and Care Credit came into play again. Then my cat got sick a few times... and my Care Credit is maxed out. They can possibly raise my limit, but I will know in 7-10 days.

I don't have 7-10 days. I am running out of money and the vets I have found don't take payment plans because they push you to Care Credit. They require money up front, which I don't have anymore of. I've dug into my IRA and will deal with penalties later. The $1000 I pulled out yesterday is already gone to the vet, I am broke once more.

My family is poor, I can't get it from them. My savings are burnt up from this. I really don't know where else to go. I am so ashamed to be asking for help, and hope no one thinks poorly of me for it.

Help Needed

I hate asking for any help, but this girl is my baby. Anyone who knows me knows that this dog is my world. I talk about her nonstop, I take her everywhere I go. I make sure she has the best possible life I can give her, and I go without in order to give it to her.

I have had a rough few years and she's been able to bring me so much joy. I seriously can't imagine life without my giant beast of a dog. She's a cuddle buddy who loves nothing more than being loved on by a human. She doesn't have a mean bone in her body and adores everyone she meets.

(This is a photo from a month or so ago. She's snuggling in bed with Kevin on a Sunday like we do every Sunday until this last one shook us all up.)

If you know of any charities that would donate to the vet on behalf of Annabelle to get her the services we need, please let me know. I am researching it a bit, and doing my best to find help that I can get right away. This all happened so fast and needs to be treated fast. If you know of a vet in the Orange County, CA area that would take payments or help me out, that would work great too. I just need it quick.

Knowing I can save her if I just had the money... I have to at least try. I have to at least ask.

Don't feel any obligation whatsoever, especially if you have helped me in the past with anything whatsoever. I don't want to be greedy or pushy. Several people have asked to help me with the vet bills and I am passing this along because I can't deny that I need help. If you can't help financially, but want to help out somehow, then feel free to pass this along. Pass it along anywhere you can think of, I don't mind.

Anything. Any little bit will help here. Even your thoughts and prayers mean the world to me since I believe in the power of positive energy. So keep those coming as well. Or just pass it on even. Maybe someone out there can help me in a way I never would have thought of on my own. You just never know.

Thanks everyone. I will try to make sure everyone gets at least a personalized "thank you" card if I get your address (so please consider leaving that. I may include a photo of Annabelle once she's healthy once more). I am more than willing to repay the favor in any way I possibly can. Never hesitate to ask.

For more about Annabelle, here's a video and a public post I wrote up about her. You can see that she really is a terrific dog and I love her so much.


If the link doesn't work, my paypal e-mail address is kristenrericha@gmail.com. Apparently people are having issues there. I apologize for that :/



( 173 comments — Leave a comment )
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May. 24th, 2012 03:46 am (UTC)
*hugs* I hope she is getting better! I'd help financially now if I could, but I am completely broke until I get my next check at the beginning of the month :( I'll send something along when I get paid though!
May. 24th, 2012 03:48 am (UTC)
Seriously no worries. I don't want anyone to feel bad if they can't. I know I couldn't help if the roles were reversed and I get that. Even just good thoughts can go a long way right now! Thank you!
(no subject) - rainflowermoon - May. 24th, 2012 08:21 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
May. 24th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)
Oh that's asking way too much from one person. You've done so much already and I know you are looking for work. You don't have to go to that much trouble. Thank you for everything you have done already <3
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 24th, 2012 04:52 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 03:57 am (UTC)
I just reposted this. I also sent you some money via paypal - hopefully, i'll be able to send more soon.

I am thinking of you and Annabelle.
May. 24th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. Don't worry if you can't. I don;t want anyone to burden themselves. It means a lot that you reposted this even and helped out at all. Thank you so so much.
(no subject) - wolfden - May. 24th, 2012 04:05 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wolfden - May. 24th, 2012 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 26th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 04:02 am (UTC)
Ugh. Sorry. Forgot to log in. That anonymous comment was from me. ;-)
May. 24th, 2012 04:04 am (UTC)
Ahhh okay :)

I am in Costa Mesa, CA. I need to add that to my post above. Thanks so much for the referral... your comment isn't showing up here.... Did you delete it? I got it in an e-mail and was going to click on the link.

Thanks for the suggestion!
(no subject) - purdypiedad - May. 24th, 2012 04:06 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 04:03 am (UTC)
I hope that you are able to find the help you need. I would help myself but money is just going everywhere these days. I do know how important animals are though. - Sissy
May. 26th, 2012 06:19 am (UTC)
I completely understand that money is tight for everyone these days. I was able to raise a lot, so things are looking good for Annabelle. Thanks so much for your comment!
(no subject) - avalon_orchid - May. 26th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 04:14 am (UTC)
I'm proud of you for posting this. I'll pass along where I can.
Got your email - I will meet you at the vet tomorrow at 12:30 and will pay whatever for tomorrow's bills.
And then I'm writing you that floater loan check I mentioned.
May. 26th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
I will have to take you out and thank you in person when you get back! We will get together soon.

Thank you again for everything. I really appreciate it so much.
May. 26th, 2012 06:20 am (UTC)
THANK YOU! I am still trying to sort through everything, but all this will come in VERY handy!
May. 24th, 2012 04:37 am (UTC)
A recluse bite would still be progressing.
ive seen pictures of what recluse venom does.
the antibiotics are working and thats good
I hope you get all the help you need.
I'm keeping this short cause I have to use my dayly asthma meds for a while andnam tremors bad.
May. 24th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
A friend of mine nearly lost her arm because of a brown recluse. Those things are vicious.
(no subject) - locknkey - May. 24th, 2012 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - ashgaelsonaria - May. 24th, 2012 06:46 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 26th, 2012 06:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
May. 24th, 2012 04:48 am (UTC)
I completely understand. You have A LOT on your plate right now!

You can respost it wherever. I posted it to my own FB as much as I hated to having to do that (I hate asking for help), so I certainly don't mind others posting it. Any time I feel bad about asking for help, I look at Annabelle and she wags her tail at me... I will do whatever it takes.

Thank you for reposting and all the comments, I haven't had time to respond.
May. 24th, 2012 04:57 am (UTC)
<3 Hang in there :) I reposted and donated a bit.
May. 26th, 2012 06:22 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for donating and reposting! It means a lot <3
May. 24th, 2012 04:59 am (UTC)
Sent you a little something via paypal. I think it is great when people swallow their fears (which are so unfounded, aren't they?!) and ask for help like this! I do a lot of charity stuff with rescue animals -- in addition to having plenty of pets of our own and having to put down our own loving big monster beast of a giant german shepherd last year at this time -- so I feel for you.
May. 26th, 2012 06:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for helping. It's terrifying to post something like this, and yes it's likely unfounded... I just hate feeling like I'm burdening people. Thankfully everything looks to be fine and like we can do this. So thank you so much for your help.
May. 24th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC)
I am personally not really a dog person but can't imagine turning the other cheek. I have six cats and a dog so I know how easy it is to completely fall in love with a pet and to know you're loved (and trusted) back. Annabelle is really adorable. I hope you're able to get everything under control.
May. 26th, 2012 06:23 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for everything. I wasn't a dog person until a few years ago and I fell in love. She's an amazing dog.
May. 24th, 2012 05:18 am (UTC)
Hi there. You don't know me. I read about what you are going through via milk_and_glass. I'm in the same boat you are when it comes to medical stuff ... but the medical stuff is for me unfortunately. I know what it's like.

However, I was just paid today for some Buffy memorabilia that I was able to (begrudgingly) sell on Ebay. I have sent you what I could and I would do anything if I could send you more. I'm sorry it is so little.

I shared this on my livejournal and my facebook (facebook.com/burningeden). I will also hop around all the Great Dane sites I can find in the next few days and appeal to them. You and your lovely Annabelle are in my thoughts and prayers.

I hope I am able to help you find more donations. I will certainly donate my time and spread the word. Good luck and lots of hugs.
May. 24th, 2012 05:30 am (UTC)
Sorry ... I forgot to suggest a couple of things...
The media in your area would likely jump all over "flesh eating bacteria" or "brown recluse bite" so please don't hesitate to contact them with the story. I'm from Georgia and we've had two people all over the news who are suffering with a flesh eating bacteria. I am betting a vet in your area would step up for the publicity and treat Annabelle for free or at cost.

Also reach out to any universities in your area that teach veterinarian medicine. Even people who are training to be physicians will often help out with animals if they can "study" them as well. The University of Georgia saved my cockatoo and it cost me $5.00 for everything. They kept him for three weeks (heavy metal poisoning) and he came home as good as new. (although he had picked up on a few shady words, his favorite being "he shit on me again".)

Universities love those teachable moments.

Again, good luck.
(no subject) - katscanx - May. 24th, 2012 03:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 26th, 2012 06:25 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 05:41 am (UTC)
It looks like you're getting lots of good suggestions for organizations that can help - given the extent of the expenses, one of them is probably your best bet. CALL THEM ASAP! I'm not in a position to help financially right now- EK's temp job ends Friday - but if I can do anything else please let me know. I can make and receive phone calls in private during business hours, if that's helpful in any way.
May. 26th, 2012 06:31 am (UTC)
I understand that things are tight, and your suggestion means a lot. I've been running around like crazy so having someone to be able to call around could prove to be helpful. Right now, it looks like we are going to be okay... but if things take a turn for the worst (I'm praying they don't), I may take you up on the offer since I can't make calls during business hours.

Thank you so much!
May. 24th, 2012 05:46 am (UTC)
*hugs* I reposted. :)

(Also did the paypal from angel of stories come through okay? I borrowed my roommate's account (with her permission) but I've never used paypal, so I'm nervous that I might have done it wrong, even though it said it sent. It's only a little bit, but I still want to make sure it made its way safely to you. I labelled it "for Annabelle", IIRC?)

Edited at 2012-05-24 06:13 am (UTC)
May. 24th, 2012 01:46 pm (UTC)
It did! Thank you so much! I wasn't sure who that was from and mentioned in a post that I wasn't sure who it was to thank personally.

So now I know and thank you so very much <3
(no subject) - jem0000000 - May. 25th, 2012 06:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 26th, 2012 06:32 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jem0000000 - May. 26th, 2012 07:50 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 06:01 am (UTC)
Lots of great suggestions here, hon!

Sending good thoughts to you and Annabelle.

May. 26th, 2012 06:32 am (UTC)
Thank you. It looks like everything may be okay.
May. 24th, 2012 07:30 am (UTC)
Omg girl :( If I get some spare change I will definitely send it your way! I hope she gets better REAL REAL sooon!!!! ♥
May. 24th, 2012 01:48 pm (UTC)
No worries. You've helped so much in the past already, I'd hate for you to feel bad about not helping now. Thank you for what you've already done before <3
May. 24th, 2012 07:45 am (UTC)
Oh hi. I'm a friend of turnerwolf's, read your story, just got my vacation-money (it's a Dutch thing, never mind), donated $ 10,--, it's not much, but hope it helps... also, good vibes, thoughs & wishes.

Edited at 2012-05-24 07:51 am (UTC)
May. 26th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! Every little bit has really helped a lot actually. Annabelle is starting to heal, so hopefully things keep looking up :)
(no subject) - hibernia1 - May. 26th, 2012 07:58 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 07:55 am (UTC)
I reposted this on my journal. I will hopefully be able to send you a few dollars this evening - it won't be as much as I'd like to, but I know that even a little can help and as a dog owner myself, I want to do something, however small.
May. 26th, 2012 06:35 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I think we are going to be okay, every little bit from everyone has truly added up to a lot. I am still a scared pet mama, but I am floored by how generous everyone has been!
May. 24th, 2012 08:27 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I'm skint atm, but when I get some cash, I'll donate. I completely empathise (my cat had a growth in his mouth last year that we still don't know anything about, and it cost a fortune to cut it out.) and I hope she continues to improve. I've also boosted the signal on my twitter and have asked others to do the same. (Here via link from a link.)
May. 26th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I don't want to burden people who are also having a rough time financially, I know that times are tough. It looks like we just might be fine... A lot of people have spread the word and every little bit has added up.

Thanks again for boosting the signal!
(no subject) - misslj_author - May. 26th, 2012 07:04 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 10:04 am (UTC)
I haven't said much, but I have been thinking of you and Annabelle, and hoping for the best. I see that it looks like you've had a lot of suggestions so far, so hopefully it will all work out. <3
May. 26th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Thank you <3
May. 24th, 2012 11:03 am (UTC)
I came here through ashbet. I made a small donation, I'm sorry it's not more. I really hope your Annabelle comes around. <3

Lauren (Taralphiel)
May. 26th, 2012 06:37 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!!!! I can't express how thankful I am for everyone's help.
May. 24th, 2012 11:13 am (UTC)
I never do this, but I sent a little. I hope she keeps getting better because I know you are torn up right now. *hugs*
May. 26th, 2012 06:38 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for your help. I'm truly floored by how many people stepped up to help me out, I can't even express how thankful I am.
May. 24th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
I hope Annabelle will be ok! I wasn't sure if I could help this time because money is a little tighter, but I just got a small travel bonus for driving to company meetings, so I was able to use that. Good luck with the charity organizations! It's kind of annoying that vets don't let you do payment plans. I know you maxed out on that program, but not everyone can immediately pay hundreds of dollars in vet fees! You'd think they would have something to help pet owners...
May. 25th, 2012 05:03 am (UTC)
Instead of typing a long-winded comment that is off topic and inappropriate given the emotional nature of this post, I'll just refer you to read this: http://vetsbehavingbadly.blogspot.com/2012/02/how-can-vet-love-animals-yet-not-allow.html
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 25th, 2012 05:16 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - yaoiandpocky - May. 25th, 2012 05:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 25th, 2012 05:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pixiebelle - May. 26th, 2012 06:40 am (UTC) - Expand
May. 24th, 2012 12:41 pm (UTC)
$100 is on its way to you. I'm glad that I can help out and only wish it was more. Besides, my own dog Aeris would never forgive me if I didn't send something. :)

I hope Annabelle gets well quickly with all the loving thoughts headed her way!

May. 26th, 2012 06:42 am (UTC)
Wow, thank you so much! I can't even begin to express how thankful I am right now... But trust me, it seriously floored me that you were able to help as much as you did.

Thank you.

I am posting updates about her if you'd care to read them. She's improving slowly, the treatments seem to be working. It's just going to take some time.
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