The "HEART" Team Story

Hi, my name is Kim. My husband, Matt, and I have had many dogs over the last 33 years, mostly Great Danes.

The breed comes with its own unique health risks but recently we had series of issues with 2 of them that kept us in multiple vet clinics as well as hospitals for over 6 years.

Here is their story: Luciano was a very precocious pup, he grew very tall very fast. At 2 years we had him neutered, per our vet’s recommendation. At the same time, we had his stomach tacked as a precaution against gastric torsion. GT is very dangerous and can kill an animal quite quickly.

Shortly after his surgery he began having multiple cases of aspirated pneumonia, he was in and out of the emergency vet hospital multiple times. We finally requested an internal specialist for him. She was wonderful and we tried everything we could to find a resolution to his GI issues that were creating reflux and ultimately pneumonia. One year from the first onset of pneumonia we resorted to reversing the original tack surgery.

He recovered well but we were always on high alert with his health. About a year later he started to develop fevers of unknown origin, so we were back to the specialist, and back to the drawing board. This poor guy was on so much medicine to help him and we were administering subcutaneous liquids almost daily to keep his fever down. Lots of diagnostics, lots of medications, for well over a year he was on 2-3 different antibiotics. Finally, he showed us something else, he was having a hard time walking. We took him immediately to a neurologist to get an MRI and he was diagnosed with Discospondylitis, an infection in his spinal column.

Now on 2 different antibiotics for well over a years’ time combined with pain medicine he was doing much better and enjoying his life. He went back for an MRI checkup a year later and somehow his back was injured in the process. Luciano never walked again without assistance from his mom, dad or his wonderful angel of a vet tech, Joanna. He deteriorated to where he could no longer urinate, forcing us to catheterize him twice daily. He eventually succumbed to his 13th case of aspirated pneumonia. He was only 6 and a half years old.

We are very grateful for the care he was given by Dr Baily and in the end Dr Brown. Most would have given up on him, but they never did. He was a fighter the entire way.

Luciano’s sister, Bindi, had a briefer, significant health issue. We rescued Bindi at 18 months old. She was feared by more than a few, but of course, she was our little angel. In April of 2021 she started limping. She had previously had ACL surgery, so we thought it was the other ACL. After 2 months of diagnostics, they found an osteosarcoma, bone cancer in her leg. Options were few. We decided to amputate the leg and allow her to live out her life in less pain. After the surgery she developed an infection that required significant antibiotics and care. Dr Brown, his staff, and Joanna did their magic and Bindi was off and running within weeks. Sadly, the cancer had already spread, and we lost our precious angel within 3 months of her surgery.

We loved these dogs a tremendous amount. Their loss left an enormous hole in our lives. We spent hours, days, weeks, months and years in vet clinics and hospitals. We became acutely aware of the need for a foundation to assist people who do not have the financial resources to provide health care for their 4-legged children. There is a significant number of families who need our support to provide veterinary care for their pets. We are beyond grateful for the vets, vet techs, business owners, family and friends that helped make this fund possible.

We came together as a team, volunteering our time and experience for one goal:

To help every animal receive the treatment that they need to be healthy and happy, thereby giving the ones that love them joy that can be spread throughout our communities.

The end is yet to be written but together we can reduce the suffering of animals and the ones they love.