Thursday, September 20, 2018

Christena O’Brien

Public's generosity helps more than one animal in need

  • dr-Tootsie-2a-021518-4

    Tootsie, a dog in the care of the Eau Claire County Humane Association, needed surgery. Thanks to the generosity of many donors, Tootsie received the necessary medical care and is recovering in a foster home. She will be available for adoption in the near future.

    Staff photo by Dan Reiland
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Hoping to help a homeless dog, staff at the Eau Claire County Humane Association took to social media last month to raise funds for necessary surgeries.

Tootsie, a mixed-breed estimated to be about 4 years old, arrived at the ECCHA on Feb. 5 as a stray. She was found in the Eau Claire County town of Union.

The lovable mutt had a severe case of mastitis, a bacterial infection in the mammary glands in her breasts that caused painful swelling, multiple ruptures and open wounds.

Her condition required at least two surgeries, estimated to cost about $1,500. But, the shelter didn’t have the funds, so shelter staff made an online plea, hoping donors would find it in their hearts to help.

Always a sucker for a good animal story, I wrote an article about Tootsie and the effort to help her.

In the weeks since the plea and my article, more than $9,000 has been donated to the Jay Mettler Emergency Medical Fund, established to fund emergency medical procedures, whether for acute illnesses or to treat traumatic injuries for shelter residents.

“It’s overwhelming,” said Liz Berg, the ECCHA’s kennel supervisor and foster coordinator. “I can’t believe people have been so generous.”

Thanks to that generosity, Tootsie has received the medical care she needed.

Plus, funds were available to pay for necessary surgeries for two other animals — Hook, the cat, and Valentine, the dog. Because of injuries, both needed a leg amputated.

Like Tootsie, Hook, described by Berg as “just the nicest cat ever,” and Valentine, “she is totally sweet too,” are recovering in foster homes.

Hook and Tootsie will be available for adoption soon, Berg said.

“They are going to make some people very happy,” Berg said. “It’s so great we’re able to give them a chance at healthy, happy lives.”

There are still funds available to help several more animals in the future.

Contact: 715-830-5838,, @CTOBrien on Twitter

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