Dog News

Military Family Making Ends Meet to Help Their Dog

by Katherine

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Talita Springer, a mother of four – Ben, Abby, Sammy and Isaiah – lives in Alamogordo, NW, with her husband Larry, an active duty Air Force member, and their three-year-old Tibetan terrier named Gator. The dog is a special dog. Aside from being the family’s protector when dad is away on duty and the children’s best friend, the dog is also a certified emotional support dog for Isaiah. Gator is the family’s guardian angel, but this four-legged angel needs his own savior now. The pet is suffering from hip dysplasia and needs total hip replacement surgery, but the family can’t afford the pet’s medical cost.

Photo Credit: Talita Springer
Photo Credit: Talita Springer

Isaiah suffers from a disorder that causes him severe anxiety and panic attacks, and when the three-year-old boy needs someone to reassure him that every thing will be ok, Gator is there to help out his best friend.

“Gator received no formal training before coming into the home,” said Springer. “He simply saw a need and was there to fill it, but he is now certified as an emotional support dog. He is exactly what little Isaiah needs. Even in the grips of his panic, Isaiah can’t ignore Gator’s immense size, and taking his focus off the fear is exactly what the boy needs.”

Hip dysplasia is a common occurrence in large breed dog, usually seen in older dogs, therefore for Gator to suffer from this at such young age is very rare.

Photo Credit: Talita Springer
Photo Credit: Talita Springer

The lovable pet used to accompany Larry in his jogging sessions, until one day, Gator returned home and was unable to stand. After visiting a veterinarian, the military family learned their loved pet was born with the hip defect. Gator’s abnormal hip bone had worn away and if he doesn’t receive surgery he will be in danger of losing the joint entirely.

The Springers want to help their dog get better, but the surgery has an estimated cost of $5,900, and the military family cannot afford it.

“Being a family of six and moving across country with the Air Force, we are struggling financially as it is. As you know we can’t afford to loose Gator, and putting him down isn’t an option,” said Talita. We have looked at many options as far as affording his surgery costs, from Pet Credit, to Pet Funds and even a personal loan through our banking. We don’t qualify for pet funds service [and] we simply cannot afford another $300-400 monthly payment if we get either a personal loan or go through pet credit.”

The family has started to fundraise via GiveForward but so far they have not raise enough to cover the surgery’s cost.

Because Gator is so young, his vet believes they can wait up to a year before doing the surgery. The dog’s pain can be managed with pain and anti-flamatory medication, but sooner or later Gator will need surgery.

Surgery is Gator’s best and only option. The Springers are asking anyone with a love for animal companions to please help save Gator.

Visit GiveForward to learn how you can help save Gator.