Future painless for retired police dog
April 26, 2003
Donations from all over Western Nevada came pouring in Friday for a retired police dog needing surgery.
“I just got 35 donations in the mail,” said a breathless Kerrie Herman of Animal Medical Services as she thumbed through a stack of checks sent from Virginia City, Fallon, Fernley, Incline Village, Stagecoach, Dayton, Carson City, Gardnerville, Minden and Reno.
Checks ranged from $10 donated by an elderly Fernley man on a fixed income to $800 delivered to the clinic from Minden businessman William Barth, chief executive officer of the Skin Cancer Awareness Foundation. The Storey County Sheriff’s Department raised $200.
“It’s been wonderful the amount of response from the community. (Scout) deserves it,” Herman said.
Scout, a black Labrador, the first dog in the department’s K9 Program at the Carson City Sheriff’s Department in 1995, was suffering from a benign tumor that was painful and impairing her ability to use her right front leg.
Since her retirement in 2001, the tumor had doubled in size and needed to be removed, but the $800 cost of the surgery was more than former partner and owner Deputy Rebecca Zuniga-Brown could manage.
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When the community learned of Scout’s plight, they immediately jumped to her aid, said Herman.
“These people sent these checks the same day” the story was in the Nevada Appeal, she said. “I can’t imagine what we are going to receive tomorrow.”
By Friday afternoon, the checks totaled $2,500. At 3 p.m. Scout was at the clinic for blood work in preparation for the surgery expected to be performed next week.
“I think it’s outstanding that the community is this supportive,” said Zuniga-Brown. “Now when she needs medical care I don’t have to think, ‘Do I have money or not?'”
With the response being so overwhelming, Zuniga-Brown said, the tumor can be removed and arthritis in Scout’s hind legs can be treated as well.
“It just makes me wonder how many other K9s are out there and need help. It would be great to be able to start a program where retired K9s are taken care of,” she said. “If Scout should pass away and there are still funds in the account, they should go to care for another K9.”
Zuniga-Brown, a former U.S. Marine who admitted she wasn’t good at “mushy stuff,” said there weren’t words to express how grateful she was.
“Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” she said. “I love everything this community has done to pull together for her.”
YOU CAN HELP
Send donations to: Animal Medical Services,1355 Centerville Lane, Gardnerville, NV 89410. In the comments line put, “For Scout.”