Dogs are considered the most loyal companions a man could ever have, which is why they earned the well-deserved title of “man’s best friend”. More than just a pet, we treat these special creatures like family.
No one understands the value we give to canines more than this California man and dog owner, Jason Garrett. When his 12-year-old miniature Schnauzer named Lola was diagnosed with mitral valve disease, the man willingly sacrificed everything he had – his 401K, savings, and car – to afford her costly surgery.
“We had an episode in November where she came back from a walk and she fainted … She has an enlarged heart because she has a damaged mitral valve,” he told KGO-TV.
In simpler terms, Lola has pre-heart failure. The disease is common in dogs and affects the lungs and the heart. Her cardiologist gave her about eight to nine months to live.
To Jason, Lola isn’t just another dog – she is his “world”.
The pair has shared a long history together. Jason adopted Lola when she was just 8 weeks old, and she had been by his side through all her owner’s ups and downs. Jason has suffered from severe depression and bipolar disorder throughout his entire adult life, and he says that the pup is the reason why he continues to “survive and thrive” despite his condition.
Lola has literally saved his life a couple of times, which is why it isn’t hard to imagine why he would do anything to save her – even when it meant giving up everything he had.
Despite the devastating diagnosis, Jason remains hopeful. He recently learned about Dr. Masami Uechi, an animal cardiologist from Japan who has perfected an open heart surgery procedure for such cases. He wanted this doctor to perform the operation on Lola. But since it is specialized, Jason would have to shell out $45,000 to get it done.
Unfortunately, he didn’t have the income and money to afford it.
“I work for an affordable housing nonprofit providing social services to at-risk youth, low-income families and seniors. As you can imagine, no one goes into nonprofit to get rich so money is always tight for us,” he wrote.
The surgery has an 85-90% success rate and can only be performed in Japan, but starting this summer, Dr. Uechi will start doing mitral valve surgeries on a regular basis at the University of Florida Small Animal Hospital.
Fortunately, Lola’s case has been reviewed by the surgical team and she is scheduled for surgery this summer. Jason has cashed out his 401k and used up every penny of his savings just to afford it. He is even selling his 2018 Hyundai Elantra and is appealing to anyone who is interested or knows someone who is.
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Jason has set up a GoFundMe page to raise funds for Lola’s heart surgery.