Success Stories


January 4, 2011 was a special day. I brought our new family member, Anna, home from Animal Rescue League. She was approximately 8 years old and very friendly. I immediately took her to the vet to have her examined for any medical issues, as I was very concerned about how thin she was. 

Our veterinarian, Dr. Henry told me she had severe dental issues and it was important to go to a dental specialist because the teeth that were in need of being extracted were too close to her lower jaw bone. Dr. Henry wouldn’t extract them because there was a high risk of breaking Anna’s jaw.  She was referred to the PVSEC dental clinic where we met Dr. Krista Mendoza, DVM. After Anna had some x-rays taken of her mouth, Dr. Mendoza diagnosed her with severe mandible jawbone loss due to the deteriorating teeth. I attributed Anna’s low weight to this problem; it would be painful to eat.

We made a dental surgery appointment with Dr. Mendoza. I was concerned about the stress Anna would feel, being abandoned, since I had just adopted her from the shelter. I was allowed to stay with Anna until surgery time and immediately after she was in my arms. Anna did very well recovering and the amazing difference in her personality was apparent, as she was eating and acting like a puppy. I was so impressed by this change. She quickly gained weight and was up to 4#13 oz by the time we had a recheck visit.

I had bought a health insurance policy for Anna from the shelter because I had adopted a 12-year-old Chihuahua the year before and lost her to heart failure. I had incurred huge medical bills for her care so I decided to buy the shelters policy for Anna. Dr. Mendoza filled out all of the paper work for the insurance, but unfortunately the insurance did not cover dental procedures and considered bone loss as dental work. Dr. Mendoza was aware of all the medical bills that I had with the two dogs and called me a few months later and explained to me the Animal Care & Assistance Fund. She wanted to nominate Anna. I was very appreciative of this nomination and when I received reimbursement for half the cost of the surgery I was very relieved and happy. I will donate on a yearly basis to this assistance fund; it is a godsend. Thank you very much.

- Sandra


Austin is a nine-year old bichon frise. He is a "puppy mill dog" purchased from a pet store. Austin’s owner, Susan, fell in love with him and they bonded instantly. Susan has a disease that affects her hearing and Austin has become a second set of ears for her. For example, Austin informs her when water is boiling on the stove. Austin will guard any bugs he sees in the house by circling the bug until Susan gets rid of it. Austin was even featured on Animal Planet. Susan's daughter submitted the hilarious video clip of Austin chasing a dust mop that was featured on the program.

Austin is a very special dog who has endured many health problems in his short life. Just before his first birthday, Austin passed a bladder stone on his "puppy pad". As a result, Austin had to have emergency surgery to remove multiple bladder stones. A few months later, Austin had his first of many bouts of pancreatitis. In 2006, when Austin was 5 years old, he dislocated his knee, which required knee surgery.

One year later, Dr. Pardo performed back surgery for disk problems that were causing Austin to not be able to use his hind legs. Austin then had to have another surgery to remove new bladder stones.

In September 2010, Austin's owner discovered a growth behind his left tooth. Austin was diagnosed with a tumor. Susan did not think that Austin could endure another surgery and due her recent bankruptcy filing she could not afford the cost of the surgery. After Dr. Pardo assured her that it would not be a painful recovery for Austin and that the Oral Care Fund would cover one half of the medical bills, Susan decided not to put Austin to sleep and to go ahead with the surgery.

Today, Austin is doing extremely well. He has been without pain or illness for almost one year. Austin is truly a miracle dog.


In September 2008, our beloved pug puppy, Daisy, ingested rat poison which caused her to hemorrhage internally and very nearly die. The team at Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center saved her life. Without the ready supply of canine blood, they would not have been able to save her. We will be forever thankful to the wonderful staff and their caring and dedication for ensuring that we will enjoy many more year with Daisy - Nadine and Sean

Pepper and Shadow

On September 28, 2008, Deborah's two beloved pets, Pepper and Shadow, were maliciously fed meatballs laced with nails and glass. The dogs were rushed to PVSEC where x-rays confirmed these objects in the abdomen of both dogs. Pepper responded to medical treatment performed by Dr. Kenton Rexford; however, Shadow required life-saving surgery. The distraught owner could not afford the procedure... Animal Care and Assistance Fund was able to provide financial aid. Fortunately, both pets are fully recovered, and Deborah will be forever grateful that ACAF was able to help her through this terrible ordeal.