EVENT DATE: Mar 28, 2013
I met Chewie through a twist of fate on Sunday, February 24, turning what began as a late-night grocery errand into a moving event. While on a walk with his caregiver Debbie, Chewie, a small dog with a debilitating chronic throat condition, suddenly stopped breathing and collapsed unconscious after his trachea collapsed. A panicked yet quick-thinking Debbie immediately picked him up ran up to me outside a bodega-- between sobs, she managed to stammer that her dog wasn't breathing and she needed help.
We quickly laid him on the ground and I felt his chest-- he wasn't breathing. His eyes were still wide open, but he was stiff and seemed to not have a pulse. I began to perform gentle chest compressions, occasionally pausing for the woman (Debbie) to breathe oxygen into his mouth. After a few minutes of receiving CPR, Chewie suddenly began to breathe again. As he regained consciousness, he looked all around him, bewildered and confused, and then immediately began to lick Debbie's and my hands and arms (maybe his way of showing his gratitude!). Debbie's tear-streaked face lit up at the sight of Chewie's regained strength; relieved, she could finally take a breath as several more passersby joined us to give their moral support and lend a hand.
In all, half a dozen people were involved in helping Debbie and Chewie-- a beautiful reminder that New Yorkers, no matter how jaded, will stick together to help each other (even in after midnight on a freezing cold winter night!)
Though stabilized, Chewie continued to wheeze and struggle to breathe after he regained consciousness. We located a 24-hour vet clinic and helped Debbie get a cab to take Chewie and her for an evaluation. Chewie has a respiratory condition that causes his trachea to collapse. The surgery to insert a stint, which would keep his trachea open, comes with a $3,000 price tag.
Debbie lost her job 4 years ago and has struggled financially ever since. She has sold everything of value and has no savings or other means of acquiring the significant amount of money required for Chewie's surgery. I am sharing this painful information to demonstrate her need and explain my reason for starting this fundraiser. Any contribution you can make would make a massive difference to Debbie and me-- whether it is re-posting this story on your social media pages, passing it along to friends in the media, or making a donation-- your help will be felt. I have only known Debbie a few days but after seeing how much she cares for Chewie, it's impossible to not want to help her in every way I can.