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Veterinary Medicine

Pet lovers around the country reach out to CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital patient

November 19, 2012
by Rachel Griess

A corgi named Sydney visited the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital last month to undergo surgery to fix problems caused by her pacemaker.

After surgery, Sydney spent several days recovering in the Critical Care Unit, being treated for a postoperative complication of persistent chest fluid accumulation. She was eventually sent home with a chest tube in place so her owner, an ICU nurse for humans, could manage the fluid build-up.

Cards from all over the country

That’s when the cards started pouring in.

Soon after Sydney’s hospital dismissal, ‘get well soon’ cards flooded into the teaching hospital’s mailbox from around the nation.

“I went up to get the mail one day, and all these letters were addressed to this person that didn’t work for us, Sydney. Then it dawned on me: Sydney’s the dog in CCU!” Leslie Carter, CSU VTH Critical Care Services Supervisor explained. “It was amazing! In 30 years as a veterinary nurse, I’ve never seen this volume of outpouring for a patient.”

Because Sydney had been released earlier that day with her owner to continue her healing at home, Carter was unable to get the cards to her or her owner, Michele Kilbourne, before she left. Carter was so impressed with the extraordinary demonstration of care and concern that she asked to share the experience of opening the cards with Kilbourne and all the CCU nurses.

Skyping well wishes

She arranged a Skype session between Kilbourne, Sydney, and the entire CCU nursing staff. Kilbourne and Sydney listened as the nurses read each card of well-wishes aloud.

“Being able to acknowledge and celebrate the powerful bond between humans and animals as a group was very touching. In addition to the doctors, these CCU veterinary nurses pour their hearts and expertise out every day in caring for critically ill and injured animals,” Carter said. “While it’s a very rewarding job, some days are emotionally difficult. It was nice for the nurses to experience the impact and reach of their efforts.”

In total, 23 cards were delivered to the VTH from Corgi owners across the United States:

One card read, “Dear Sweet Sydney, We are sending ‘Corgi Love’ your way and keeping our paws crossed that you will be home ‘FRAPing’ (Frenetic Random Acts of Play) soon! Thanks to all of the staff in CCU (Critical Care Unit) for taking such great care of this sweet girl.  Love, Sassy and Link”

Cards came to the VTH from around the country for SydneyAnother: “Dear Sydney, Get well soon! We will be cooking BACON for you! Millie and the Kallista Kids”

A 'Corgi Nation'

Many of these cards came from members of Corgi Nation: an online social networking group centered on the Corgis and their owners. The website allows owners across the nation to share stories, photos, and build a support group during times of need.

But the Corgi love doesn’t stop there. A Facebook page was designed for Sydney: “Cards & Well Wishes for Sydney,” and CorgiPals, a non-profit organization, has offered a channel of fundraising to assist with the Kilbourne’s veterinary bills. The organization featured Sydney’s story on the homepage of the website, offering updates on her condition, comments from her owner, and urging Corgi owners across the nation to help a pup in need.

Currently, Sydney’s story has attracted $1,539 in donations with $8,149 in bills remaining, and an additional 35 cards have been delivered to Sydney’s home since the surgery. CorgiPals urges website visitors to continue donating with the thought, “Michele didn’t give up on Sydney. We can’t either!"

Contact: Emily Wilmsen
Phone: (970) 491-2336