When Coconut was two months old, she wriggled out of Larry Giblin’s arms and fell onto the uneven concrete below, landing with all her weight on her front right paw. The rambunctious little sheltie writhed in pain and the Giblin family knew something was seriously wrong. They rushed Coconut to a 24-hour emergency clinic.
“It was a very long night,” sighs Louise, Larry’s wife.
The veterinarian prescribed some pain meds for Coconut, but told the Giblins that their puppy’s injury was complicated and they’d need to see a specialist.
“I thought we could just throw a cast on it,” recalls Larry. “When I broke my arm they just put a cast on it. But they said she’d need surgery and plates and screws.”
Then came the more devastating news at the orthopedic vet’s office the next day. Fixing Coconut’s leg would cost nearly $5,000. The Giblins, who have two young daughters and live on a modest income, couldn’t afford it.
“The only other option was to try to leave it to heal naturally,” adds Louise. “But it would probably keep breaking. We couldn’t put her to sleep. She’s our baby.”
Louise remembers sobbing as she sat in the waiting room. “‘Let’s look at options,’” Coconut’s doctor consoled her. He told the Giblins about FACE Foundation, a public charity that provides lifesaving veterinary care to families in need.
Founded in 2006, the nonprofit doesn’t help with routine pet care such as vaccinations or dental work. But emergency and surgical procedures can quickly surpass what many people can afford, and that’s where FACE steps in, providing assistance on the condition that the veterinarian reduces the overall cost by 25 percent. The Giblins were able to contribute around $600 that they’d socked away in their savings account. FACE covered the rest.
“They worked really quickly,” says Louise. “FACE approved us for benefiting from their charity and Coconut was in surgery the next day.”
That was just over a year ago. Today, Coconut zips around the Giblins’ Carlsbad home, leaping off the couch, playing tug-of-war with five-year-old Elyse and nine-year-old Morgen. The girls squeal with delight as their sweet-natured sheltie shakes a piece of rope in her mouth and growls playfully. “As you can see, she’s like the bionic dog,” laughs Louise. “She jumps and she’s crazy. She’s energetic and she runs. It’s like she never got hurt.
“FACE was amazing. You know that there are people out there to help you if something happens to your children, or if you’re suddenly unemployed. But you don’t ever think about what you’ll do if something happens to your pets. Pets are part of your family.” ANNAMARIA STEPHENS
The FACE Foundation was formed in July 2006. Programs are funded from over 98% of donations with the remaining less than 2% going to administrative costs. FACE Foundation provides funds to needy families whose pets are in need of life saving emergency or critical veterinary care. The organization’s biggest challenge is being recognized as a new not-for-profit public charity and the ability to raise funds to continue its mission.