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Making a Difference: Frankie's Friends helps pay for puppy's life-saving surgery

7:07 PM, Dec 4, 2012   |    comments
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Riverview, Florida -- Cheryl Hess loves her puppy Jade and she's looking forward to years with the Yorkie. 

"When I got her, I didn't want to let her go," says Hess, hugging the tiny dog to her chest. "She's a very sweet little girl."

But just a few weeks ago, Jade's future was none too certain. She'd been diagnosed with a serious heart defect and she might live just a year. 

"They end up going into severe heart failure," Veterinarian Nicole Salas of Tampa's BluePearl clinic explains.

But Salas did offer hope. Life-saving surgery was possible, but Hess didn't have the money. 

"I was just really freaking out," said Hess about the situation.

And that's where the group Frankie's Friends comes in. The charity raises money to help pay for medical care for beloved pets. 

"Good care sometimes costs more money than families have to provide and it's the right thing to do to help families that are in need," says Bonita Voiland of Frankie's Friends.

So with a grant from Frankie's Friends and discounts from both Salas and BluePearl, the once out-of-reach surgery became reality.

Photo Gallery: Frankie's Friends helps save pup's life

That day in the waiting room, Hess and her great niece Aaliyah were a bit nervous. After all, the operation is a tricky one, especially on such a small dog. But surgeon Salas had a steady hand, and even though you could see the dog's heart beating during the operation, everything went smoothly.

"Jade is doing fantastic," said Salas about the puppy's recovery. "The day after surgery she was bouncing around like nothing had happened."

So for Hess, Aaliyah and of course Jade, this will now truly be a happy holiday. 

"She's doing great," says Hess, accepting some kisses on the face from Jade. "She's running around and playing just like normal."

For more information on how you can help Frankie's Friends click here.

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