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Dog needs help after surgery

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October 13, 2006

Albany - - An Americus woman with several serious health problems says her service dog helps keep her alive. But recently, the dog was hit by a car and had to go through extensive surgery. The owner is having problems footing the bill.

Phyllis Owen is re-united with her best buddy Sam. For five years, Sam has helped her battle severe arthritis and asthma.

"He was only 7 months old the first time he literally saved my life."

He woke her up after noticing something was wrong. When Owen awoke, she couldn't see. Owen was suffering from oxygen deprivation. Sam has come through in many situations like this.

"He will keep me from going into areas where there are odors that will trigger an asthma attack. He has stopped me in the nursing home because they were painting a room down that hall, he got in front of me and made me turn around and go the other way."

Last week, Sam experienced a tragedy. When he noticed Owen's daughter trying to cross the street, he ran to help her. The car hit him. Since then, Sam has been undergoing treatment with his veterinarian.

"It is a complicated surgery just because of the nature of the fractures and the location of the bone that it was fractured. It's an involved repair, it requires a plate that was put on there in order to allow it to heal and realign the bone correctly," says Dr. Charlie Deriso.

It's also an expensive surgery, totaling some $3,000.

"I have no financial reserves. My parents have nothing, my father is in a nursing home. My mother is constantly dealing with him. There just isn't the finances to take care of this," Owens says.

She's hoping someone will come through so she won't be without the special dog that keeps her going each day.

Sam suffered breaks to *both* of his front legs. He's wearing a cast now and it may be 6 months before he completely heals. If you'd like to help Phyllis Owen, you can contact her by email at guardmom5@mchsi.com or by phone at (229) 931-6404.

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