Jason Garrett is has a miniature schnauzer named Lola. But she’s not just a dog to Garrett: She’s a close friend and a confidante, and he credits her with his being able to thrive.
The two live in Alameda, California, and have been together since Garrett got her as a pup. A therapy dog, Lola brings comfort to people — not least of all her owner.
“I suffer from severe depression and bipolar disorder,” Garrett said in a video. “The real reason I continue to survive and thrive with the disease is — you guessed it — Lola.”
“Lola has undoubtedly saved my life countless times, and as you can imagine, I would do absolutely anything to save her.”
How much would you pay ? to save your best friend’s life? This man’s paying $45,000 for his dog Lola’s revolutionary new heart ❤️ surgery. The procedure could save millions of dogs. @abc7newsbayarea pic.twitter.com/bgpi9NuORP
— Dion Lim (@DionLimTV) February 6, 2020
For 12 years the two have been inseparable, but last year they experienced a health scare that had Garrett scrambling to find a solution.
“We had an episode in November where she came back from a walk and she fainted,” he said, according to KGO-TV. “She has an enlarged heart because she has a damaged mitral valve.”
The condition is common, but the solution is not. Veterinarians initially gave Lola eight or nine months to live, but that prognosis was unacceptable to Garrett, who found that there was a Japanese surgeon who’d pioneered a surgery for just such cases.
“The downside is it’s about $45,000. I’ve already cashed out my 401K and using every penny of my savings, and I’m also looking into selling my car if need be,” Garrett explained.
“I work for an affordable housing nonprofit providing social services to at-risk youth, low-income families and seniors,” he added in his video and on his GoFundMe page. “As you can imagine, no one goes into nonprofit to get rich so money is always tight for us.”
“I’ve cashed out my 401K, using every penny of savings and I’m looking to sell my car,” he said. “So, if you know anyone looking, 2018 Hyundai Elantra! License but must keep the license plate: LOLANME.”
Garrett has already done what he can on his own to financially secure the surgery, but he reached out for help all the same. As of Tuesday, his GoFundMe page states that over $49,000 has been donated.
“Whatever you can give will help with the cost of this surgery,” he wrote.
According to KGO-TV, Masami Uechi, the Japanese veterinarian, will be training surgeons at the University of Florida to do the procedure and the surgery should become more available after that. Meanwhile, Lola has been accepted and is set to have the life-saving surgery sometime during the summer of 2020.
Garrett is convinced that a successful operation will give his girl another couple years of life.
“Anything for Lola,” he said. “She’s family.”
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