An Indiana man has raised the money to save his dog’s life – and for a moment, it nearly cost him his car.
By Published on 27 Apr 2019
If you think it’s difficult for American humans to get medical treatment, you should try the dog’s life: a pit bull named Gemini faced a death sentence after swallowing a plastic bottle top. Vets told owner Randy Etter, an R&B singer, that surgery to remove the intestinal blockage would cost $4,500 (£3,500) – a figure that Etter had no way of meeting.
With Gemini puking, losing energy, and following Etter around the house as if pleading for help, the pair faced a race against time to raise the necessary cash.
Gemini was playing with Etter’s baby daughter when it happened. The baby would throw a plastic bottle and Gemini would fetch it back, as dogs have done across the centuries. But at some point, unnoticed by his human companions, Gemini managed to eat the cap off.
It was only when Gemini’s behaviour turned strange that Etter sensed something was up.
“He just started to slow down and I didn't think that was normal,” Etter told The Dodo, “just laying beside me and following me everywhere. I just felt like he was saying, ‘Help me.’”
It took a while for vets to work out what was wrong with the dog, and young Randolph lost his job in the time it took trying to find a medic who could identify the problem. When one vet finally cracked it and delivered the news about potential surgery costs, things looked just as bleak.
“I'm sitting here watching TV, and I'm literally thinking he was dying that night,” Etter told WXIN. “I knew I didn’t have the money for the surgery, but I knew in my mind that was what had to happen."
“I put my car up for sale for $1,000 less than what I was actually wanting to take for it.”
Put a sock in it
As word got around, a friend of Etter’s offered a $2,000 loan towards Gemini’s costs. Then the S.O.A.R Initiative (Street Outreach Animal Response) identified a viable surgeon and raised a further $3,000 through donations – with donors apparently inspired by Etter’s willingness to turn his own life upside down to save his best friend.
Finally, the surgery was able to take place. The surgeon successfully removed plastic pieces and an entire sock from the dog’s belly, and Gemini is now on the road to recovery.
Like matching socks reunited after one of them has been on a perilous adventure, Etter and Gemini are free to rekindle their friendship and produce underground R&B hits together.