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Funds Preserve Link Between Injured Service Dog, Master

Robert Irvin, of Hoopeston, Ill., and his Seeing Eye dog Millie have been inseparable for nearly 6 years, but that bond was nearly severed after a hit-and-run accident in July.

Millie, a golden retriever, kept Irvin from harm’s way when a pickup truck sideswiped them as they walked along a street near their home one Saturday evening. But Millie was hit by the truck and taken to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Urbana for medical treatment.

[Dr. Cassandra Brown, Robert Irvin, and his Seeing Eye dog Millie]
Dr. Cassandra Brown was pleased with Millie’s progress as reported by owner Robert Irvin during a check up a week after Millie was released from the Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

A few days later, after Millie’s condition had stabilized, veterinary surgeons at the University of Illinois in Urbana spent 5 hours to perform a CT scan, extract seven fractured teeth, and repair jaw and skull fractures. Within a week, Millie was home with Irvin.

“I don’t think I’ll ever have another dog as special as Millie,” says Irvin.

Harriett’s Fund and LifeLink helped cover the medical expense of Millie’s surgery and stay in the intensive care unit, which was beyond Irvin’s means. The LifeLink program was created to assist in paying for veterinary care for the pets of the elderly, disabled, or others who are critically dependent on social service programs.

Dr. Cassandra Brown, a resident in small animal medicine at the Veterinary Teaching Hospital, oversaw Millie’s treatment. Dr. Sandra Manfra Marretta, veterinary surgeon and dentist, performed the operation to repair Millie’s jaw and skull fractures. Millie also suffered four broken ribs and cuts on her legs.

For more information about Harriett’s Fund and the LifeLink program, call the advancement office at 217/333-2762 or look on the Web at www.cvm.uiuc.edu/advancement/.

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