On December 18, 2008 I was laid off of my job. I filed for unemployment that same day. I hadn't heard anything from them until the week of 01-05-2009. The following week after being laid off, my little boy (Cocoa) became sick. He wasn't eating, and couldn't get up on his rear legs. He isolated himself to my bathroom, and had a distant look in his eyes. I knew something was wrong and I started to panic because he was my life, my child and I had no money. I begged everyone I knew for help, but none could come through.
It was the 29Th of December, and I had only my rent money that was for January, due in a couple of days. He still wasn't eating and was vomiting bile at this point. I called and called every place I could asking and begging for help. I contacted the Banfield Animal Hospital in Grove City, Ohio and explained to them my situation. I explained to them that I was afraid my baby was dying and that I had no money. I broke down and took him to Banfield Animal Hospital in Grove City, Ohio because they said his first visit would be free and that they would speak to the doctor and asked me to also speak with the doctor when I came in. I took him in as soon as they opened (9:00 AM), and explained to the doctor and nurse about my financial situation, and told them I had no money. They looked at Cocoa, only to tell me that he was sick and was dehydrated, they said they could help and gave me a total price of 350.00, which was what I had exactly for rent. My rent is only 400.00 per month. They said they would need a deposit of at least 100.00 to start on him. I told them I would need to run to the bank and that I would be right back with it, and begged them to start on him. I left, went to the bank and came back, about an hours time. Once back, I asked if he was doing OK, and they told me they have not done anything, and that they were waiting on the 100.00. I told them to do what needed to be done to save him, because he was all I had. I even offered to sign the title over to my vehicle.
After I left, and about 1 hour later, they called and said he had diabetes, and pancreitis, and was in a state of keyacidosis. They said they had a good prognosis on his recovery, but I needed to bring in another 299.00 so they could start treatment. I explained to the nurse that the 350.00 I was going to give them was all I had left and that it was my rent. She told me that they couldn't do anything without money other than have him on a IV for the rest of the day. After hanging up, I called back and spoke to the doctor taking care of him, and asked if he was in a lot of pain and if it would be better if I would put him down. She told me that in her professional opinion, that she thought he would be OK if I could come up with the money they wanted, but the prognosis wasn't that good if I couldn't. She wrote me out a prescription for insulin, and special diabetic dog food, and told me to get him Pepcid AC, and that would help, and he should be OK. I again explained to her that I couldn't even buy what she had wrote out because they took all the money I had. Nothing else was said, other than that was all she could do.
When I picked Cocoa back up that evening and as soon as I got him home, he then couldn't walk on his back nor his front legs. I had to carry him outside and hold him up, just to use the bathroom. The next day, I went on the streets and begged for money to get his medicine. I was willing to do this for him, because he meant that much to me. I tried to give him a little bit of insulin, but it wasn't helping. I posted an ad on craigslist begging for someone to help him. I didn't know what to do. I called every place I could as far as Vet, rescue and shelters asking for help...everyone wanted money. That day, the nurse from Banfield called to see how Cocoa was doing. I told her that he couldn't walk and now he wasn't drinking. She said I could bring him back in, and they would look at him. I explained to her once again that I didn't have any money, but if they could look at him I would give them my vehicle. She told me she was sorry, and that there was nothing they could do, without money.
Three days latter, I was up all night watching Cocoa, restless, and vomiting what appeared to be dark blood. He just kept looking and starring at me. I made the decision that hurt me more than anything in this world. I cried and screamed and begged God for mercy. My heart was ripped from my chest and stomped and stomped on, and then ripped some more. I felt so lost.
I called OSU Vet Hospital at 5:00AM, and they said they would put him down at no cost to me, and that they would right it off. I called my brother, and went in with my boy. I can't even finish this, because it still hurts so much, and I'm bawling like a child again... needless to say, from the video, he dies.
I have sent e-mails after e-mail to the corporate Banfield with no response, other than a Internet coupon for 15.00 off my next visit, with no message attached... this hurt me even worse. I even told them on my last e-mail that they were to late responding, that he died. I sent prior e-mails begging them to intervene and help me.
I felt that Cocoa died in vain and it bothers me knowing that it was all about money. I understand that things in life aren't free, but when it comes down to a life or death situation... even for a beloved pet, that money could be set aside... I was willing to give them my vehicle which is worth a lot more than they were asking, but they turned me down. I tried everything... I tried posting items for sale to gain the money, which none sold, and even tried to get approved for the CareCredit, which I was denied also because of prior debt and bankruptcy. This was my baby... I would have given my life to save his. I was willing to become homeless and without means of transportation just to save him. I felt so alone and helpless. I'm not a bad guy and I've worked all my life, but like most, I lived pay to pay and didn't have extra to sustain me.
I vowed to Cocoa as he was dying in my arms and as I was screaming in pain...crying uncontrollably, that I would do something about him not getting the help he needed. It was all about money to everyone I spoke with. I wanted to start a cause to help raise money and bring awareness for those in need of medical care who were facing a life and death situation where the owner has fallen on hard times and can not afford to save the life of their pet, a part of their family.
I have since, teamed up with PetPromise www.petpromise.org here in Columbus, Ohio, and they have put up a donation called, Cocoa's Cause, to help people in a need, who otherwise would have their pets die, due to lack of medical care. Please help by adopting...or donating...even if it's just a dollar.
A dollar is not much and even as I am still unemployed I can find a dollar in change laying around. It would help no mater what it was, it would also be tax deductible.
I am asking on behalf of honoring my Cocoa that you would help. Please spread this letter to everyone and all you know. Help me stand in the gap for the ones who can't speak for themselves, and let's together help other animals in need. Please... let's do it for Cocoa!
Here is the tribute video I made on behalf of Cocoa: PLEASE WATCH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=igXt6nWjFkw&feature=channel_page
Please, if you can't adopt, or offer a foster home, please consider donating to the Cocoa's Cause, to help save animals needing care to save their life. Click here to donate to "Cocoa's Cause": http://www.donate.net/donationSelector/basket_add_item.asp?shopper_id=1301494&dept_id=474&sku=474017