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Helping pets with major injuries

April E. Clark
Vail, CO Colorado

ASALT ” Simba the house cat was a red tabby with a soft, long mane.

He was a gentleman of a cat who liked to sun himself in the window and visit with neighbors.

When he died at almost 20 years of age in 2005, his owner, Julee Roth, was beside herself with grief. Before his death, Roth was prepared to give Simba the best veterinary care money could buy.



A successful business owner of a pet product company, she was fortunate that way. But after 45 minutes of CPR from Simba’s vet, Melissa McPherron, Simba died on the examination table. In his memory, The Simba Fund was born.

Walley the dog has three legs. And, some might speculate, he has nine lives ” much like a cat.



Last summer, Walley relocated to the Roaring Fork Valley from Sidell, Ill., after a tornado hit his family’s home. Not long after the move, his 2-year-old “sister,” a rottweiler named Little Bit, succumbed to heartworms.

Two weeks later, a car hit the friendly Pomeranian-shih tzu mix and he was rushed to Mountain Veterinary Surgical Associates in Basalt, but his prognosis was not promising.

Both Walley’s hips were broken, and one leg was fractured in four places, with nerve damage. Walley’s other leg was crushed ” and could not be saved.



“He was hit pretty hard,” said his owner, Roberta Stanback.

McPherron, Walley’s vet, knew Walley could be saved. Walley underwent surgery to amputate one leg and fix his pelvic fractures. Donations from The Simba Fund ” which helps care for stray animals or pets of owners with extenuating circumstances or limited resources ” made it all happen.

Today, Walley is full of energy, even on three legs. He’s even befriended a neighborhood cat who he plays with on walks.

When McPherron talks about The Simba Fund, a dog nicknamed Rafter comes to mind.

A bus hit and dragged the 11-month-old Labrador. The collision caused multiple fractures in Rafter’s front leg and deep lacerations on his body. A fireman followed a trail of blood in the snow and found Rafter trying to make his way home.

Rafter’s injuries were so severe, and his medical expenses so costly, his owner was unable to help. McPherron took custody of the dog and operated.

Like Walley, Rafter had to have a leg amputated. The Simba Fund, along with McPherron’s donated services, helped Rafter stay alive. He spent nearly two weeks recovering at the animal hospital before a couple adopted him.

And, much like Walley, he makes it around fine on three legs, playing with the other dog in his new family.

“We’ve been able to help a lot of animals,” McPherron said. “Typically the smaller care, people can handle. The Simba Fund ends up helping pets that are badly injured or need intensive kinds of care.”


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