Shelter seeks funds for puppy’s life-saving surgery

Posted Aug. 27, 2010, at 3:23 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:07 p.m.
Photos courtesy of The Ark Animal Shelter
Photos courtesy of The Ark Animal Shelter

Between now and October, The Ark Animal Shelter manager Lorna Konyak hopes you will send donations to help cover the cost of heart surgery that saved the life of a 7-month-old Pomeranian named Frankie.

The tiny pup is “white and cream orange, with blue eyes,” Lorna told me, and he required a $3,500 surgical procedure to repair a faulty heart valve.

Obviously, that type of expense is not part of The Ark’s budget, which is why you are being asked to “Have a Heart for Frankie” and make a contribution to the Frankie Fund at any local branch of Union Trust, which is a division of Camden National Bank.

Or, you can send your tax-deductible donation to The Ark Animal Shelter, P.O. Box 276, Cherryfield 04622.

When I spoke with Lorna earlier this month, she told me the surgery couldn’t wait because Frankie “needed it sooner than later. Without the surgery, his life expectancy would by just 1-1½ years.”

Lorna explained that Frankie had been purchased from a breeder and, when he was diagnosed with a heart murmur his family didn’t want to return him to the breeder but they couldn’t afford the surgery, so they brought him to this no-kill facility.

A less expensive but more invasive surgery could have been performed in Maine, Lorna said, “but Frankie would have to be cut open and have his ribs cut” to undergo that procedure, and she didn’t want this little pup to go through that.

Lorna chose to have Frankie’s surgery performed at a facility in Woburn, Mass., where a less-invasive catheter surgery was performed that increased his chances of surviving and recovering.

“He will have to have some follow-up work and, at that time, they will tell us if the follow-up is covered by the $3,500,” she added.

“He’s a happy little guy,” she said, and when he has gone through all necessary medical procedures (including being neutered) Frankie will be available for adoption.

Frankie presently is recuperating with a foster family in the area, staff member Julie Colson told me, and The Ark is accepting adoption applications for him.

And while prior publicity has produced some donations, the $3,500 goal remains to be met.

The Ark has been a nonprofit organization since 1984, and it depends on donations and purchases from its thrift shop for survival.

“Financially, all of our donations are private,” Lorna said. “We receive no money from the state or local towns, so it’s just like The Ark: We manage to stay afloat.”

The Ark currently is housing 80 cats and eight dogs (with Frankie in foster care) and its staff always is busy.

“If three cats go out the door,” Lorna said, “eight will come in.”

The fee for the adoption process is $100, and prospective adoptive families are asked to fill out an application.

Once that information is verified, the paperwork is complete and adoption approval granted, “then it’s a matter of people coming in and meeting with the pet and seeing how they get along,” Lorna explained.

That face-to-face part of the process is essential, she said, to ensure the pet and the people are compatible.

As Lorna explained, a dog that is not good with children should not go to a family with children, and we sometimes wrestle with that.

“It’s a bit discretionary, but that’s our judgement, and sometimes it just doesn’t work out. We don’t want to be playing with the mental state” of the animal or the people seeking to adopt.

Soon Frankie will be ready for a new, permanent family but, right now, money is needed to cover the costs of his life-saving surgery.

For more information, visit www.thearkpets.org and scroll down to Frankie’s Fund, or call The Ark Animal Shelter at 546-3484.>Joni Averill, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402; javerill@bangordailynews.com; 990-8288.

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