Buddha’s Story: How A Community Came Together to Save a Loving Pet

The Day Buddha’s Life was Saved

Many people will remember the recent winter storm for the record snowfall, mind-boggling traffic, and bitter cold.

But Preston and the staff at OHS’ Community Veterinary Hospital will look back on this time as challenging race to save a dog’s life.

Buddha, an otherwise happy and healthy 2-year-old pitbull mix, had been vomiting, lethargic and lost his usually hardy appetite.

Preston brought him to our hospital just as the snowstorm was about to overwhelm Portland. An x-ray and exam pointed to a foreign body in his stomach –likely a toy or piece of clothing. Additional tests would be necessary to confirm this suspicion, and the surgery to fix it would be expensive.

This news hit Preston like an avalanche. He and Buddha shared a strong bond and Preston was deeply devoted to this dog, but the reality of not having the money for surgery meant he had some tough choices to make. He couldn’t stand the idea of his beloved dog suffering, so he contemplated surrendering his dog to OHS for adoption. The veterinary team at our hospital gave Buddha some medication to help with vomiting and discomfort while Preston weighed his options. Even with a subsidy to greatly reduce the cost, the surgery would still be more than $1,000.

Preston had a strong network of friends who wanted to help so a Go Fund me was set up. In less than 24 hours the funds for the lifesaving surgery were secured.

But then, Buddha and Preston faced another obstacle.

The snowstorm caused the city to come to a standstill. Many roads were closed, and a four-wheel-drive vehicle would be necessary to travel safely. Preston and Buddha were stuck. But our hospital vet assistants Camille and Eleanor were ready to get creative. Camille was experienced driving in snow and ice, and her SUV could scale any mountain. They drove to Preston’s house to pick up Buddha to get him to the hospital.

Dr. Connie DeHann, a specialist who regularly volunteers her time to help OHS pets, braved the snowy roads to get to OHS to perform an ultrasound on Buddha to confirm exactly what was going on in his small intestine. The test confirmed that it was the end of a rope toy that was stuck.

Meanwhile, OHS Dr. Kandace Henry walked to the shelter in the deep snow. In addition to helping Dr. Vanessa Gross with Buddha’s surgery, there were dozens of shelter pets who needed regular vet care that day.

The surgery lasted less than an hour and before long, Buddha was back to his regular, happy self. After spending two nights recovering in the hospital, Preston and Buddha were reunited.

“This is a great example of why we built the Community Veterinary Hospital and demonstrates how our animal welfare community came together to save this dog,” says Dr. Kochis.

OHS Veterinary assistants Eleanor and Camille