Pennies for Apollo

Animal lovers have raised CI$2,450 in spare change to pay for medical care for a dog that was badly burned and abandoned.

Island Veterinary Services appealed to the Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts, known as CARE, and to the public for financial help to pay for Apollo’s expensive treatment.

The dog suffered second and third degree burns to about 40 percent of his body in a fire at a shed he was tied to on 9 May. Vets who treated the young male dog said it was the worst case of burns they had ever seen.

CARE’s Lesley Agostinelli said ‘The idea of collecting coins was formed as a way of raising funds that won’t really have a huge impact on people’s pockets.’

She and colleagues distributed a flyer via email to offices throughout Cayman.

‘The team work was amazing, pretty much one person from each office stepped up to be the coin collector and provided a pot for work colleagues to place their loose change into,’ she said.

A week later, volunteers collected the pots and it took four hours to count all the change.

‘When you think that with little effort so much can be raised in just over a week, it is pretty amazing,’ she said.

Apollo, whose owners did not come forward, has been adopted by a family.

He is still receiving care for the burns and his dressings need to be changed every other day. He is being monitored by the vet.

Areas of the dog’s body which lost hair must be covered in sunblock whenever he goes outdoors because the hair will not grown back, so sunburn will be ongoing problem for the dog.

In a letter of thanks to those who contributed money, CARE stated: ‘There has been a huge public outpouring of support for Apollo for which we thank you. If there are any funds left from this drive, they will be put in a separate account at Island Vets for other similar welfare cases. Unfortunately these do arise all too often.’

Ms Agostinelli said there were still collection pots in offices and she appealed for people to let her organisation know so they can be collected.

She added: ‘I believe the moral of this story is it takes a village, but if we all pull together with just a little bit of effort, we can get it done and save the lives of so many animals.’

The bill to treat Apollo for initial surgery and aftercare runs to about $7,000.

The plight of Apollo led to fundraising by schoolchildren and the Humane Society.

George Town Primary School annual dress down day donated funds raised of around $400 to the dog’s hospital bill, while class 6C at Cayman Prep School raised $300 in a bake sale. The Cayman Humane Society also donated $1,200 for the dog’s treatment.