Zeke's owners received financial support through the Les and Irene Dubé Good Samaritan Fund. Supplied photo.

A second chance for Zeke

Instead of celebrating his first birthday at home on July 2, 2020, Zeke was in Saskatoon receiving emergency care from veterinarians at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM).

By Katie Brickman-Young

Earlier that day, the young toy poodle escaped from owners Marie and Sheldon Aschenbrenner’s home and chased after a truck.

“I heard a yelp and I knew it was Zeke, but I didn’t want to think it was actually him,” recalls Sheldon. “A minute later, Marie came running into the house, carrying Zeke and said he got hit by a truck.”

The Aschenbrenners made the one hour drive from their community of Cudworth, Sask., to the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC), seeking emergency help for Zeke.

They met with small animal surgeon Dr. Kathleen Linn, who examined Zeke. She told the Aschenbrenners that their beloved dog’s vital signs were good, but he had a fractured pelvis that needed immediate surgery.

The couple weren’t prepared for the thousands of dollars required to pay for the puppy’s surgery.

“Zeke is our little baby,” says Marie. “We would do anything for him.”

Unfortunately, Zeke’s accident came at a difficult time for the Aschenbrenner family. Sheldon has been battling his own health problems and is waiting for a double lung transplant. With their savings supporting Sheldon’s care, the couple had no idea how they would afford Zeke’s surgery.

With the financial support from the WCVM’s Les and Irene Dubé Good Samaritan Fund, the Aschenbrenners were able to pay for Zeke’s surgery — giving the dog the chance to recover and live a long and healthy life. Established in 2011, the fund supports medical treatments at the WCVM’s veterinary teaching hospital for animals that are ownerless or owned by clients who cannot pay for care due to circumstances beyond their control.

“We are extremely grateful for the help. It would have torn our hearts out to have to put Zeke down because we couldn’t afford his surgery,” says Sheldon.

Zeke made a full recovery from his surgery and is back home with his owners, loving life and enjoying extra cuddles and lap time.

“I can’t say enough good things about the fund. We are totally overwhelmed,” says Sheldon. “I’d love to thank everyone — each and every person who donated, it’s very much appreciated. He is a beautiful little dog, and we’re very happy.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCVM has seen a 100 per cent increase in applications for financial support from its fund. You can support health care services for animals like Zeke with a gift to the Les and Irene Dubé Good Samaritan Fund.