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Doggone lucky

In sports parlance, the terms “torn ACL” can often mean the end of an athlete’s career.

For a dog who uses its legs for practically everything, it can mean something a lot worse.

Lexie, a 5-year-old German shepherd mix, arrived at the Best Friends Animal Clinic last week with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in one of her knees. The surgery itself would be a difficult one ” never mind the cost.



Lexie, owned by Bob Miller of Penn Valley, was taken under the care of the veterinarians at the Grass Valley clinic, with financial assistance provided by Sammie’s Friends, a nonprofit co-founded by Cheryl Wicks that offers reduced-cost treatments for animals in need of medical treatment.

The help offered by Wicks has allowed Lexie to begin rehabilitation during this, the dog days of summer.




Tom Strolle, the veterinarian who operated on Lexie, said he was happy to provide the surgery at a reduced cost.

“There are so many people who can’t afford this kind of treatment,” he said. “I’m thrilled to help. I really think we need to give back.”

Strolle said Lexie’s prognosis is good: 90 percent of dogs who go through this type of procedure will have a healthy leg, he said.

Wicks said a dog’s ACL is most often torn when the dog slips on a surface, makes a sudden turn while running or is hit by a car.

In addition to the torn ligament, Lexie had a torn meniscus as well.

Lexie is one of hundreds of dogs Wicks has helped through her nonprofit. In 2007 alone, Wicks’ group provided financial assistance for 361 animals.

“I’ve never told anyone ‘no,'” she said. “The only people I’ve said ‘no’ to are people I know can afford this.”

The nonprofit generated $104,000 to help people pay for medical needs for their animals in 2007. For more information, call 272-8833.

To contact Staff Writer David Mirhadi, e-mail dmirhadi@theunion.com or call 477-4239.


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