UPDATE: Therapy dog needs life-saving surgery that family can’t afford

UPDATE [11/29/16 10:30am] : In less than 24 hours, the full amount of Vlady’s surgery has been paid for by donations. Vlady’s surgery will be scheduled in the coming days. The Gilson family says Vlady is so grateful for the support and help of all who donated and they are at a loss for words.

Medford, Ore. —  A Medford family is racing against the clock to get a life-saving surgery for their German Shepherd. Vlady was a rescue from a California puppy mill, but tonight he’s fighting an infection. And the special surgery is too expensive for the family to afford.

Last year, the Gilson family adopted Vlady from the Southern Oregon Humane Society. Life hasn’t been the same for them since.

“God gave us a gift,” Timmy Gilson say, “a really good one”.

But a few months ago, a run in with a bee hive tipped them off to an abscess on Vlady’s leg. They took him to Alder Creek Veterinary Hospital, where x-rays revealed an old fracture that never healed correctly, and is now causing an infection.

“We have a little petri dish of stuff in there that has no blood supply,” Dr. Beth Gurney says, “and so it just keeps draining and we can kind of clear up the drainage temporarily with antibiotics but until that dead piece is removed it’s just going to keep coming back and causing him pain.”

The discovery was devastating for the Gilson family, not only because Vlady is considered a member of the family, but because the 2-year-old also serves as a therapy dog for Timmy, who has autism.

“He’s a good therapy dog,” Veronica Gilson says.

The specialized surgery costs thousands of dollars, and just keeping up with Vlady’s current antibiotics is draining the budget.

“I’m the only income in my house,” Tim Gilson says, “so trying to put money away is a little hard.”

So the folks at Alder Creek helped set up a go fund me page, in hopes the community will rally together to help save Vlady’s leg, and his life. And the family says they couldn’t be more grateful for the support that’s already coming in.

The surgery is about $3,200, and has to be done by a specialist. If you’d like to help, click HERE.


Kristin Hosfelt anchors NBC5 News at 6 with NBC5 News Director Craig Smullin. Kristin is originally from the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism from San Jose State University.

She comes to KOBI-TV/NBC5 from Bangor, Maine where she was the evening news anchor. Kristin has won multiple journalism awards including Best Feature Reporting in the State of Maine.

When Kristin is not sharing the news she's hunting down the best burrito, hiking a local trail or buried in a Jodi Picoult novel. She's also a Green Bay Packers shareholder! If you see her out and about she'd be happy to tell you how a California girl became a Cheesehead.

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