Family needs help to pay for dog’s spinal injury

Julie Snider watched helplessly Saturday night as Snoopy, her chocolate Labrador retriever, ran into the path of a car on Fillyaw Road.

Her 5-year-old son, Zachery, thought Snoopy was dead.

Snoopy survived but can’t walk because of a spinal injury. The dog needs an MRI to find out if surgery is necessary, but the Sniders don’t have the money to pay for it.

Julie and Jay, an Army staff sergeant, are hoping there are enough warm hearts in the community to help get Snoopy back on his feet.

And back to playing with Zachery — who was diagnosed in April 2006 with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a degenerative muscular disease.

His prognosis is not good, his mother said. He’s likely to be confined to a wheelchair before he’s 10. Duchenne is incurable; its victims seldom live past the age of 20.

Zachery also has a spider-like brain Cyst and heart problems, Julie said.

Snoopy is more than a dog to Zachery and the rest of the family. He’s a companion, a playmate and guardian for their son, Jay Jr., 8, and daughter, Infinia, 2, but especially for Zachery.

When the Sniders lived at Fort Campbell, Ky., Snoopy and Zachary shared the lower berth of a bunk bed.

Snoopy loves to play fetch and spends much of his time using his nose as he and Zachery roll a ball back and forth at the family’s home on Dandridge Drive.

Snoopy even rides with Julie when she drops off and picks up her older son.

“He’s so good to my kids,” Julie said.

The Sniders rushed Snoopy to an urgent care animal hospital Saturday night. The bill for the treatment wiped out their savings, Julie said.

On Sunday, the Sniders took Snoopy to the N.C. State Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Raleigh.

Doctors there found that Snoopy had suffered a spinal cord injury that left him unable to stand up on his back legs or control his bladder and bowels.

But because Snoopy can move his back legs, surgery may be able to restore the use of his legs, Julie said.

The success rate for the surgery is between 80 percent and 90 percent, according to a veterinarian’s report.

Only an MRI will let them know, she said.

Total cost for the surgery and MRI is about $4,000.

Snoopy’s treatment there came to more than $1,400, but the hospital paid $500 on the bill from its injured animal assistance fund.

Still, the Sniders owe $910.

Doctors recommended that Snoopy stay in the hospital’s critical care unit, but the Sniders didn’t have enough money to pay the bill.

Euthanization was an option, but Julie Snider wouldn’t hear of it.

“He wants to live,” she said, looking at the brown-eyed dog curled up on a mat in the corner of her kitchen. “To me, he wants to be here.”

The doctors were impressed by the Sniders’ love for their dog.

“He is a wonderful dog and is very lucky to have such a loving family who is willing to work so hard for his continued care,” Dr. Scott Hafeman wrote in his report.

Julie Snider, desperate for help, opened an account at the Bank of America in Spring Lake.

All she can do now is wait.

By Nancy McCleary
Staff writer

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