December, 2019

Dear Friends,

When Greg first saw Simone at the Berkeley SPCA, he recognized something special in her.  “She just looked kind of regal,” he smiles, playing with the 10-year-old Border Collie’s ears.  It was not long before Simone was home with Greg and settling in to her new life as part of the family.

Things changed for Simone a few months ago when, while she and Greg were out for a walk near their local park, she was attacked by an unleashed dog.  “The dog came out of nowhere and latched onto her back leg.  I just couldn’t get it off her.”  Greg struggled for what seemed forever to force the bigger dog to release Simone.  When he did, he realized that he too had been bitten and that both he and Simone were bleeding from deep wounds.  The other dog and its owner had now disappeared and Greg was left alone to call 911 for help.  “The paramedics were amazing,” Greg said.  “They took one look at my injury and said I needed stitches.” They also saw what a bad way Simone was in.  Seeing how distressed Greg was at the thought of leaving Simone behind, the paramedics did an amazing thing. 

After confirming that one of the few emergency veterinary hospitals open that Sunday night was close by, they got special clearance to take Simone in the ambulance with Greg. Stopping only briefly to let Greg drop Simone off at the animal hospital, the heroic paramedics then rushed Greg over to the ER so he could get stitched up.  “That is how we ended up at VCA SFVS and why I think San Francisco is a special place for animals,” says Greg. 

Simone’s injuries were severe.  The team at VCA SFVS carefully disinfected and dressed her injuries, doing their best to repair deep wounds that went down to the bone, before releasing Simone back into the care of her own veterinary hospital.  When, during one of her follow ups, it became clear that the wound was infected, Simone was referred back to VCA SFVS for specialist treatment.  

The SFVS team discussed Simone’s prognosis and treatment options with Greg. “That was hard”, Greg remembers. Simone’s injuries were so extensive, located right at the joint and compromised by infection, that her options were limited to further complex surgery or amputation of the limb.  Surgery to remove infected tissue and implant a plate would involve a long treatment and recovery period, with no guarantee that the leg would ever be fully functional or pain free.  Given Simone’s age, the fact that she was in pain and had stopped eating since the attack, the goal was to get her back to fitness as fast as possible.  After long and careful consideration, and with the support and guidance of the expert SFVS team led by Dr. Polidoro, Greg took the decision to amputate.  Unfortunately Greg’s next obstacle was cost.  “I had already dug deep into my emergency funds and been refused for care credit.”  The SFVS team knew to contact SFAfA to discuss the possibility of a grant using funds from the Ingrid Tauber Fund for Animals.  With generous matching donations from VCA SFVS, surgery was immediately arranged.  Greg admits, “I don’t know what I would have done without San Francisco Aid for Animals…I don’t even want to think about it.”

After one overnight stay in hospital, Simone was back at home with Greg.  She was eating again and her spirits were improving. Greg admits he still thinks about his decision but, seeing Simone chasing her toy around the room like a dog half her age and lying on her back for a tummy rub, it seems clear he made the right choice. 

"I don’t know what I would have done without SFAfA…I don’t even want to think about it"

Thank you for your ongoing support of the San Francisco Aid for Animals mission.  With your help and our continuing partnership with more than 90 local veterinarians, SFAfA will be able to offer more Grants in Aid to animals like Simone. Every dollar in funding turns into at least two dollars of pet care. This is accomplished by our requirement that the veterinary practices in our program contribute medical services of equal or greater value to the grant we provide. We are proud that many of the hospitals contribute substantially more in services than we do in grant funds.

SFAfA is entirely volunteer-run. We have no paid staff and no office to support, so that the maximum amount possible of your donation goes directly to keeping companion animals and their families together. Please take a moment to write a check and return it in the enclosed envelope or visit our website at to make a donation. Any amount you can afford is greatly appreciated. With your support, we can continue to help more animals in our community. Your generous donation will allow the next dog, cat, bird or other companion animal facing an emergency, to stay with their family.

Thank you,
Kathy Hajopoulos

Program Chair

SFAfA Advisory Committee

No matter the amount, your tax-deductible gift will make a difference. Does your employer have a matching contribution program? Consider including Community Initiatives / SFAfA in that program. Your dollar could go even further!

And some more amazing news! A generous donor has pledged to match donations received by December 31st — up to $5,000. But time is running out!  Donate today to double your impact before the pledge is fully matched.

San Francisco Aid for Animals-SFAfA  •  A fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, 501(c)(3), 1000 Broadway, Suite 480, Oakland, CA 94607  •  |
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