It’s been a few stressful months for one Fort Resolution woman after her purebred Yorkie, named Angel, became severely ill.
Martina Jerome, Angel’s dog mom, lives in Fort Resolution and is a self-taught NWT artist that has been sewing for more than 25 years. When Angel took ill on November 20, 2019, Jerome would spend every dollar she had to save her puppy.
“She started to go blind, lethargic and was just about lifeless in the morning she became ill,” Jerome said. “I googled symptoms and figured she was dehydrating and becoming hypoglycemic”
After a visit with Dr. James Stigney at the Mackenzie Veterinarian Clinic, Angel was diagnosed with a congenital liver disease called Portosystemic shunt, also known as having liver shunt.
“Angel was admitted to the clinic, over a period of three days Dr. Stigney and his team worked around the clock to get tests, in the clinic and some were flown to Edmonton to the laboratory there, keeping her maintained and helping her become stable,” Jerome said. “It was fairly obvious she had liver shunt which means all her toxins and bio acids were missing the filtering system of her liver and leading right through an extra vessel on the outside of the liver going directly to her heart and brain and circulating into her extremities.”
The care Angel received at the Mackenzie Veterinarian Clinic exhausted all of the family savings.
“The surgery which she required in Edmonton was estimated to cost over $8,000,” said Jerome. There was absolutely no way the they could cover the cost of the care.
“With a little research I found a less expensive place with a high success rate at the University of Saskatoon Small Animals Hospital,” Jerome said. ” So I had to figure out how I was gonna get $6,000 to save Angel’s life.”
Jerome took to social media, setting up a GoFundMe page, which only raised $225. Jerome refused to give up and put donation jars at businesses in Hay River hoping people would help.
“This idea wasn’t showing much progress and I was getting discouraged,” Jerome said. “I wasn’t going to give up hope, as we love Angel and she deserved a fighting chance, so with a lot of sleepless nights I put my brain to work and realized I could hold fundraisers on social media and put my artistic talents to work.”
Jerome began to sew fur mittens and slippers like there was no tomorrow. After sewing her hands to the bone 16 hours a day, she then took to Facebook and Twitter to sell raffle tickets on her creations. Jerome’s plan worked as donations flowed in.
“Then a beautiful woman and her husband privately contacted me via Facebook messenger,” she said, “and stated they would love to help Angel in memory of their puppy who had passed on.”
The unnamed couple donated $1,500 directly to Angel’s file at the university to help with the family’s medical bill.
“I cried happy tears knowing there are incredibly loving people out in the world that supported our decision to save Angel,” Jerome said. “She is now home and is recovering well”