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Road to Rescue with Leslie Smith

San Francisco SPCA's Cinderella Fund

Dasher, a Chihuahua-Spaniel mix, arrived at the San Francisco SPCA in rough shape. He was only a year old, but suffered a severe hip disorder, which meant that even basic movement was tedious...and painful. His muscles had atrophied and he walked with a limp.

The Cinderella Fund was established over 20 years ago by SF SPCA support organization, CLAW (Critter Lovers At Work). The fund's sole aim is to provide medical care for homeless pets in need and was created precisely for dogs like Dasher: animals, who in other shelters, might not have a chance simply because their medical issues, while treatable, would be too expensive to resolve.

"Our shelter medicine program provides excellent basic care. Ringworm treatment or vaccinations, for example," said SFSPCA President, Jan McHugh-Smith. "But the Cinderella Fund is essential when it comes to major surgeries or expensive procedures required to ensure a good quality of life."

Last fall, thanks to the Cinderella Fund, Dasher underwent the surgery necessary for him to live pain free. Still recovering and without full range of mobility, Dasher was back in Maddie's Adoption Center when he caught the eye of a would-be adopter.

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Dasher, Cinderella Fund recipient .

Coincidentally, Courtney was also finding it difficult to get around. A recent melanoma diagnosis had led to her own leg surgery, mobility issues, and intense discomfort. When she spotted Dasher, an undeniable connection was made.

Though technically Courtney adopted Dasher, the canine proved to be a unique teacher and guide to the human. Watching Dasher develop his ability to run and frolic with ease — actions most dogs take for granted — Courtney mustered the courage to put her own ordeal behind her. Both are survivors, with each other to thank.

"That single adoption, which made two lives immeasurably better, began with Dasher's surgery, which was made possible by the Cinderella Fund," said McHugh-Smith. "And we look forward to creating many more such matches in the future."

The Bark and Whine Ball is the SF SPCA's annual fundraiser benefitting the Cinderella Fund. It takes place this year on Thursday, March 25, at the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason in San Francisco. The theme is pet heroes, in honor of Dasher — and animals everywhere who've improved the lives of humans. Tickets are still available. For information, call 415.554.3052 or email barkandwhine@sfspca.org.

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