Last Hope raises money for dog’s knees

Animal Rescue charity holds bowlathon to help stray chihuahua to new, active life

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Two-year-old chihuahua Mimi needs new knees, and Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation in Wantagh is there to help.

Mimi suffers from grade-four luxating patella, commonly called “trick knee,” where the kneecap slips out of place and prevents the knee from extending properly, according to Mar Vista Animal Medical Center. Luxating patella is a common problem for toy breed dogs. Sometimes the kneecap slips back into place on its own, but some dogs need it to be surgically corrected.

Last Hope hosted a fundraiser, on Feb. 1, at Levittown Lanes, to raise money for Mimi to undergo the two surgeries she needs to fix both her knees, according to Joanne Anderson, the facility’s outreach coordinator. “Usually, [luxating patella] is not this bad this young,” she said. “All the little dogs are prone to it, but grade four is not as common.”

Anderson said Last Hope decided to fundraise for Mimi, compared to other disabled animals in their care, because the timing was right. The facility originally planned to help all of Last Hope’s special needs animals through this fundraiser. However, when Mimi was brought to Last Hope in the middle of January, the plans were redirected. Also, Mimi’s veterinary bill was more than the organization usually spends for an animal’s orthopedic surgery.

Last Hope began planning the fundraiser after Christmas. Eighty animal lovers, and Last Hope volunteers from the local communities showed up to bowl from 4-6 p.m. in the 20 lanes the organization reserved. People paid $25 per person to bowl for two hours, rent shoes, eat pizza and drink soda. The organization also sold raffle baskets, as well as Last Hope merchandise.

Veterinary Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Arnold Lesser, at New York Veterinary Specialty and Emergency Center in Farmingdale, will perform Mimi’s surgeries. The operations cost more than $7,000. Roughly $3,000 was raised during the fundraiser. “This is not going to pay her veterinary bill but it’s going to be a nice start,” Anderson said.

The facility received a 25 percent discount from the center. Last Hope also hosted an auction for Knicks tickets, to raise more money for Mimi, that ended on Feb. 7. The rescue is also planning to auction off a Pilates machine soon, and possibly host a live auction for a St. Patrick’s Day luncheon on March 10.

The Chihuahua underwent her first successful surgery on her left knee on Feb. 7, as well as an operation where she was spayed. Mimi will undergo her second surgery around eight to 12 weeks later, depending on how fast her first knee heals.

The dog will also go through physical therapy during her recovery process, including time on an underwater treadmill. “That is very good with dogs that need to get mobility back,” she said.

Anderson said she thought Mimi was a stray from Mastic Beach. “If she was a stray, she didn’t run away,” she said. “She can’t run away.”

The dog was brought to Brookhaven Animal Shelter on Jan. 9, and then brought to Last Hope around one week later, Anderson said. Mimi is currently in the foster home of Mindy Seltzberg, in Merrick, with two designer mixed dogs, but may have a permanent home in the future, Anderson said.