A search and rescue Labrador who is in need of surgery has received help from donors around the world.
Amber Dubois went missing in 2009. She was found dead more than a year later. Her mother, Carrie McGonigle, swore to help others find missing loved ones.
Her mom, Carrie McGonigle, started a search and rescue team and named the team’s trained search dog after her late daughter. Since 2011, McGonigle and Amber the Labrador have searched for missing people throughout California and other states.
Amber developed debilitating knee pain and has been unable to go on searches since November last year.
Through a crowdfunding campaign, donors and well-wishers have come to her aid to cover medical bills for surgeries on her hind legs. As of Thursday, the campaign exceeded its goal, with a total of more than $7,600.
“I was totally blown away,” McGonigle said. “I’m speechless about it.”
Amber will undergo a series of surgeries — the first is scheduled for next week.
The four-year-old Labrador has taken part in big searches — she is credited with finding the body of Michelle Le, a nursing student murdered in Alameda County in 2011.
After a search in November 2014, McGonigle noticed Amber limping. A trip to the vet confirmed that she had injured the anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, in the knee of each hind leg.
Thanks to the donors, the surgery for Amber’s left knee is set on Tuesday. She will then be given two months to heal, after which surgery will be performed on the right knee.
Amber’s surgeon, Zoran Djordjevich, said her prognosis for full recovery is excellent, and she will be able to return to her search and rescue job.
“The success rate (of the surgical fix) is 95 to 98 percent. It’s almost unbelievable. We have extremely effective outcomes,” he said.
On Thursday, McGonigle received more good news. Mohnacky Animal Hospital has waived some of the costs. This means that the remainder of the donated money will go toward future medical care.
Image and article source: Union-Tribune San Diego