More than $2,000 raised to pay for dog's pacemaker

Saturday, May 31, 2008 | 6:20 p.m. CDT; updated 4:05 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

JOPLIN — The family of a Newton County search-and-rescue dog that underwent surgery in May for a pacemaker has received more than enough contributions to cover the medical costs, a fellow rescue volunteer who opened a bank account for the dog said.

Patrice Graham said the fund for Molly has received more than $2,000. Medical technology corporation Medtronic offered to donate the pacemaker, so the money will be able to pay the remainder of the doctor’s bill with any left over possibly going to medical costs for the county’s other search-and-rescue dogs.

“We didn’t expect the response, we just want to thank everybody,” Graham said. “I think Molly wants to say ‘thank you,’ too. I think she’d walk up and kiss every one of those donors.”

Molly’s owners, Alicia and Allen Brown, were told the 5-year-old chocolate Labrador retriever would need a pacemaker immediately or die after the dog began having breathing problems in early May. Alicia, a nurse, and Allen, a paramedic, are volunteers with the Newton County K-9 Search and Rescue Team and decided to put other things aside to come up with the expected $2,000 veterinarian bill.

After the dog’s story circulated nationwide, Graham said, she and the Browns started getting phone calls and cards from across the country and Canada from well-wishers and those willing to help.

“Alicia is just shocked by how many people do care,” she said, adding that the Brown’s 5-year-old daughter, Alison, reads the cards to Molly every night before going to bed.

Graham said that the Browns plan to write thank-you notes to all the named donors and that many people in other states have called to get updates on Molly’s prognosis.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown — the dog’s full name — returned home from surgery in Columbia on May 23, and is under restricted activity for the next two months. But veterinarians said they expect her to make a full recovery and be able to return to work searching for the victims or accidents or disasters.

Graham said that a week after her surgery, Molly is back to normal.

“She was so excited when we were there — she really wants to work again,” she said. “I don’t think she even realizes she has sutures. It’s amazing to see her go from being so tired to almost like a puppy again.”

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