Charles Gilliam got help for his sick dog, Big, after dog lovers pitched in to help him. Photo: Jasmine Dustin/Facebook
When Jasmine Dustin met Charles Gilliam on the streets of Santa Monica on April 30, Charles was handing out a veterinarian's card and asking for donations to help save his dog Big. Big was very sick and a veterinarian had told Charles a few months earlier that Big had intestinal tumors and that he should put Big to sleep or get a $2000 surgery. Not having the money, Charles wasn't ready to give up on his friend and wanted to see if something could be done to save Big's life.
Jasmine, who volunteers for Cause 4 Paws, posted a photo of Charles and Big to her Facebook page with the caption, "On Saturday morning I met this homeless man by the name of Charles Gilliam who was sitting on the side of the street not begging for money but asking to help save his dog, BIG Dog! Instead of collecting money he was handing out the vets card. Charles lives on the street with nothing but his companion BIG. His dog is very sick and needs surgery asap. I have set up a donation page for the surgery...if we could all just share his story then we may be able to save his dog!!! BIG is all he has in life."
Her photo of Charles and Big went viral and got over 11,000 shares in a few days. Within a short time dog lovers had helped raise the money necessary to take Big to a vet to be examined and to get a second opinion. Monies were directly donated to the not-for-profit Pet Care Veterinary Center in Chesterfield Square.
Big was given an ultrasound and it was determined that Big was not terminally ill and did not have tumors, but rather large stones in his urinary track! The vets plan on flushing the stones out and recommended Big be given a special diet to prevent the stones from returning. They noted Big also has arthritis and will give him some medication to help that.
Everyone was overjoyed that Big was on the road to recovery, especially Charles, who said that Big is everything to him. Charles posted his thanks to the community who helped restore his 10-year-old dog's health. He wrote, "I just want to thank everyone for all their warm wishes and good thoughts! If it had not been for some very fine people coming in and helping... I would have put my dog to sleep."
He reassured everyone, he was not living on the streets as had been said he was fortunate enough to have recently found a monthly room rental where he can care for Big. He reassured everyone that the funds went to care for Big.
"I am getting none of this money... it is all going to the veterinary clinic that is treating him and Cause for Paws... with the permission of those donating I would like to give whatever funds Big Dog does not use or need to this fine clinic and Cause for Paws. They are a not for profit vet... most of the employees are volunteers... they need all the help they can get!!"
Cause 4 Paws helps support independent rescues and shelters, as well as homeless dogs, in the LA area. Read more about Cause 4 Paws and the work they do at their website.
If you would like to help support the work that the The Pet Care Veterinary Center does, they can be reached at 2009 West Slauson Ave, Los Angeles California 90047, USA.