By Janet McAfee

Isn’t Angel a beautiful pup?  Her beautiful brown eyes appear happy and grateful as she rides home with her foster mom from the vet.  You would never know she was in a medical crisis with a red blood cell count of 6%, in the range considered “deadly”.

The county shelter’s rescue coordinator, Michelle Bergeron, sent me the photo of a sad looking Spaniel mix in a dire medical emergency.  Michelle’s message conveyed the desperate condition of the pup:

“This poor girl came in last night…. Very pale. Dr. Sarah with Riverside took a blood sample and ran it back to Riverside with her and this girl is in dire need of a medical emergency miracle – She is going to need a transfusion. I don’t really have time to ask the rescues that are out of the area because they generally can’t work that fast. She needs out and she needs out now. I realize that this is a lot to ask of any rescue – Transfusions are no small thing. I realize what I’m asking and I realize the chances are slim but if I didn’t at least try then I wouldn’t be doing my job, right? Please let me know as soon as you can if this is a case you’d like to take on.  She doesn’t seem to want to eat, she’s very pale, our Riverside vet suspects hemolytic anemia but they have no diagnostics at CVAC to be able to do any bloodwork to confirm.”


Angel would not have survived another day at our county shelter, the Coachella Valley Animal Campus.  Loving All Animals decided to give her a chance, and early Saturday morning I rescued Angel from the shelter.  The buff colored dog sat very still beside me in the car on the trip to Desert Dunes Veterinary Hospital.  She was weak, but responded to petting, and I kept my hand on her as we traveled.

Dr. Emswiller at Desert Dunes somberly confirmed the diagnosis of autoimmune hemolytic anemia, and we agreed to the blood transfusion needed to save her life.  This condition can be serious, and the multiple causes include insect bites, viruses, and vaccinations.  AHA is a serious condition in which the body attacks its own red blood cells.  Left untreated, it is usually fatal.

The loving care of Angel’s wonderful foster mom, Nancy Atkisson, played a part in her healing.  After her blood transfusion, Nancy reported, “Angel is doing much better.  She’s sitting on the couch and just drank a bowl of water.  She’s relaxing and wags her tail whenever I come near.  She’s such a sweet girl.” Today’s update from Nancy was upbeat, “Angel had another fantastic night.  No accidents!  She’s a fast learner, and has mastered climbing UP the stairs as well as down.  Angel took her pills like a pro this morning.”

Angel close upWe were elated four days later when a recheck showed Angel’s blood cell count rose significantly, and she was out of the “danger death” zone.  Nancy believes Angel instinctively knew she was saved after the encouraging results at the recheck exam.  She reports, “The look in her eyes and her constant display of affection show Angel is grateful for her second chance at life.”  However, she is not yet “out of the woods” and requires medication and veterinary follow-up.

Donations enable groups like Loving All Animals to provide a safety net and medical care to give homeless animals like Angel a second chance.  The shelter dogs and abandoned dogs we rescue and rehome may not have received significant, if any, previous medical care.  Donations from Loving All Animals’ supporters have funded numerous surgeries and extensive lifesaving procedures on many of our rescued animals.  Please consider making a donation towards Angel’s ongoing veterinary costs.  You can donate online at and designate “Angel” as the reason, or call (760) 834-7000.

“Saving one homeless animal will not change the world, but surely for that one animal the world will change forever.”