Donors help pay for dog’s surgery

Effort raises $4,500 in just 48 hours




Forget Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clark County has Chopper the big black-and-tan dog who has been given love to the tune of $9,000.

When Columbian readers on Friday learned Chopper needed surgery, they pitched in $4,500 in about 48 hours to match a $4,500 gift from a foundation.

“I’m just amazed and very pleased that the community stepped up so quickly,” said Chuck Tourtillot, executive director of the Humane Society for Southwest Washington. “We thought this would take a few weeks. This is a great community.”

“We couldn’t have hoped for anything better for Chopper” said Kate Goudschaal, the society’s community programs director. “Chopper is a unique and charismatic dog who truly deserves a second chance, and obviously our community agrees.”

Chopper, who weighs 135 pounds and reaches many people’s waistlines, was surrendered to the humane society in late August and has been undergoing pain management for a deteriorating medical condition.

The big pooch needs specialized surgery on the knees of his hind legs, which will cost about $9,000. The Thomas A. Plein Foundation, based in Wisconsin, agreed to match dollar for dollar to help Chopper, a 3-year-old Rottweiler mix. The foundation has given to the Vancouver shelter in the past.

“We can now move forward with planning Chopper’s surgery and hopefully have him placed in a new home after about an 8-week recovery time” Goudschaal said. She estimated nearly 100 people donated, including a $1,000 gift. Some people came to the shelter on 192nd Avenue with their donations.

She said Chopper is the first animal in at least five years where the public’s financial help was asked.

“We’ve got two different veterinarians we’re talking to.” Tourtillot said. “The surgery could happen within the next week, or two, at the latest.

“We have a sponsor home waiting to take care of him post-surgery.

“We got a lot of calls about adopting him. Whoever Chopper’s new owner is needs to be really well prepared to take care of his needs. He also might do better in a one-dog family, being the only dog,” Tourtillot said. “We want it to be a perfect match.”