Foundation offers financial aid for emergency pet care

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Families out of work but still trying to pay for emergency pet care have a Piedmont foundation they can turn to.

The Sergei Foundation was started two years ago in Winston-Salem. The foundation has helped 26 local families with more than $10,000 in financial aid.

All the funding comes from fundraising and individual donations.

"We very rarely are able to help them with the whole financial need, but what we found is there's nowhere else for them to turn," said founder Karen Fullerton. "If they talk to us and we are able to talk to them about how much we can contribute, we find it gives a sense of hope."

One of the families helped by the foundation is Shane and Tameka Collins. Their Victorian bulldog Allie Grace needed major leg surgery after being hit by a car last year.

"The initial surgery was going to be well over $1,200, and I didn't have a clue where I was going to get it," Shane Collins said.

That's because at the same time, the family learned Shane had kidney cancer, keeping him out of work.

But when they learned about Fullerton's foundation, things changed. Shane Collins said the money from the foundation kept their dog from losing its entire leg.

"You've got to ask for help, and I'm not that type of person," Shane Collins said. "It's hard for me to do that. (Allie Mae's) so special to this family."

Fullerton named the foundation after Sergei, her Siberian husky who died after failing health.

"We didn't know what was wrong with him. He started having seizures. We spent over $1,000 in diagnostic testing really to no avail," Fullerton said.

The foundation is hosting a fundraiser golf tournament, Rounds for Hounds, on May 6 at Bermuda Run. For more information on the fundraiser and the foundation itself, go to sergeifoundation.org.

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