A dog facing euthanasia due to a serious injury from a car accident last month had surgery that saved its life, thanks to the generosity of the community.
Wind Bearheart’s dog, Grizzly, had hip surgery on Tuesday at Med Vet, in Columbus, and was expected to be home by Friday.
Bearhart, of Northwood, thought she’d have to put down her dog because she could not afford to pay for the surgery.
But the community came to the rescue after the media highlighted her predicament and donated funds for surgery.
“I am just overwhelmed by the generosity of people,” Bearheart said. “I now know there are angels walking on this earth.”
On Tuesday, January 22, Bearheart, Grizzly and her dog Chance were passengers in a vehicle traveling back to Northwood after she visited her son, Shane Baumgartner, a paramedic/firefighter at Station No. 9 in Whitehouse. The car was broadsided in Fulton County by another vehicle, which was totaled in the accident.
Bearheart was airlifted to The University of Toledo Medical Center in serious condition. She suffered broken bones in her face, injuries to her ribs and head trauma.
Chance, a Siberian Husky, was taken to the fire department in Whitehouse, where he was cared for by her son and his fellow firefighters. Although sore, Chance came out of the accident relatively unscathed.
Grizzly, a 14 month old Newfoundland, was taken to an emergency veterinary clinic to be treated for leg injuries and a dislocated hip.
Bearheart’s son then took Grizzly to the West Suburban Animal Hospital in Sylvania where he was examined by Dr. Gary Thompson, who suggested that the big bear of a dog go to the veterinary hospital in Columbus for hip surgery.
Bearheart, who does not drive, has depended on her dogs for transportation. The three have been seen around Northwood, Toledo, Rossford and Perrysburg, with Bearheart on her sled with wheels, being pulled by her dogs as she ran errands, visited friends and went sightseeing.
Unfortunately, Bearheart, who was struggling to pay for her own medications, could not afford the $6,000 estimated cost for the surgery. If Grizzly could not get the surgery, he would have had to be put down.
The insurance company of the other driver would not pay for Grizzly’s veterinary bills because the law considers animals personal property.
After an article about Grizzly ran in The Press, donations to a special account at Fifth Third Bank as well as to a Chipin account accumulated quickly. Within two days, there was enough money raised to pay for Grizzly’s surgery.
“The story really made a difference,” Bearheart said. “I am just glad his surgery was paid for. It would have broke my heart if I had to put him down. The people who have donated and those who have sent cards and messages have made me believe in people again.”
Bearheart said she was also relieved to hear from Dr. Matthew Barnhart, of Med Vet, that Grizzly did not need a total hip replacement, but a procedure that was a bit less costly. Grizzly, who is young and in otherwise good health, would need a Toggle hip surgery, which would cost $4,000.
“Because of all of the exercise Grizzly has had, the doctor told me he would make a full recovery and will be able to run again,” Bearheart said. “I was told the recovery time is six to eight weeks. I am just so happy he will be able to run and play again.”
Adding to her happiness, Bearheart returned home from Columbus to a box filled with 70 Get Well cards for Grizzly from Holland Elementary School, in Holland.
“The cards are so cute and many made me smile and laugh,” she said. “I really needed a good laugh after everything that has happened. The kids even put in dog treats and they sent me a box of chocolate truffles too.”
The account at Fifth Third has been closed since enough money was raised, said Bearhart.
“People have been so generous and I did not want anyone to think that I was scamming them or going after more money,” Bearheart explained. “I just can’t thank people enough for all of the donations, prayers, concern and kind words. I just do not know how I am going to pay the community back for all of this. I am going to find a place where I can donate my time once I am healed. There is a little piece of all of us within Grizzly now. It took all of us to make him whole again.”
Longtime friend, Michelle Geiermann, of Minneapolis, started a Facebook page for Grizzly. She also started the Chipin account for donations.
After the article appeared in The Press, donations to the Chipin account came in very quickly, according to Geiermann.
“In two days, the account jumped to $907,” she said.
Grizzly also gained support on the Facebook page, she added, with over 60 “likes.”
“The comments have been very supportive and sweet and we can’t thank the paper and the community enough,” she said.
The Chipin account was closed on Wednesday, said Geiermann.
“We have posted on Facebook that the account has been closed,” Geiermann said. “I have had a number of people ask to be kept informed of Grizzly’s progress so I will keep the Facebook page updated. Many people have asked that we let them know if money is needed for Grizzly’s rehabilitation costs. People have just been so wonderful and kind and Wind is just so appreciative.”
For more information on Grizzly and his current condition, visit his Facebook page at