An Orlando community rallied around their neighbor’s golden retriever, organizing a lemonade stand to raise money for veterinary bills after the dog was hit by a motorcycle.
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Stevie, named after Fleetwood Mac’s Stevie Nicks, is a beloved 5-year-old dog belonging to Marisol Serrano.
“She’s very smart. She knows, I always say she is like a human dog,” Serrano said Thursday in an interview with USA TODAY.
But Stevie was hit by a motorcyclist late at night on Sept. 14 while greeting Serrano’s daughter returning home from work. It was Serrano’s neighbors who knew they needed to do something to help their four-legged friend.
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‘Please let the dog live’
Her daughter heard the motorcycle, saw Stevie collapse, and barely had time to piece together what had happened before the motorcyclist drove off. Stevie was left with a slash in her side and a punctured lung.
Serrano rushed Stevie to the only open animal hospital she could find at that hour in a nearby town. The doctors there opened her up to see how bad the damage was. Serrano grappled with how far to take the treatment to save her, but felt confident once the doctors told her Stevie would be just fine after having a small part of her lung removed.
“Please let the dog live,” Serrano remembers thinking. “I don’t want her to suffer because I made a selfish decision of keeping her alive.”
Serrano was so caught up with the dog’s wellbeing, what it would mean for her family if they lost Stevie, and calling out of work the next day, that she wasn’t thinking about the looming $13,000 in vet bills, she said.
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Lemonade stand raises $400 for Stevie
That’s where her neighbors came in. While Stevie stayed in the ICU for six days, the kids who knew Stevie got to work. Nine kids organized a lemonade stand selling cookies, brownies, lemonade and water. They had posters with pictures of Stevie on it and a QR code so people could donate if they didn’t have cash.
On Sunday, the kids dropped by and handed Serrano $400 in cash, their earnings for Stevie.
“I literally just cried,” she said. “It was so special.”
The kids also dropped off get well cards and toys for Stevie. Serrano kept getting messages about how people could help, so she set up a GoFundMe page as well.
She says that visitors and support from the community helps with more than just the veterinary bills.
“The first day they came to see her, … she didn’t even want to get up.” Serrano said. “Because it hurts, you know. And when she saw the kids, she literally got up and her tail (wagged).”