Jessica Cejnar / Tuesday, Feb. 9 @ 11:01 a.m. / Community

Help Zelda The Rescue Dog Get Back On Her Feet

Zelda the Fire Dog. Courtesy of Go Fund Me

Zelda is a fixture at Redwood School's fire safety assemblies, demonstrating "stop, drop and roll."

Now, the 4-year-old Chesapeake-chocolate lab retriever, who's trained as a search and rescue dog, needs help as she recovers from surgery. Having torn the cranial cruciate ligaments in both her back legs, a Go Fund Me has been set up to raise money for the surgery Zelda needs to get back on the job.

The first surgery, a tibial plateau leveling osteotomy, was performed on Tuesday. Zelda will return to Del Norte County on Wednesday where she faces a recovery of 10-12 weeks, according to Go Fund Me spokeswoman Nicole Santos.

From Go Fund Me's "Help Zelda The Fire Dog" web page:


Zelda is a four year old Chesapeake/Chocolate lab who is trained as a search and rescue dog.  She also helps the Fort Dick Fire Department educate the public on fire safety.  Zelda has quite a following in Del Norte County,  especially in Fort Dick.  Students at Redwood School know Zelda very well from her appearances at fire safety assemblies where she demonstrates how to stop, drop, and roll!  Zelda is often recognized when she is off-duty, and is usually met with calls of, "It's Zelda the Fire Dog!", whether she's on a walk with her humans or out for search and rescue training.  

Unfortunately, Zelda has torn both of the cranial cruciate ligaments (CCLs) in her back legs.   These torn ligaments can't heal on their own and are pretty painful.  They also keep her from being able to walk properly.  Right now, her right leg is much worse than her left, and she will have surgery on that one first.   

The surgery she needs is called tibial plateau leveling osteotomy (TPLO).  It's got a 95% success rate and should let Zelda get back to being as active as she usually is without pain or leg trouble.  The surgery will change the structure of her knee joint and stabilize her leg and knee with a metal plate.  Recovery for each leg is 10-12 weeks, so this will be a very long process, but we know she'll feel much better when she is finally able to be active enough to resume her duties as a search and rescue fire dog!

Zelda will have her surgeries done at the Lois Bates Acheson Veterinary Hospital at Oregon State University, with the first surgery scheduled for Tuesday, February 9th.  This is a veterinary hospital well known for their success with the TPLO procedure. 

Because her procedures will be done at a teaching hospital, the cost is less than it would be elsewhere, but both surgeries will still end up totaling around $10,000.  We are committed to paying for both surgeries to make sure that Zelda is happy and healthy again, but would greatly appreciate any help folks out there may be willing to give.  Any funds donated will go directly toward the cost of her surgeries.  

We want Zelda around for many more years so she can continue to share her fire safety skills and enthusiasm with our community!  Any help you can give would mean the world to us. Thank you!


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