Firehouse Animal Health Center donates to Season for Caring

Fifteen-year-old Chili and 4-year-old Chulita aren’t sure about going to the vet, but after settling in at the Firehouse Animal Health Center in Kyle, Chulita delivers licks to vet technician Morgan Shannon, even though Shannon insists she draw blood from the front you’re a leg

Shannon and veterinarian Dr. Lara Wilson understand Chihuahuas.

“I speak angry chihuahua fluently myself as an angry chihuahua owner,” Wilson said as Chulita greeted her with a growl.

“They’re pit bulls in a small body,” Shannon said.

On Tuesday, Firehouse Animal Health Center delivered a free checkup and follow-up care for Chili and Chulita. Firehouse’s seven Central Texas locations have once again pledged $10,000 worth of services to the pets of selected Statesman Season for Caring families. This is the seventh year the Firehouse has made this donation.

Chili and Chulita’s owners, Charles and Nicole Richard, could not afford this care. Charles, 50, has stage 4 lung cancer. He has a tumor in his lung as well as spots on his brain and thigh and now possibly his tailbone. He receives radiation almost every day. Since his diagnosis in June, he has been unable to work as a tow truck driver. His wife, Nicole, a nurse, cares for him full-time.

They have exhausted their savings and have relied on friends and family to help pay the bills. The Richards were nominated for Statesman Season for Caring by Austin Palliative Care, which helps provide care for people with serious illnesses.

Read more: Austin husband with stage IV lung cancer goes through savings | Season to care

While the Richards’ focus has been on Charles’ medical care, they worry about Chili and Chulita. Chili seems to scratch herself all the time, especially around her back legs. Chulita is not well and is a bit possessive of her parents.

Both dogs received blood work and a plan to update their vaccines over time due to their size. Chili got a shot to help her arthritis and allergy meds and to prevent heartworm, fleas and ticks. She was also given some anti-anxiety medication for her next vet visit.

After some growling and threats to bite, Chili settled into the arms of veterinary technician Maddie Ramirez while her blood was drawn.

“Good girl, you are doing so well Chili. Good girl, nice girl,” Ramirez told Chile, who almost fell asleep during the blood draw.

Once her blood work arrives, Wilson will discuss whether it would be safe with her age and heart murmur to give Chili a dental cleaning; her teeth are decaying.

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Firehouse Animal Health Center donates to Season for Caring

Nicole and Charles Richard’s dogs Chilli and Chulita receive veterinary care along with other Season of Care pets.

For Chulita, the blood test must give the all-clear to be sterilized. This will prevent infection. She received a rabies vaccination as well as heartworm, flea and tick prevention.

Providing care for the dogs and cats of Season for Caring families “is my pleasure,” Wilson said. “I think they are very well-loved dogs. I’m glad to give them some care.”

For Charles and Nicole Richard, Tuesday was a relief. Although they are worried about cleaning Chili’s teeth, if her blood work is fine, they will consider it.

“I’m very glad it was an opportunity to explore,” Charles said. “That’s a lot of money and we definitely couldn’t afford it.

Find out more: 12 families participated in the 25th Season of Caring program. Here’s how you can help.

Richards still has a lot on his wish list. Nicole needs a chiropractor to help with back pain. After caring for her father, who passed away from cancer, and now for Charles, she has not updated her Texas nursing license and needs help in the process. She can use an Ulta gift card to get a haircut.

They also need garage door openers, carpet cleaning and gift cards to HEB and Walmart.

For Chili and Chulita, they would like Amazon and Tomlinson gift cards to help pay for food.

Charles Richard would like to take his wife on a date to the Alamo Drafthouse and would love a gift card for it. He also does screen printing and would like Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, a laptop and a direct-to-film printer.

To learn more about the Richards or to donate an item from their wish list, contact Austin Palliative Care, a subsidiary of Hospice Austin, 512-397-3360, option 3, austinpalliativecare.org.

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