SIDNEY — Katrina Smith, 62, of Sidney, is asking the community for help. She has two well-known service animals, one of which is in need of medical care. Smith has been disabled since 2001 and recently had to leave California due to the living expenses. Her parents, Ed and Nancy Morgan, have lived in Sidney for over 30 years, so she moved to Ohio.
Recently, Smith’s service cat, Niko-San, a 13-year-old Savannah cat, was recently diagnosed with kidney disease and a fungal infection that has caused a detached retina in his right eye. While a fungal infection is fairly simple to treat, the medication Smith’s vet has reccommended is in short supply. One month’s supply of Niko-San’s medication costs around $500 and could take anywhere from one to six months to clear the infection and hopefully save the sight in his other eye.
Niko-San has been Smith’s service animal for the past 10 years and has performed a variety of tasks for her. Some of his tasks include monitoring her heart rate, pushing open doors, making sure Smith takes her medication and keeping her active.
“He used to be the greatest alarm clock with no snooze button,” said Smith.
Since Niko-San became ill, Smith has been attempting to crosstrain her second service cat to perform Niko-San’s tasks. For now Niko-San can still successfully assist Smith, but can no longer go out to assist her in public.
Smith is trying to get donations to support Niko-San’s medical bills for his kidney disease and recent histoplasmosis diagnosis. Smith’s savings have been exhausted due to her disability keeping her from most jobs and not being able to find work she is able to do. Niko-San is only in the first month of his treatment and still needs several more months of medication and x-rays and blood tests. Niko-San also requires two kinds of prescription food and two typsed of extra hydration.
Many organizations that offer financial assistance for pets’ medical bills require multiple tasks to be completed in order to be considered for a grant. The first few steps of many is notifying the local news to raise social awareness, applying for loans and organizing fundraisers.
Smith has already started a GoFundMe account with a goal of $2,000 to cover some of Niko-San’s bills and medications. Donors can find the fundraiser at https://www.gofundme.com/f/service-animal-fungal-medication-and-tests?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link&utm_campaign=p_cp_guide_do&member=20982339.