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Money raised for shot dog's veterinary bills

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Shelly Birkelo
October 30, 2013

MILTON—Jolene Schulz is an animal lover.

So it broke her heart when she heard the story of a Janesville family's veterinary bills after the family's dog Koda was injured in a July 27 shooting.

The Milton woman decided to take action.

"I felt it was my job as a human being to help," Schulz said.

She initially met with the dog's owner, Maria Ochs, to give her an application for the Badger Animal Fund, which provides assistance for animals in crisis that otherwise would not receive care. After realizing those dollars wouldn't be enough to cover Koda's vet expenses, Schulz started an online fundraiser Aug. 10 and created a Facebook page to keep donors and prospective givers up-to-date on Koda's progress. 

The $3,000 needed to pay for Koda's leg surgery was raised in about 60 days.

"It was overwhelming to see people giving so generously," Schulz said.

Donations from people who had no connection to the situation ranged from $20 to $250 each. The biggest donation of $611.20 came from Friends of Noah's 2012 Christmas Jar--a fund for people with exceptional need, said Lois Corwin, founder of the organization.

Friends of Noah is an all-volunteer Wisconsin dog, cat and rabbit rescue organization.

Koda's Cause was half way through its campaign, and donations were dwindling when it received the Christmas Jar money.

The donation "definitely was a big part of fulfilling the $3,000 amount we were looking for," Schulz said.

Schulz said people were compelled to give because they realized that what happened to Koda and Och's other dog, Pepper, who did not survive the shooting, could have happened to any animal owner.

The Janesville man who shot the dogs in 1400 block of Sharon Street acted in self-defense and should not face criminal charges, District Attorney David O'Leary later decided.

Koda's Cause became a labor of love for Schulz, who nursed Koda through recovery for three weeks while the dogs' owners found a new place to live.

"She became part of our family, and is like my goddog," said Schulz, who also is a Friends of Noah volunteer and opens her doors as a foster home for the organization.

Corwin said Koda would not have been able to walk on her front right fractured leg without the surgery.

"She couldn't bear any weight on that leg for the first week, started to slowly heal and had a limp for the first couple of months. Now, she's walking on all four paws and is a happy, healthy dog, even through she still has some limited activity," Schulz said.

"She can't run, she's not suppose to do stairs because that bone is still not completely healed back together," she said.

Koda was treated for her five bullet wounds the day she was shot and those were already starting to heal by the time she had her leg surgery, Schulz said

"When you're part of something like this--people coming together as a community to help this animal and family they did not know," Schulz said, "it restores your faith in humanity."



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