How a Quick Pivot Saved a Pet’s Life

March 10, 2021


Twelve-year-old Nicole B. was walking her six-month-old pug, Sky, in her South Los Angeles neighborhood when Sky was suddenly attacked by another dog.

“He came out of nowhere,” says Nicole, describing the attack that occurred last November. “I jumped and accidentally let go of Sky’s leash, and they kept fighting.”

When the other dog finally backed away, Nicole noticed Sky’s left eye dangling from its socket.

She raced home with Sky in her arms.

“I was so sad, and my mom was crying,” says Nicole. “My big sister Daphne started calling animal hospitals.”

The panic-stricken family rushed Sky to an emergency hospital, but they could not afford to pay the hospital’s fee to repair Sky’s eye.

“Instead, they said they could put her to sleep,” Nicole says. “There was no way we were going to do that.”

Taking Immediate Action

Sky in a blanket

Nicole and Daphne’s mother, Laura, drove Sky to the South Los Angeles Animal Shelter, six miles from their home, where they hoped to get help.

The shelter is adjacent to the entrance of the ASPCA Spay/Neuter Clinic which usually conducts spay and neuter surgeries for the shelter and the public. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic has not been operating at capacity and instead has been providing limited Primary Pet Care services.

Dr. Tierra Price, an ASPCA veterinarian, saw Laura and her daughters and asked Dr. Peyvand Silverman, Veterinary Staff Manager, to assess Sky’s situation. Jennifer Ramirez, Patient Liaison, translated for Laura, who speaks only Spanish.

“Laura told me she had lost her job because of COVID-19, and she couldn’t afford surgery at the emergency clinic,” Dr. Silverman says. “Her daughters explained how Sky had been attacked.”

Sky in a blanket

Sky and Mobi are cherished members of Nicole’s family.

Inside the clinic, Dr. Silverman gave Sky a physical exam and asked the spay/neuter team if they could assist with an enucleation surgery—the removal of Sky’s eye.

Claudia Villalobos, Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT), suggested also spaying Sky so that she would not have to undergo anesthesia again in the future. Both the enucleation surgery and the spay were successful.

“The team was so supportive,” says Dr. Silverman, who was assisted by Alma Ventura, RVT; Ellie Cuevas, Senior Veterinary Assistant; and Ramiro Tapia, Patient Liaison. Dr. Silverman also vaccinated and microchipped Sky.

“Sky’s family was so happy that we could do both surgeries and that she could go home with them shortly afterward,” says Dr. Silverman. “And I was happy we were able to manage this case in our clinic. It made all of us cry.”

Nicole with Sky with cousin and Daphne

Nicole, left, with her cousin Kimberly (holding Sky) and sister, Daphne.

A Wide-Open Future for Sky

Laura received Sky nearly six months ago from a friend who could no longer care for her, and the dog quickly became a cherished member of their family, which includes a four-year-old Lab/pit bull mix named Mobi.  

“She is so nice and cuddly, and loves attention,” says Nicole.

When Jennifer phoned the family to follow up on Sky’s recovery, Nicole thanked her and shared that Sky was recovering well, and not hindered at all by having only one eye.  

Sky and Mobi at Mobi's birthday

Sky helps Mobi celebrate his third birthday.

“Sky was cuddling with Nicole at that exact moment,” says Jennifer. “I could hear her snoring!”

“Sky means the world to me,” Nicole says. “I don’t know what I’d do without her.”

Thanks to the quick action of her dedicated family and the hard work the ASPCA team in South L.A. following a terrifying encounter, Sky is now healthy and happy with her family—just where she belongs.