After Casey Garrigan's parents paid $2,500 in veterinary bills to help save the life of their daughter's miniature donkey earlier this month, the Garrigan's planned on bringing the donkey home and hoping for the best.
Before the family left the UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, Casey, a Monte Vista High freshman, looked at the discharge report. It said "that the owner refused treatment."
"I did not refuse treatment," Casey scolded the veterinarian.
The veterinarian explained that her miniature donkey, Abby, needed a pacemaker (which costs $2,300) to ensure she would live a long life and her parents chose not to get it.
Casey wasn't pleased. The 14-year-old was going to do everything humanly possibly to save her donkey. She took action, and now asks for your help.
In just a few days, Abby has already raised $840. Casey needs to raise $2,300 by the first week of December to keep Abby alive.
To understand why saving Abby is so important for Casey, you first have to understand Casey's love of animals — all animals.
Along with two miniature donkeys, Casey has bunnies, chickens, two dogs and a cat.
Two years ago, Casey had a horse and wanted another, but her parents drew a line in the sand and said no. So Casey looked into miniature donkeys, and after searching Craigslist she discovered a donkey farm in Pleasant Hill.
She saved her money, went to the farm, and got a donkey. It cost $350, but the farm owner said that donkeys don't do well on their own. They behave better in pairs. So Casey's parents helped out and paid for a second miniature donkey.
Abby and Ashley (Abby's "sister") officially became part of the Garrigan family and became inseparable.
"If I take one out of the pen, the other one goes crazy and brays nonstop," Casey said. "But that is what I love about them. I love how they are such unique animals, with their own special personality. They are just like dogs."
Ashley has always been the more active of the two, and Casey has trained her to compete in regional and national skill shows.
Unlike Ashley, Abby has never been energetic, so Casey would enter her in costume shows.
"She is completely different from Ashley," Casey said. "Abby loves to cuddle and will walk right up to you and put her head in your lap. She has always been more relaxed so she is like my little puppy that will follow you everywhere but wouldn't hurt a thing."
Why Abby lacked Ashley's energy became more clear on Nov. 1.
After Casey had walked her two donkeys around her Alamo neighborhood, Abby collapsed in her pen. She was rushed to the After Hours Emergency Equine Vet. At first, they thought Abby had West Nile Virus, but after taking Abby to UC Davis it was determined that Abby was born with a defective heart.
So Abby needs the pacemaker, and Casey's mother is convinced her daughter will raise the money needed.
"I know she is going to reach her goal," Kathy Garrigan said. "We are so proud of her for all she has done to help Abby. She is such an animal lover and takes really good care of her pets."