Lil' Susie Fund in Bobby's Bama

Crystal Johnson's dog, Patches
Crystal Johnson's dog, Patches

When we arrive at the Johnson home we see a large dog, romping and parking.  She seems happy to be alive.  This is Patches - according to her owner, Crystal Johnson, a rambunctious, curious, protective American Pit Bull puppy.

"Patches is my sweetheart. She is my protector," Johnson said.

And Patches recently had a problem with her growing belly.

"I thought she was pregnant at first," admits Johnson.

But the spreading midsection on this puppy wasn't due to early motherhood but her eating habits.

Johnson said you wouldn't believe what the vet found inside of her.

"In her was all kinds of foam, things like that, but it felt like a chain in there, too," she said. "Rocks was in there."

Patches needed surgery, and it was expensive.

In the middle of all the expense and concern for Patches, there was an organization that came to the rescue when it came to paying for vet bills.

Co-founder Debra Amos said the Lil' Susie Small Animals in Need Fund was born when her fiancé's dog died from a kidney problem, and there were major expenses from a long illness. She said it hit them that while they had the means to pay the bills, others do not.

"We financially assist owners who cannot afford medical treatment," Amos said.

She said they lost Susie in November and incorporated the fund in December. They carefully consider each request for help.

"We have senior citizens that have companion animals, sometimes that's the only friend they have," she said.

She said they have several fundraisers to try and raise money.

"It's a tax deductible donation."

And for animals lovers like Johnson, who is paralyzed from the upper torso down, it's a blessing.

Protecting the animals in Bobby's Bama.

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