On Friday, May 8, Lea Benson was driving home from visiting her daughter in the Pinehurst neighborhood in Bourne when a wounded creature crossed her path and she stopped the car.
Ms. Benson, who lives in Pocasset, said the animal looked so small that at first she thought it was a cat, but she realized it was a small dog when she opened the car door. The dog was covered in blood, much of which had dried, so the injury was not new, she said.
She let the injured dog into her car and headed back to her daughter’s house where they decided to seek veterinary care, but this was easier said than done, Ms. Benson said.
She had to wait for several hours in the parking lot of the emergency clinic in Buzzards Bay before the dog could be seen. Then the staff told her they would not look at the dog or discuss the extent of her injuries unless they knew someone would be financially responsible for her care.
Ms. Benson did not know the dog’s owner but would not let the animal suffer, so she ultimately agreed to pay for the care. The 4-year-old Lhasa Apso, then known as Bailey, was in bad shape.
It turned out Bailey had a severe tail injury that required amputation. After surgery, Bailey would stay overnight more than once at the clinic and her bandage kept falling off, which required attention. She also needed a blood transfusion.
Ms. Benson has paid more than $3,000 to care for Bailey, and the bills are expected to reach at least $4,200 for her continuing needs.
To help recoup some of the costs, Ms. Benson started a crowdfunding campaign on Facebook because, while she had expected to bear the financial responsibility, she did not expect the cost to be so high. She asked people to help raise about $4,000.
The campaign has now been closed. Donors gave more than $6,000 for the dog’s care.
Raising money was not without its own share of headaches, however. Ms. Benson said that someone created a fake Facebook page using her name and profile picture—a photo of her infant granddaughter. The impostor had figured out who had contributed to the campaign and reached out privately to donors asking for more money.
The person behind the fake profile claimed they had now adopted more dogs and needed more money, preferably in the form of Amazon.com gift cards.
Ms. Benson disputed the claims as quickly as she could but now fears that damage might have been done because her name has shown up on multiple Facebook pages claiming that her fundraising is a scam. As a financial advisor since 1978, she worries that clients might have seen her name attached to these claims.
“They were threatening me,” she said of people angrily thinking that she was a scammer. “These people don’t know me from Adam.”
Ms. Benson said she has only tried to help this one dog. While she raised more money than she had expected, she said that anything left over is still going to help that one animal or will be donated to a local animal shelter.
While getting care for the dog, which she has renamed Waggie May, a search was underway for her owner. The owner was found but had abandoned the dog.
Ms. Benson said that the police officer helping with Waggie’s case believes that the dog was involved in a tense divorce situation where the person who received custody of the dog decided they did not want her and allowed her to escape.
Ms. Benson believes the dog was kept in a crate for most of her life. The tail injury might have occurred when she was let out and gnawed her own tail.
Waggie still has a medical journey ahead of her, but Ms. Benson said she is happy to have her around.
“I’ve really grown attached to her. She’s a good little pup,” she said.