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Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation

Summit Bridge Veterinary Hospital is honored to help save more animal lives through Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation, established by Dr. Berkeridge. This 100% volunteer-run, no-kill animal rescue organization promotes the support of homeless and unwanted pets to becoming happy, healthy, adoptable family members.

The Mission of Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation

  • To educate the public about animal care to prevent neglect, cruelty, and suffering for pets
  • To help reduce the number of homeless pets in our community through our spay/neuter programs
  • To facilitate the rescue, medical treatment, rehabilitation, and adoptive placement of dogs and cats
  • To fundraise in order to provide:
    • Medical care
    • Food and shelter
    • Spay/neuter services
    • Educational materials
  • To support volunteers by providing:
    • Training and supplies
    • Volunteer recognition
  • To develop partnerships and collaborative relationships with other organizations and businesses to support our vision

Because Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation is run completely by volunteers, all donations go directly to the care and rehabilitation of rescued dogs and cats.

Download our brochure for more information!

Kittens In Box

How to Support the Foundation

There are several ways you can support Cheyla’s Rescue Foundation:

Cheyla’s Story

One day I got a knock on my door from a neighbor down the street who was a police officer with the local police department. He knew that several veterinary students lived in our house and asked if any of us would be willing to foster a dog that was recently taken from a pit bull fighting facility. Apparently, a large number of dogs were taken from the facility and the county didn’t have the resources to house them all. He went on to say that most of them were injured or ill and a great number of them were aggressive. There was a court case pending so they couldn’t be adopted out yet and they were in desperate need of more care than the county could provide.

I wrestled with the idea of an aggressive, injured/ill dog in my house with my other dog and my roommates- worried about injuring myself or my housemates- but only for a minute. About 30 minutes later, I was at the county holding facility looking at dogs. Once they found out I was a vet student, they directed me to three very ill young dogs. They were all in a concrete, chain-link, old, and somewhat dirty run. Two of them came up to me to sniff me guardedly and I almost missed the third. She was about ½ the size of the other two and curled up under a little concrete bench.

I had to look hard to determine if she was still alive- she wasn’t breathing right and she wouldn’t move- even when the other dogs stepped on her. I ran inside the building, concerned for her safety and they reported that they couldn’t get to her because she was too aggressive but I could take one of the other two home to foster. I asked to try to get to her so I could examine her and get her help but they were concerned about liability, denied my request, and ultimately asked me to leave.

Even though it was a Saturday and the school was closed, the dean of the college graciously answered her phone and listened to my plea for help for this little dog that was in rough shape and no one was able to help. I’m not sure what happened after that but I got a call from the holding facility not 10 minutes later telling me I could come back and try to get her out.

By the time I got to her, she was barely able to even growl and show her teeth at me she was so weak. I took her straight to the community practice at school for evaluation. We sedated her and found numerous medical problems. She had a wound between her shoulder blades that had cut through muscle and was threatening to become gangrenous. She had a pneumonia that was making it difficult for her to breathe. When looking for the cause of all her hair loss (I wasn’t even quite sure what color she was), we found she was covered in mange mites. No one was quite sure how old she was- she looked aged from her conditions, but I’m betting she was only about 6 months old at the time.

For various bureaucratic nonsensical reasons, they would not allow me to adopt her but I wasn’t about to let them deny her treatment that I was willing to do at my expense. I cleaned and closed the wound on her back, started treatment for the pneumonia and mange. The vet at the practice said she didn’t have much of a chance to survive, especially since we weren’t sure we could get any medications into her as she was still viciously trying to attack anyone that came near her. Fortunately, I was able to keep her partially sedated to rest and get the meds into her for the next few weeks until she healed up. Unfortunately, she became more and more aggressive the better she felt.

My roommate wanted to be a veterinary behaviorist at the time and spent so much time working with her trying to get her to even come out of her crate to go to the bathroom. Sadly, she spent almost 3 months in her kennel in my bedroom as she was too afraid to come out. We fed her with a modified broom handle as she attacked the pole when being fed. We cleaned her waste from the kennel as best we could with another modified stick/rag apparatus, and occasionally sedated her to give her a bath. She was a little better by the end of the 3 months, but my roommate had numerous bite wounds on her arm and leg and I wasn’t much better. We had to consider the possibility that she would never get to the point where she would trust us.

It was just about thanksgiving break at this time and I was planning on going home to Delaware to visit my parents where my other dog was staying but wasn’t sure if I could take her with me safely and was a little terrified to tell my parents just how aggressive she was. Somehow, we managed to get home- and thank goodness--because that is when Cheyla finally relaxed.

She escaped from the car and she ran to viciously attack my other dog, Kayla. My mother and I were terrified! It was just then that an amazing thing happened. My older dog, who was still a little bigger than her at the time, wrestled with her and pinned her to the ground and started licking her all over. A look came over her face like, “you must be my mommy.” And from that moment on, she was suddenly ok. She became instant best friends with my older dog, Kayla who told her that it was okay to like humans and accept food from them. Within 24 hours, we were able to feed Cheyla like a normal dog, let her run around the house, and even trained her to the invisible fence outside.

It took another 3 months before she allowed us to pet her, but once I was able to start, she never left my side. It took another year before she learned to wag her tail.

She has since been my constant companion. I should have named her Shadow, as she is never more than 3 feet from me at any given time, and prefers to be touching me whenever possible.

It has been 10 years since I adopted her and I look back on her story and wonder at all the things that had to go just right in order for us to be together. In all the years since, she has given me nothing but unconditional love and snuggles. Turns out, all she wanted was LOVE.

R.I.P Cheyla
June 2009 - June 2021