Va. woman uses crowd funding to raise $5,000 for dog that needs pacemaker

How far would you go to keep a pet alive? One local woman turned to crowd funding on the internet to raise thousands of dollars for her 10-year-old Chihuahua who needed a pacemaker -- and she did so in just a few days.

"When we adopted her, we had no idea she had a heart problem," said Paola Hernandez.

She adopted 10-year-old Shelby just a few months ago. Shortly after, her four-legged fur baby rescue started fainting while on walks.

Then they got the news -- Shelby had a serious heart problem and needed a pacemaker.

All expenses considered, they were looking at a $10,000 veterinarian bill.

"To us, it's like our children," said Hernandez.

She said they decided to adopt Shelby for their other dog, Dooko, had anxiety problems. When they found out Shelby was sick, getting her medical attention was a must because she was family.

So they turned to GoFundMe where they found a community of others with animals in need, and an abundance of people who were willing to give.

"People we don't know, they are all strangers, and it is definitely a blessing to see that there are people who care," said Hernandez.

For some, spending that kind of money on an animal would be out of the question, especially when statistics show more than five million people nationwide will have heart failure.

But Shelby's veterinarian said they see owners who are more than willing to spend whatever the cost.

"They are wonderful and they are sweet and they know we are trying to help," said Dr. Sophia Chiang of VCA Alexandria Animal Hospital. "People understand that connection with animals is very real."

For Hernandez, she makes no apologies for her choice.

"There will always be people who disagree," she said. "But to us, they are our children and I don't have the heart to not help anything that is living."