California man cashes out life savings to try and save his dog’s life

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ALAMEDA, Calif. (CNN) – A California man cashed out his 401(k) in order to try and save his dog’s life.

Lola, a 12-year-old mini Schnauzer, has a life-threatening heart condition that, without treatment, can cause heart failure within a few months to a year.

“We had an episode in November where she came back from a walk and she fainted,” said Garret. “She has an enlarged heart because she has a damaged, what’s called a mitral valve.”

It’s the most common heart issue for dogs and affects millions.

Garret said Lola, a certified therapy dog, has saved his life countless times.

“I suffer from severe depression and bipolar disorder. The reason I continue to survive and even thrive with the disease is Lola,” Garret said.

Thanks to a type of open-heart surgery pioneered by Japanese doctor Masami Uechi, Garret has hope. Uechi’s surgery has a 90 percent success rate, but there’s a catch.

“It’s about $45,000,” Garret said. “I’ve already cashed out my 401(k) and using every penny of my savings. And I’m also looking into selling my car if need be.”

This surgery was only available in Japan, but now surgeons are being trained to do the procedure in Florida.

“Right now it’s a very unique and very high skilled procedure that’s a combination of different teams from around the world coming together,” said Justin Williams, a vet cardiologist.

Garret said the surgery is scheduled for this summer in Florida.

A Go-Fund-Me account has been set up to help offset the cost of the surgery and travel expenses.

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