Victoria Blackburn, holds her little dog Margie, a 14-year-old Schnauzer mix with a host of medical problems whose life was saved by the intervention of Sam’s Hope, a non-profit organization in Wyndmoor.

by Marianne Iaquinto

In June, we were contacted by a very upset and desperate woman, Victoria Blackburn, whose little dog Margie, needed levothyroxine. In December 2017, Margie, a 14-year-old Schnauzer mix who was adopted by her mom from the Pa. SPCA in 2009, was diagnosed as hypothyroid and was prescribed 200 mcg of levothyroxine two times per day.

In May, the veterinary clinic (a very well-funded animal organization in Philly) that was treating Margie refused to refill her prescription because her mom could not afford to bring her in to recheck her thyroid levels. Thus, Margie was without medications for almost a month when mom contacted us for help; poor Margie was lethargic and had no interest in eating or playing. Her mom thought for sure she was going to lose her friend.

We were able to get meds to Margie immediately, thanks to Mt. Airy resident Janet Mass, owner of Biscuit’s Getaway, a pet service that offers pet sitting, walking, etc., who gave up her Saturday afternoon to drive the medications to Margie’s home in Southwest Philly. Margie has now been on the meds for a full month, and today she went to a new veterinary clinic for an exam, full blood panel + T4, rabies shot and refill of her prescription.

Little Margie also has other issues; she is partially blind, and her teeth are in terrible condition. We are hoping mom and Margie can make the trip to our partner vet for a dental cleaning and extractions. Recently she was also peeing blood and constantly urinating on the floors. I told her that this could be as simple as a UTI or bladder stones and certainly not a reason to put Margie down. She also has difficulty walking due to arthritis, but I say she has a few more good years with her mom, living the spoiled life. In the meantime, she is on antibiotics to keep things cooled down.

On Oct. 31, Victoria sent me an email, stating “I have GOOD NEWS! Margie is looking well. Today she looks good, still sleeping, but she is comfortable looking. I went to the kitchen area, and there was no urine; her bedding wasn’t soiled either. Margie made her last urine around 10:45 p.m. yesterday, and it was a regular peepee. I’m really happy because my baby is getting well. Thank you so much. You have done a miracle.”

Margie has difficulty walking due to arthritis, but she has a few more good years with her mom, living the spoiled life.

On another very important issue, shortly following the devastation of Hurricane Florence, Sam’s Hope donated 881 pounds of pet food and supplies to Hurricane Florence Relief Collections Mid Atlantic, a group of local animal rescues, to help with relief efforts in two North Carolina counties terribly affected by the hurricane.

Also, a big thank you to Enterprise Rent-A-Car and to my cousins, Dan and Kristen Silverman, for the use of their donated cargo van, which was used by the group to load up additional food and supplies and to bring back dogs left homeless by the hurricane.

(Ed. Note: Marianne Iaquinto is the founder — in February, 2013 — of Sam’s Hope, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Wyndmoor that provides pet food at no cost to impoverished pet owners who can no longer afford to feed their pets and would have to turn them over to shelters, possibly to be euthanized, if not for the food provided by Sam’s Hope.)

Sam’s Hope was inspired by Iaquinto’s beloved Shih Tzu, Samantha, and her awareness of the current economic climate which forces many pet owners to surrender or abandon their pets. In the last four years Sam’s Hope has distributed more than 285,000 pounds of pet food via five food pantries, two pet food pantries, three support inhome programs, two subsidized senior living complexes and directly to individual pet owners in need. Sam’s Hope has also awarded 241 veterinary care assistance grants to 146 dogs and 95 cats.

For more information about Sam’s Hope: 267-753-0510; or