Lil Pickles Da Pug

People in Toronto raise nearly $30k in 24 hours to help save famous pug

A five-year-old pug that is beloved by both her family and her 229,000 Instagram followers is currently fighting for her life in the ICU, and Toronto residents have raised tens of thousands of dollars in just a single day to help pay for her pricey medical care.

Pickles, known widely online as "Lil Pickles Da Pug," was diagnosed with idiopathic epilepsy back in 2018, according to owner Sarah Mitchell, but the disorder had been relatively under control for the past couple of years. 

That is until she suffered a status epilepticus event, meaning she went into uncontrollable and constant grand mal seizures that had no recovery time between each one, on Jan. 17.

"We rushed her to the local emergency vet, where they worked on stabilizing her," Mitchell told blogTO. 

"She spent almost two days in a medically-induced coma and intubated. She has now developed aspiration pneumonia from her seizures as well. It is too early to tell if she will have any permanent damage from this event, but we're hopeful she will not."

Yesterday, Pickles was transported to a second emergency hospital that is better equipped for the level of care she needs. And while she is no longer in an induced coma or intubated, she is heavily sedated and on forced oxygen. 

"Overall, she is comfortable, but critical," said the dog's owner, adding that Pickles will also have to have an MRI once she is stable enough.

Mitchell first started an Instagram page for Pickles with the intention of using it as a place to share pictures of the pug with family and friends while also documenting her life, but she said she had no idea it would take off the way it did.

"Her personality really began to shine and it just took off," Mitchell told blogTO. "We love being able to spread joy and laughs with her friends and fans."

And with so many people following Pickles' life online, it's no surprise those same people are stepping up in her time of need. 

Earlier this week, Mitchell started a GoFundMe campaign to help pay for some of Pickles' medical expenses, which she said are "astronomical."

In just 24 hours, Pickles's fans donated almost $30,000 to help ensure the dog receives the very best medical care. 

"We are beyond overwhelmed and blessed by all the love and support for Pickles and us as a family," said Mitchell. "I can't even begin to express my gratitude for everyone's support in this difficult time."

Throughout her time as a social media influencer, Pickles has brought endless joy and laughter into the lives of all those who've gotten a kick out of one of her many costumes or had their day brightened by her adorable facial expressions. 

Pickles' page has become a community over the years, according to Mitchell, and now that community simply wants to see the very dog that brought them together in the first place return home safe and sound.

"Pickles is my entire world, my best friend," Mitchell said.

"She is a massive part of our family. She has such a huge personality and presence to her. She is a constant source of love and joy for us and her whole community. Everyone really enjoys her silly antics, and we would all love to see her return to that as soon as possible."

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