Man Cashes Out 401k To Pay $45,000 For Surgery To Save His Dog’s Life

by : Cameron Frew on : 08 Feb 2020 11:43
Man Cashes Out 401k To Pay $45,000 For Surgery To Save His Dog's LifeGoFundMe

Lola the Miniature Schnauzer is dying. With a year – if not months – to live, her owner is digging deep, cashing out his 401k to try and pay for life-saving surgery. 

The 12-year-old pooch appears to be lively as ever as she plays in Jean Sweeny Park in Alameda, California. However, Lola – like 7.8 million other dogs across the US – suffers from mitral valve disease.


Her Bay Area owner, Jason Garrett, says he owes his life to Lola – so now he’s doing whatever he can to repay the favour.

Check out the local news report of Jason and Lola below:


When the mitral valve stops working, abnormal blood flow starts to send liquid to the lungs, which could cause Lola to drown, then experiencing full heart failure. Doctors gave Lola between eight and nine months to live.


Thankfully, there is a solution. Japanese doctor Masami Uechi has pioneered the exact type of open-heart surgery Jason’s dog requires to survive, with a 90% success rate. While it was only available in Japan for quite some time, Dr Uechi is now training surgeons at the University of Florida, making it more accessible and cheaper in the long run.

However, there is a catch – it costs $45,000. ‘I’ve already cashed out my 401K and using every penny of my savings, and I’m also looking into selling my car if need be,’ Jason told ABC7.

Dr. Justin Williams, Lola’s veterinarian cardiologist at OakVet Animal Specialty Hospital in Oakland, explained: 


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. The more experience for efficiency the more available through the US.

The University of Florida’s Dr Simon Swift said surgeries are scheduled to take place this summer, with Lola currently on the waiting list. If she manages to get the procedure, she’ll have another four years of life.

Jason said: 


I suffer from severe depression and bipolar disorder. The reason I continue to survive and even thrive with the disease is Lola. Anything for Lola. She’s family.

To try and help offset the cost of the surgery and travel expenses required, Jason has set up a GoFundMe account. If you have any questions regarding your own pet, Jason has even released his own email – you can reach him at [email protected]

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: Animals, Dogs, Pets, Surgery


GoFundMe and 1 other
  1. GoFundMe

    Lola Needs Open Heart Surgery

  2. ABC7

    Northern California man spending $45,000 on revolutionary surgery to save his dog's life