Rescue dog inspires new fund for canine patients with liver conditions

Finn sitting on a couch looking at the camera
Finn's rare condition inspired owner Christina Fried to create a fund in his name to help others. Photo provided.

After spending his first few months on the streets of New York City, Finn the mixed-breed dog found his family in Christina Fried ’94, who adopted him into her home in 2006. Just before his second birthday, however, he started showing signs of a serious, chronic illness.

Fried brought Finn to the veterinarians at Blue Pearl, where College of Veterinary Medicine alumna Jean Ferreri ’88, DVM ’97 sent him to surgery to find a treatable anomaly. When no surgically correctable anomaly was found, she diagnosed him with primary portal vein hypoplasia, an incurable disease that affects blood in the liver.

Fried and Ferreri were able to keep the disease at bay by managing the symptoms and warding off complications. Treatment for such a disease can be time-intensive and costly, but their combined determination enabled Finn to live an additional nine years with his family, which is unusual for a dog with this condition.

“He brought such happiness and joy to all the people he encountered, and I truly believe that he made us become better people,” said Fried.

To honor Finn, Fried established Finn’s Fund. The fund will assist other families whose dogs are facing a vascular liver abnormality, with the intent that they have high-quality care and treatment choices without financial hardship. Eligibility is based on the recommendation of referring veterinarians and the Cornell University Hospital for Animals, where the fund is housed. Qualifications include financial need, hopeful prognosis for quality of life, treatment compliance, and dedication to medical management of the disease.

"Finn was a constant reminder to myself and those around him of all of the good and wonderful things that life can bring,” said Fried. “Although his absence leaves a big hole in all of our lives, I feel so lucky to have been able to share his life and so grateful for every day that we were able to extend it through the treatment designed by his doctors and Cornell.”

Patient assistance funds like Finn’s are critical to the college’s efforts in providing excellent care for all patients. Donations to these funds can be made at their website. More information about qualifying for this fund can be found here.