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Help Us Keep Our Promise to Rhoda

The RAPS Animal Hospital is appealing to the community to help save the life of Rhoda, a nine-year-old Chihuahua-mix. Rhoda has an extremely low heartbeat and requires a pacemaker to save her life. 

The Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS) operates the RAPS Animal Hospital, B.C.’s largest full-service, not-for-profit veterinary facility. RAPS, a no-kill animal-serving agency now celebrating 25 years of saving and improving the lives of animals. RAPS’ mission is to help animals … and their people.

“Rhoda came to us in December after we issued a call for families who could use a little veterinary help over the holidays during this challenging year,” says Eyal Lichtmann, RAPS’ CEO. “Rhoda’s story is especially moving. She came to us for a general checkup and doctors discovered an alarmingly slow heart rate.”

Rhoda’s case requires RAPS to engage a cardiac specialist and purchase the pacemaker. The cost is estimated at about $10,000.













Robyn and Keith Wilson and their son, Leo, adopted Rhoda four years ago from a local rescue. She is about nine years old. The family had lost their dog two days earlier – and Rhoda was also suffering a loss. She gave birth to a litter of six puppies, three of whom died.

“She was very healing for us in that period of grief,” says Robyn. “Then she quickly became my son’s little sidekick.”

Leo, who was 10 at the time, experiences anxiety and Rhoda became an instant (unofficial) service dog to him.

“I think it’s just her funny, obsessive, mothering nature,” says Robyn. “She left her puppies and she took on my son. She’s always with him. … She means everything to us.”

The family has experienced hardships due to the pandemic – but a vet bill of thousands of dollars would upset any family’s budget.

“Everyone’s struggling right now,” Robyn says. “This was just a sucker punch.”

A community mobilizing to save Rhoda’s life would be a holiday miracle, she says.

“The community rallying around our little Rhoda is just so heartwarming, to know that it would buy her some more time,” Robyn says. “I’m just so full of gratitude even thinking about it.”

Says Lichtmann: “Since we opened the hospital less than three years ago, we have provided almost $2 million in partially or fully subsidized vet care to animals in households with low incomes or facing other challenges, as well as to first responders and other heroes,” “We recognize that helping animals very often means helping their people too. This new vision for RAPS has allowed us to assist ten times the number of animals each year than we were just five years ago.”

Rhoda’s case is an example of innovation in veterinary care. Interventions such as heart surgery, long common in human medicine, are becoming more common in veterinary medicine. For example, RAPS Animal Hospital is home to Canada’s only hyperbaric oxygen therapy facility for animals, providing non-invasive healing care. It is one of many innovations in animal healthcare revolutionizing the veterinary sector.

“Some people might think $10,000 is a lot to pay to save the life of a single animals,” Lichtmann acknowledged. “RAPS is a no-kill organization. We cherish the life of every animal. If we think we can save a life, and we have the capacity to do so, we will. A humane society values every life. We know there are people in the community who will step up and help us create a holiday miracle for this family.”

Donations are welcomed at https://www.rapsbc.com/emergency-cases/ 

Photos and video are available at https://www.rapsbc.com/media-assets/ 

If RAPS is unable to raise the entirety of the amount required for this procedure or if, for any reason, Rhoda ceases to be a suitable candidate for surgery, these funds will be allocated to RAPS Emergency Cases Fund to save the lives of other animals in extreme need.


The Regional Animal Protection Society is celebrating 25 years of saving and improving the lives of animals.  

RAPS was recognized this year as Best Community Organization and Best Veterinarian in the Richmond News “Best of Richmond” competition, as well as being recognized by the Richmond Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards as winner in the Community Association and Business Excellence categories. 

Animals make our lives, families, neighbourhoods and communities safer, healthier and happier. RAPS is proud to help animals and their people. 

Contributions to help RAPS save and improve the lives of animals can be made securely at rapsbc.com