Column: Say hello to Milo, given a new leg up on life, thanks to generous donors


Milo came to Pasadena Humane with a badly broken leg. Thanks to the generosity of the shelter’s supporters, Milo underwent specialized surgery to save his leg. He’s now recovering in a foster home and is expected to fully recover. Milo is the poster pup for Pasadena Humane’s third annual “Day of Giving.” Now through Tuesday, May 21, all gifts up to $60,000 will be quadruple matched thanks to an anonymous donor. Learn more at

Today’s Pasadena Humane column is written by Dr. Maria Pyrdek, chief veterinarian at Pasadena Humane.

As chief veterinarian at Pasadena Humane, I see thousands of animals come through our doors every year. My job is to make sure each individual gets the best quality care possible while at the shelter.

Last month, a very special puppy came to Pasadena Humane in need of extensive veterinary care. A good Samaritan found the scruffy 2-month-old terrier alone in a local park. He could not put any weight on his left hind leg and our team knew there was a serious medical issue.

Our shelter medicine team jumped into action to help this 5-pound puppy we soon named Milo. We started pain medications to make him comfortable and performed a diagnostic workup to determine what was wrong.

X-rays and a veterinary exam revealed Milo was suffering from a badly broken leg. The location of the break meant splinting the leg was not an option.

Milo faced two possibilities — we could either amputate the entire leg or provide a specialized surgical procedure to align the bones with a plate and save the limb. With no treatment, he would have faced a life of painful disfiguration, arthritis and discomfort.

Thankfully, our community of generous supporters rallied to help us provide Milo with the orthopedic surgery needed to save his leg. With the funds secured, we quickly rushed Milo into surgery at a specialty veterinary practice.

The surgery was successful, but he wasn’t out of the woods yet! He spent a few days recovering at the shelter under the close supervision of a veterinarian. During this time, no staff member was immune to his charms — he won many hearts, including, of course, mine.

One thing that has always impressed us about Milo was that from the moment he arrived, even with a serious injury, he was incredibly happy and upbeat in every interaction.

Every single time he saw a person, he was so excited. The sound of his tail thumping against his kennel became the regular soundtrack to the daily operations of the hospital clinic.

Once we were certain Milo was on the road to recovery, he was transferred to a foster home to continue healing. He does daily physical therapy focused on mobility and strengthening exercises. We feel confident he will soon regain full use of his leg.

As he healed, Milo’s true puppy personality emerged. No longer in pain, Milo is now a mischievous little goofball.

I will see Milo back in the clinic for one more recheck and I feel confident that he will regain full functionality of his leg and go on to live a full and happy 4-legged life. I anticipate that he’ll be healed enough to be available for adoption very soon.

Saving the lives of animals like Milo takes an enormous number of resources. I am grateful to be serving as a veterinarian in a shelter with the community support that allows us to provide the best possible care.

The delight that comes from knowing that Milo’s injury will become only a memory and a story rather than a permanent life altering event is immense.

It’s thanks to the generosity of our supporters that we can help the thousands of animals like Milo that enter our shelter in need every year. To help ensure that we are always there for animals in need, we started our own ”Day of Giving” campaign.

This coming Tuesday, May 21, will be Pasadena Humane’s third annual “Day of Giving.” It’s a day where we ask our community to become heroes for homeless animals and pets in need by making a tax-deductible donation to the shelter.

Now through May 21, all gifts up to $60,000 will be quadruple matched thanks to an anonymous donor.

Donating isn’t the only way you can give back to the animals. Consider volunteering, fostering or adopting a pet. Our first “Free Adoption Day” of the year will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, May 25.

Together, we can make our community a better place for the animals who bring us so much love and joy.

To learn more about Pasadena Humane’s third annual “Day of Giving,” visit


Dia DuVernet, president and CEO of Pasadena Humane, has the day off.

This blog post originally appeared as a column in the Pasadena Star-News on May 17, 2024.