All My Children Wear Fur Coats with Peggy Hoyt

For The Love of Alex - Carla Isenberg

March 07, 2023 Carla Isenberg Episode 8
All My Children Wear Fur Coats with Peggy Hoyt
For The Love of Alex - Carla Isenberg
Show Notes Transcript

Join us on the latest episode of All My Children Wear Fur Coats as we speak with Carla Isenberg, the program manager of For the Love of Alex. Discover how this amazing non-profit organization, founded in 2013, provides critical funding for urgent and life-saving veterinary care to pets belonging to low-income families.

Listen in to learn more!

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Hello, pet lovers.

Welcome to All My Children Wear Fur Coats.

I'm your host, Peggy Hoyt.

This show is brought to you by the

law offices of Hoyt and Bryan, where we

create estate plans for pets and their people.

Also brought to you by Animal Care

Trust USA, a national nonprofit dedicated to

keeping loved pets in loving homes.

We do this by educating pet parents about the

importance of getting a pet trust for their loved pet.

We also provide pet trustee services.

Today we are pleased to have

as our special guest Carla Isenberg.

She is the program manager.

For The Love of Alex.

Welcome to this show, Carla.

Thank you for having fun, Peggy. Oh, absolutely.

So this is going to be fun, and I want

to tell our listeners a little bit about you.

Carla has been with the Love of Alex since 2021.

She's a passionate animal lover and has been

an advocate for the well-being of all creatures

great and small for her entire life.

Carla has ten years of experience as a

veterinary technician and her medical knowledge has

been a great asset, too.

For the love of Alex.

Carla has an extensive background in

business administration and works with social

media platforms and marketing.

Carla originally hails from the United Kingdom you'll

be able to tell by her accent and

moved to America as a young adult.

She resides in Pennsylvania with her husband and daughter,

and she is owned by Athena the dog, Lola

Alex II, which we're going to hear all about.

Shiloh and Hamilton, the kitty cats, larry the

turtle, and Buster and Dolly, her resident equines.

Plus, they have a few chickens and ducks.

So when Carla is not working or taking care of

her mini farm, she is camping, hiking, or playing golf.

And we're just thrilled to have her here today.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

Yeah, absolutely.

All right, so we have to start with who is

Alex and how did we fall in love with him

and have an organization named in his honor?

Well, the original Alex was our

founder, elizabeth Hedge's little kitty.

And when Alex was about ten years old, he became

extremely sick and he was diagnosed with bladder stones.

Alex needed emergency surgery, and fortunately for Alex,

elizabeth had the funds to pay for his surgery.

After he recovered, Elizabeth realized that there are other

pet owners out there that may not be able

to afford emergency surgery for their pets, and their

only option is to either euthanize their pet or

surrender them to the shelter.

And so in 2013, for the Love of Alex was born.

Elizabeth ran the organization by herself

for five years until her death.

Unfortunately, Elizabeth was very young and passed away,

and we thought that for the Love of

Alex was going to close down.

But fortunately, her friends stepped up to

help and have kept the organization going.

We've been under a little reconstruction the last

couple of years to keep up with the

trends in the market, and we are actually

doing really flourishing going into 2023.

Well, that's an excellent story and quite

a testament to Elizabeth and her friends

who loved her and her legacy.

So, I understand that after Elizabeth passed

away, her pets needed to be rehomed.

Talk about that a little bit. Yes.

So, Elizabeth had quite a few kiddies.

She donated a large sum of money of

her own to local shelter to help cats

and dogs transition to their new homes.

And her own pets were distributed throughout.

Her friends and I took over the original

Alex's care and his friend Hamilton in 2021.

Sadly, on May 9 of 2022, alex

passed away from a neurological disorder.

He was 18 and a half years old.

He had a wonderful life, and we miss him still.

Dearly, as you can tell, we have a

monument on the wall tributed to Alex.

Very neat.

Well, and it sounds like a trend. There.

Was Elizabeth, a fan of Hamilton?

Is that where Alex and Hamilton came from?

I believe so, yes.

I always think it's funny how we

get the names of our animals.

So, now you have Alex the second.

Tell us about him. Absolutely. Yes.

So, after Alex passed away, we had

not even discussed looking for another cat.

And one day, I was on social media, and

there was a local rescue in Philadelphia that had

an orange and white cat that looked just like

our Alex, and his name was Leroy.

So I contacted Marikai Animal Sanctuary, and Kim, who

runs the sanctuary by herself, with the help of

her mom and a few volunteers, she confirmed that,

yes, Leroy did look like our Alex.

And we talked quite a bit about Leroy and Alex, and we

were lucky that she chose us to let us adopt Alex Jr.

Alex Jr. Right.

Well, and you've introduced me to Alex Jr.

And I have to say that the resemblance

is startling between Alex one and Alex two. Absolutely.


Completely different personalities, but yes.

Well, you wouldn't want them to

be exactly the same, right?

No, not at all. All right.

So, Elizabeth had this fabulous idea of helping people

who might be in a financial dire straits because

they have an animal, either a cat or a

dog, that might have an emergency situation.

And she wanted to make funds available to help those

families so that they could continue to love their animal

and get them the help that they need.

So, tell us how we go about taking advantage of

the opportunity to participate with for the love of Alex.


So, pet owners can go to our website and

under Help My Pet, there is an application form,

and that is the initial application form.

It's general questions about the owner and the

pet, and then we review each case.

And we receive about 40 applications a week.

Unfortunately, we can only take one to two pets

a week, which is something that we most definitely

would like to see increase in the near future.

So once we have approved the first application, then we

will send a second application to the pet owner.

And that's asking for a little bit more detail

as far as income goes, because we want to

help the most less fortunate, the elderly, the disabled,

our veterans out there, a low income family whose

dog has just accidentally fell and broke a leg.

We help anyone that we can within a certain

income level, and they have to prove that with

their tax returns or w two Social Security benefits.

Once that's done, we contact their veterinarian directly

and we will put down a deposit for

whatever treatment or surgery is needed.

We stay in close contact with the owner

and the veterinarian office until the pet has

been given a clean bill of pell.


So folks who are listening, you can go to for the

Love of and then you click on the cute little

icon that says Pets and it will drop down and give

you the opportunity to fill out the application.

And it sounds like, Carla, that you guys are busy, because

when you get an application, you have to act fast.

Yes, absolutely.

We have a 24 hours turnaround period, but obviously if

there is a pet in the hospital that we can

help right now we have what's called an emergency fund.

And the emergency fund is work for the pets

that we don't have time to fundraise for.

They can't wait 24 hours or three days.

The pets that we take, it could be

as simple as a dental cleaning with a

teeth instruction to diaphragmic hernia surgery.

So there is a wide variety of illnesses that we cover.

But you do not cover spay and

neuter operations, nor just routine veterinary care.

Is that right?

We have covered spay and neuter when the pet

is young enough still and has another ailment because

they're already under anesthesia and instead of putting them

through two surgeries back to back, the veterinarian can

take care of that at one time, which is

much better for the pets health long term. Sure.


But you do encourage pet owners who apply

to confirm for you that their pets are

spayed or neutered if they're old enough? Yes.

We are not a spay and neuter clinic.

There's a lot of organizations that have low cost

spayanuda clinics, so we feel that we want to

help those that it's an urgent surgery. Absolutely.

So I think what you're doing is just fabulous.

I love the idea that there

are resources for pet owners.

It appears, from talking to rescues and shelter

organizations, that a lot of pets are surrendered

because the pet parent is having a let's

call it a short term financial crisis.

And this might fall into one of those short

term financial crisis situations where if you can help,

then the people can keep their pets. Yes.

And we actually had a case this weekend.

A dog had broke his leg.

He's playing with he's little human outside

in the yard playing ball, and he

landed awkwardly and broke his leg.

The family, or young family, mum is the sole bread

winner right now because dad had had back surgery.

She was also heavily pregnant and it

was breaking her heart because she just

didn't have the money for the surgery.

Right now.

They were able to find another organization

to put down a deposit for surgery.

And the dog did have surgery, but there was still

a balance that needed to be taken care of.

And that's where we stepped in this

weekend and use the emergency fund.

And the dog is home and doing well.

That's an excellent story and exactly the kind of

thing that we would want to hear from an

organization that does exactly what you do.

So that's terrific.

So I know that people who are listening are

going to want to know how can they help?

What can they do to support the efforts?

For the love of Alex, all of our cases

are funded by donations from pet lovers like you.

We have not received any grants.

We are applying, but it literally comes from

the $5 donors on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter.

We also send an email out every week to

those that have subscribed to our newsletter every week.

And that's how we fund each case. Excellent.

And has the pandemic affected the fundraising

efforts of your organization at all?

Carlson absolutely.

In 2020 and the beginning of 2021 was

probably our lowest fundraising year, we really struggled.

We could not take as many cases as we wanted to.

We were only able to help 33 pets in 2000 and 22,021.

But last year we were able to help 57, which

is an incredible jump up from the previous two years.

Yeah, absolutely.

Well, that sounds great, actually.

And so how do people typically find out about

your organization and the benefits that it offers?

Mostly on social media or on

our website or the Internet.

We're on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube,

Pinterest, all the fun places.

All the fun places, yes.

And we post something on social media pretty

much every day, even if it's just a

follow up to previous pets that we've helped.

And then also once a week we feature the

pet of the week that needs help now. Awesome.

Because you're doing some active fundraising on

a pet by pet basis too.

Yes, we do that.

Those are many of the cases that is going to run into

the two, three, $4,000 where we really need to put it out

there to get as many people to help us as possible.


And although you are located in Pennsylvania, you are

not restricted to only helping people in Pennsylvania?

No, we help pets throughout the United States.

We currently have 15 active cases right

now, and they are in Washington, South

Carolina, Oklahoma, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Ohio, Minnesota,

Texas, and New York. Wow. Okay.

That's quite a reach.

So thank you for that.

All right, I want you to tell us about a couple

of cases that are success stories for the love of Alex,

and one of them was a little five week old kitten.

Tell us about Nubbins.

Yes, so this is such a sad story.

Little Nubbins, he's only a five week old kitten

that had been rescued, and his mum was elderly.

She was disabled and in a wheelchair, and

she accidentally ran over Nubbins and he was

paralyzed, and he absolutely broke her heart.

We got her into the vest immediately.

They did x rays and ultrasound, and luckily

for Nubbins, there was no broken bones.

It was all soft tissue damage.

He did have a slight hairline fracture in

one of his gross plates, but as he

grew, it filled in and he's developed fine.

So, yeah, today Nubbins is a year old kitten

and he's a cat, and he's doing amazing. That's great.

And he's providing the comfort and companionship that

she adopted him for in the first place. Absolutely.

All right, after Nubbins, we have Muffin the dog. Yes.

Muffin was from North Carolina.

He had two softball sized tumors growing in

his groin area, which obviously was affecting his

ability to hold his urine and to walk

properly affected the way he could walk.

And plus, he was kind of overweight because he

wasn't able to get out and have some exercise.

His surgery was $3,500.

And it's something that his mom, elderly mom, who

is on a fixed income, could not afford.

But Muffin, we raised the money through

fundraising for Muffin, and he had surgery

and he made a full recovery.

He's doing great.

That's incredible.

I love that story about Muffin.

All right, we will tell one more success story.

So tell us about Moon, the kitty from New Jersey. Moon.

Oh, my goodness.

So Moon was a naughty boy.

He ate something he shouldn't have, and

he had a complete abdominal obstruction.

He was not eating, not drinking, not using

the bathroom, and he was declining fast.

His mom was a single mother who worked, but she

was low income, and this was her little girl's cat.

And they were absolutely broken hearted that he

was dying literally in front of them.

We went ahead and got a deposit down from

the emergency fund to get Moon into surgery immediately.

But what shocked everyone was what Moon ate.

He had chewed through on eight silicone bracelets that we

have some here for the love of Alex bracelets.

And he'd ate five pieces of that and then a bunch

of string and all that had got stuck in his abdomen.

And he was unable to, like, I say, eat or drink.

And he was really, really sick.

But Moon had surgery.

He bounced back amazingly, went home the

next day and made a full recovery.

That is awesome.

And the little girl got her cat back.

Yeah, that is awesome.

I have had some naughty kids in my lifetime,

too, who have eaten things that they were not

supposed to and ended up getting very sick.

Yes, that is a very frightening and very

emergent situation that absolutely addressed without delay.

So happy that you guys could do that for

all of these animals who were so deserving.

Nubbins and muffin and moon and many more, all

of which you listeners can review success stories online.

So I see lots of happy faces on there.

Chippy smokey and pluto and cane

the dog, willow the cat.

Lots of cats seem to get themselves in trouble here.

The curiosity killed the cat.

That is true. Oh, my goodness.

Well, you have a kitty on there that

looks almost exactly like one of my kitties.

So I would encourage all of our listeners to

do one of two things, so check out the

website for sure, for the love of

Secondarily, find a place in your heart to help

support the efforts of this organization that has helped

so many and continues to help lots and lots

of deserving families and their babies.

What would you like to leave us with today, carla?

I just wanted to say thank you

to everyone that does support our organization.

We couldn't do what we do without these people.

And we have some amazing donors that give so

graciously, and they've been loyal for ten years.

This year, we'll be celebrating our 10th anniversary, and we

just want you to say thank you to everyone that

has supported us and continues to support us.

That's excellent.

And that is quite a milestone. Ten years.


Thank you on your fabulous success.

All right, my dear listeners, please support

this lovely organization, and we will bring

you another interesting story next time.

And you know my personal philosophy.

It is until there are none.

Please adopt one.

And don't forget to get a pet trust.

See you next time. Happy days, else.