When Kali got sick a year and a half ago, Denise Daniels-Barbacci didn’t know what to do.She visited three veterinarians, two locally, one in Malvern. She drove her beloved German shepherd, two children, and “the whole nine yards” back and forth between their home in Dallas and the veterinarian offices.
“Traveling was quite a bit for me to do,” Daniels-Barbacci said. And then the situation with Kali’s anal sacs got worse as the sacs became more irritated. “It didn’t take too long for the dog to go downhill,” Daniels-Barbacci said.
The 4-year-old canine would spin around in circles, cry and continuously drag her behind on the floor. Daniels-Barbacci took her to a specialist who told her the dog would need surgery that cost more than $5,000, along with significant care. But, the dire condition of her dog wasn’t the only issue: She wasn’t sure she could come up with the money to pay for the operation.
Daniels-Barbacci, 35, a resident of Dallas for the past four years, was recently divorced and a single mother of two.Money was tight and the timing couldn’t have been any worse. She had just lost her car because of mechanical problems and knew she wouldn’t be able to buy Christmas presents for her little ones if she had to pay for the surgery. But, she was ready to take care of her Kali Bear, as the family calls the dog. While working as a waitress at Fox Hill Country Club, she met Dr. Inayat Kathio, a Pittston veterinarian, and told him about her dog’s condition.
“I just thought he was another veterinarian and didn’t really care about my problem,” she said.
Daniels-Barbacci, a Wilkes-Barre native who moved back to this area after living out of state for four years, worked as a tax examiner for the IRS for many years, said Kathio told her the operation could put Kali’s life at risk. But, Kali’s condition was declining, and right before Christmas, the dog’s anal sacs burst, causing a colon infection.
Kathio told Daniels-Barbacci the operation would cost nearly $5,000 because the dog’s condition was so bad, and Kali should have been put to sleep. He added that he wouldn’t charge a fee if the animal died but would if Kali lived. The dog survived the surgery and Kathio didn’t ask for any money.
“He got to know my circumstances,” she said. “Without this man, my kids wouldn’t have had a Christmas, I wouldn’t have a home. He saved me, my heart, my head and my livelihood.”
She estimated that Kathio donated a total of $8,000 in services.
“He’s given me hope. He’s being a friend to me, and I’ve done nothing but wait on his table at Fox Hill (Country Club),” Denise said.
And Kali is healing. The dog that once cried day and night is back to her old self, ripping up the garbage, playing with the garden hose and chasing bubbles, her favorite playtime activity.
“She’s eating good, too,” Daniels-Barbacci said. “She’s gained 15 to 20 pounds since she got sick. We’re all amazed at how big she’s getting. Daniels-Barbacci’s children, 13-year-old Michael and Lia, 8, marvel at the dog’s recovery.
“They’ve had Kali since she was a baby,” Daniels-Barbacci said. “If she would have died, it would have killed them. But it showed them there is such a thing as survival.”
Not having to pay for the surgery also means Daniels-Barbacci can purchase furniture for her bare living room, and begin to remodel her home.
She had heard other stories about Kathio, but said Kathio not only saved her dog’s life, but made a difference for her family.
“God brought me this man,” she said. “Without him, I would have had to sacrifice my home, or something more. He’s my guardian angel.”