This Winter Park resident has spent $50K saving shelter dogs one heartworm treatment at a time


Jacki Webb and her friend Duke, who's currently available for adoption at OCAS - PHOTO COURTESY ORANGE COUNTY PRESS OFFICE
  • photo courtesy Orange County press office
  • Jacki Webb and her friend Duke, who's currently available for adoption at OCAS
Not to be sappy, but we could all use a little good news, right? So here's a wonderful person doing an excellent thing. Winter Park resident Jackie Webb has donated nearly $50,000 (and counting) to Orange County Animal Shelter’s heartworm sponsorship program.

Webb has paid $19,600 to sponsor 97 dogs for heartworm treatment so far in 2018, with another $14,350 pledged in the future. In 2017, she also sponsored 36 dogs with a total donation of $12,600. Webb’s generous donation equates to a total of 133 dogs sponsored and a lifetime giving of $46,550 so far.

If you read our weekly "Gimme Shelter" feature, you know that often OCAS puts up dogs for adoption who have heartworm, but always with the caveat that their treatment is sponsored.

"The life-saving initiative allows donors in the community to pay the costs for heartworm treatment, allowing sick homeless pets to be more easily adopted," OCAS PIO Alyssa Chandler tells Orlando Weekly. (Alyssa is also a key part of those adorable cat and dog photos we run in "Gimme Shelter" each week.)

“I’m fortunate to own a business so we have the means and the desire to help these animals,” Webb says. “This program is making a difference because many people aren’t aware of heartworm disease or don’t have the money to treat it. Animals deserve a chance to live.”

Some facts about heartworm disease:
  • People cannot get heartworms from their dogs. It is a specific parasite that affects only dogs and, occasionally, cats.
  • Dogs cannot transmit heartworms to each other. Only a bite from an infected mosquito can transmit the disease.
  • Heartworm disease can be avoided by treating your dog with heartworm preventatives either topically, by pill or via injections.
  • A dog can get heartworm disease even after he or she has been successfully treated and cured. That is why prevention is so crucial.

The OCAS heartworm program has sponsored 419 dogs since its launch in November 2016. There are approximately 20 sponsors who contribute to the program.

You can donate to the OCAS Heartworm Treatment Sponsorship Program here, or sign up to volunteer with the shelter here.