SAN ANTONIO – It was a tiny Yorkshire Terrier that would change attorney Ami Gordon’s life forever. That change, would inspire Gordon to save hundreds of thousands of needy pets in our community.
“Daisy was the most inspiring 7-pound package anyone could ever find,” Gordon said. "She was the most. Inspiring, joyous, being. I always would tease her that she was an angel in a dog costume."
Spunky and full of life, Daisy had a larger-than-life personality, but at the age of 5, her life took a turn for the worst.
“Overnight, she had a grand mal seizure which if you've ever seen an animal or a person have a seizure, it's incredibly disturbing,” Gordon said. “It lasted about four minutes so we rushed her to the vet.”
Gordon said while at the vet, doctors could not stop Daisy from seizing. She eventually fell into a coma that lasted several days.
“They did diagnose her with something called GME, which is a brain disease that, basically for most animals, often they don't survive more than a week once they're diagnosed,” Gordon said. “I remember going outside and pacing and I remember crying and everything I was wearing. I just started praying. Truly with all of my heart, I asked God to save Daisy and promise that I would spend the rest of my life saving animals.”
Things changed when Gordon went back to Daisy’s side.
“Daisy looked at me and she blinked and I said, ‘Oh my God! She just blinked!’ They were like ‘No, it's a reflex,’ and I could have sworn that dog just blinked. Then she blinked again! So then it became clear that she was coming out of her coma because she moved her little foot and then she began to try to stand.”
Though, out of her coma, Daisy had a major list of health issues ahead of her. She had to take 27 medications a day, lost her sight, had developed diabetes, seizures and a brain disease. No matter what, her spirit stayed strong which motivated Gordon to stay true to her promise to God.
“The feeling that I had when I was at the hospital, I would have done anything to save my dog,” Gordon said. “There are people who feel that way and do not have the resources and that broke my heart.”
So she started doing her research to find ways to provide food, vet care, and more resources for pets in needy families. She teamed up with the San Antonio Food Bank, ultimately creating the nonprofit Daisy Cares.
“It really took a lot of work to get this idea of like ‘We you know we want to help provide pet food and vet care and resources.’ It was a lot of hard work to get to get it going and get supporters,” Gordon said.
That hard work paid off. Gordon had found ways to make Daisy’s mission come to life that included education to the community on how to better care for pets. She also helped create a program to rehabilitate animal cruelty offenders. Her next idea was to build a barn.
“You know, we try to get as many people as possible to do pet food drives and stuff like that but it is hard to try to get the kids to be engaged with animals because we didn’t have any animals to show when we would interact with them in our community so it hit me. I thought, ‘Let’s build a barn!’’
So she had a barn built at the food bank where children and families could go to interact with domestic animals of different kinds.
“I truly believe a miracle happened in that hospital and somehow you know, God heard my prayer and Daisy lived to carry on this cause,” Gordon said.
Daisy, who wasn’t expected to live more than a week after her diagnosis, ended up living until she was 12 years old.
“She still fetched and she still played and you know she just always, I mean, it made me think I have nothing to complain about,” Gordon said. “This dog can be blind diabetic and have a major brain disease and still be doing flip-flops off the couch. It was just a really great example of how to live your life.”
Daisy crossed the rainbow bridge in 2016, but during and after her life, her mission has helped over 130,000 families, over 240,000 pets and has had over 1.3 million pounds of pet food donated.
“I look at the faces of the animals we helped and the people and the stories are so beautiful that you know I'm always moved to tears,” Gordon said.
Though her precious Daisy isn’t physically around anymore, Gordon said her spirit will live on until the day she dies.
“I feel her spirit with me always,” said Gordon. “You know, I think that she's still here and she's still watching and still helping to make sure our animals are taken care of and keeping us all on our toes to work as hard as we can to help as many animals as we can. All we can ask for is that people be kind to animals no matter what.”