Local Teenager Saves Puppy’s Life

June 9, 2022



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“Too frequently there would be animals that would come in to the hospital that were savable,” says Ethan Rappaport, a teenage assistant working at a south Florida emergency veterinary center during summer break.  But, often, pet owners could not afford emergency treatment.  Ethan (pictured above with his dog Bear) would write in files as to why the dog died.  “And, then I had to prepare the pets for pick up by the cremation service,” he added solemnly. “It just happened too often.  I looked at the cases and realized this could be fixed.”

Ethan was a freshman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the February 14th, 2018 school shooting that left 17 fellow classmates and teachers dead.  Fortunate to have walked out of school that day, Ethan knew then, that he wanted to do something very meaningful and special with his life.  He has since created SAVE-FL, a non-profit 501(c)3 combining his love of animals with the goal of positively impacting the community.  Ethan has help from his brother Jack (Save-FL President) and Will Reichenbach (Treasurer).

Often, companion animals are presented to emergency and critical care hospitals with an unexpected, but savable emergency or illness.  But, when the owners are unable to pay for services, animals whose illnesses are terminal without intervention are often euthanized instead.  The goal of SAVE-FL is to step in and help, when the owner cannot afford treatment.

This was the case recently when Annie, an adorable 5-month-old puppy, needed emergency surgery. Annie had spent a few days vomiting, so her owner took Annie to their family veterinarian.  After some initial tests and medication, Annie was not improving.  So, she was referred to Advanced Veterinary Care Center (AVCC) in Davie, FL.  Upon further diagnosis, Annie needed emergency surgery to remove a facemask she had eaten.  Her owner had already spent $2,000 and could not afford the surgery.  She told doctors she was going to have to put Annie down. That’s when Anna at AVCC, told her about SAVE-FL.  After a quick financial assessment of the family’s financial need, SAVE-FL was able to step in and pay for Annie’s life-saving surgery.

For Ethan, it is a vision turned into reality. “I hope SAVE-FL will save lives and give these families a second chance with their beloved pets.  If I can help even five families keep their pets, that would definitely be special.”

SAVE-FL operates fully on donations from the community.  You can make a difference to a pet and their family, by making a tax-deductible donation, here.

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