A local hero, who saved people from a burning home two years ago and then turned his own life around after facing addiction only to give back to those still suffering, has gone through it all with his best friend and dog Zippy by his side.
Wherever Gord Portman goes, Zippy does too.
But now another tragedy has struck. While Portman was doing outreach work on the outreach bus in Penticton nearly two weeks ago, he took Zippy, a six-pound Fox Terrier, out of his jacket so he could drive the bus.
It was in that quick moment that Zippy licked up some cocaine that had methamphetamine in it, said Portman.
“I am over two and a half years clean. He is always in my jacket, he’s so small. I’m just devastated. Right away Zippy started acting crazy and we knew something was really wrong,” said Portman.
He had to rush Zippy to Fairfield Animal Hospital in Kelowna. The dog’s blood test revealed that Zippy had ingested cocaine that had meth in it.
The vet bill to save Zippy was expensive and they needed him to pay upfront. Luckily a friend came through and he’s since paid that person back. But that leaves an empty bank account.
Zippy is now at home resting but he’s lost over two pounds in five days.
“He isn’t eating or drinking today,” said Portman through tears. “He’s so lethargic, he can’t even jump onto the couch. He needs medication.”
“He’s my recovery dog, he’s my best friend. He has helped hundreds of recovering addicts and goes with me everywhere I go. He’s still in critical condition. He will never do outreach again.”
Zippy has another vet appointment at Dr. Anderson Veterinary Clinic on Monday but Portman doesn’t have the funds to pay.
“I’m just starting to live again,” he said. “I have nothing left in my bank account.”
Portman said he hates to ask for help but would do anything for Zippy.
If you have any money to give, here is how you can donate.
Anderson Veterinary Clinic at 402 Industrial Ave. E is taking care of Zippy and can accept cash donations at the clinic — just mention Portman and Zippy by name. Even $5 or $10 can help, said Portman.
Portman can also accept e-transfers via email@example.com. Just use Zippy as the answer.