ELIZABETH, Colo. -- If your pet needed emergency surgery, but you could not afford the life saving procedure, what would you do?
Some people have no choice but to put down their pet but 7Everyday Hero Mary Cartwright is changing that.
She founded a non-profit called Ginger's Legacy to help low income Coloradans pay for emergency medical procedures for their pets.
"Well, the name Ginger was one of my dogs," Cartwright said.
Cartwright got the idea while at her vet's office and she spotted two pet owners faced with a difficult decision.
"So the lady went to her kids and the told them, ‘You have a choice. We can fix your dog or you can have Christmas, but you can't have both.’ And the wheels were turning in my head for both cases and I thought: If I'm ever in a position to have enough money I'm going to help these kinds of people," Cartwright said.
Soon after, Cartwright's parents passed away and left her with a small inheritance.
"I invested it all. I didn't need the money because I was working. I budgeted with my own money $10,000 a year for Ginger's Legacy. So, every penny that we get donated to us goes to the welfare of the animal," Cartwright said.
Cartwright works closely with the veterinarians, like Christopher Morris, MS, DVM at Meridian Animal Hospital in Parker.
"We work with the vet. We pay the vet, we don't pay the client. That way we know the veterinarian is getting his money," Cartwright said.
"Most people, they're doing just fine, they're paying their bills but then the dog gets hit by a car and now they have a choice of paying the electric bill or helping their pet," said Babette Crawford, Ginger's Legacy board member.
That was the case for Stephanie Melman. Her dog Ikea swallowed something she wasn't supposed to and needed emergency surgery to survive.
The medical procedure was something Melman could not afford.
"Ikea would have probably been euthanized because she was so sick. My finances were so tight I could not afford to take care of her on my own. So, with Ginger's Legacy they came in and helped pay a portion of her medical bills so I could save her life," Melman said.
Ginger's Legacy has been around for more than ten years and helped more than 200 dogs and cats across Colorado.
The pets’ owners are eternally grateful.
"There's a lot to be thankful for," Melman said.
To learn more about Ginger's Legacy go to www.gingerslegacy.com.
Mitch Jelniker anchors Denver7 in the mornings from 4:30 to 7 a.m. He also features a different 7Everyday Hero each week on 7NEWS. Follow Mitch on Facebook and Twitter. Nominate a 7Everyday Hero here.