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Ava’s road to recovery after tragedy

After the tragic traffic collision that took bicyclist Kristopher Cotton’s life on August 31, his dog, Ava, was immediately transported to Charleston Animal Society for emergency medical treatment.

“She suffered severe lacerations, a broken jaw and brain swelling from the accident,” said Leigh Jamison, DVM, Charleston Animal Society associate director of veterinary care. “We got Ava stabilized and then took her to Veterinary Specialty Care to help with her more severe injuries, especially the cerebral edema.”

Ava is a 7-year-old brown lab mix that spent countless hours traveling with Cotton, who had rescued Ava from the side of the road when she was just the size of his hand.

Kay Hyman, director of community engagement with CAS, said that once Ava’s brain swelling went down, she was brought back to CAS for “continued lifesaving care.”

“We are going to do everything we can to make sure this family is taken care of,” said CAS President and CEO Joe Elmore, CFRE, CAWA. “We are heartbroken for Kristopher’s family and are reaching out to our community partners to help the Cottons through this tragedy.”

Hyman relayed that Ava’s medical expenses are significant. CAS’s Medical Fund (Toby’s Fund) is covering the costs, all thanks to the donors that have supported Ava, Cotton and their story.

“At this same time, two other dogs in unrelated cases were also hit by cars and are receiving intensive care at Charleston Animal Society,” said Hyman. To contribute to save Ava and animals like her, visit CharlestonAnimalSociety.org/donate.

Jenda and Jessica Cotton, Kristopher’s mother and sister, are planning to head down to Charleston on Thursday, September 10, to pick up Ava.

“She is doing very well,” wrote Jenda in a Facebook post on the morning of September 8. “She spent the weekend with Miss Kay from CAS and her daughter Zoe. She went on a three-hour run. We are extremely pleased with her progress.”

Jenda added that “the outpouring of love and concern have been a big comfort to our family.” As for the fundraiser, which was set up to help cover the cost of Ava’s medical expenses and Kristopher’s funeral, the public has so far contributed $12,530 as of the afternoon of September 8.

To contribute and/or check for updates on Ava’s progress, visit the GoFundMe page at gofundme.com/f/love-for-kris.

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