Harold and Kumar's Journey - An Underdog Story


In mid-August of 2023, Humane Officers from the Humane Society of Ventura County received a call regarding a case of potential animal neglect. Upon arrival at the home, our Officers met two adult dogs, now known as Emma and Bartolo, and their two puppies. The puppies, affectionately named Harold and Kumar by our shelter staff, were about five months old at the time. The animal owners had previously tried to get the two adult dogs altered but were unable to schedule an appointment before Emma fell pregnant. They stated they could no longer care for the dogs and had previously tried to find homes for them no success. After working with Humane Officers, the owners agreed it would be in the best interest of the animals to be signed over to the Humane Society of Ventura County.  

"This case was a prime example of an animal owner not having resources readily available to them. They were doing their best with what they had and ultimately put the dogs' welfare before their affection and love because they knew it was the best option for them to be surrendered," said Humane Investigations Director Kendra King.

Shelter staff helped Emma and Bartolo settle into the kennels upon intake. As unvaccinated puppies, Harold and Kumar were housed separately in our grooming room until their intake vaccines could take effect. However, the friendly puppies began exhibiting common symptoms of Parvovirus within a few days after arriving at the shelter. Their symptoms prompted staff to test Harold and Kumar for Parvo using a rapid “snap” test. Unfortunately, the test was positive for the virus.  

Canine Parvovirus is an extremely contagious disease that destroys the intestinal lining of dogs and can cause lethargy, vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and even death if left untreated. The virus is very common in shelters, which is why each dog that enters our facility receives the Parvo vaccine before joining the rest of our kennel population. 

After testing positive, Harold and Kumar were moved into our isolation room to prevent further spread of the virus. Staff who entered the room wore head-to-toe disposable protective gear and were not in contact with any other shelter dogs as they cared for the puppies. Senior Kennel Attendant Natalie Pagnusat and Kennel Attendant Rachel White worked together to keep the puppies comfortable while Equine Manager Christina Malleck and Veterinary Assistant Gaby Goldberg gave the puppies fluids and additional medical care.  

Because HSVC does not have a veterinarian on site 24/7, shelter staff quickly determined that Harold and Kumar’s best chance of survival was to transfer them to an animal hospital where they could receive round-the-clock care. With the help of the shelter staff, Humane Investigations Director King was able to load the rapidly declining pups into a vehicle and transport them to Horizon Veterinary Specialist in Ventura on August 22nd, 2023.  

The petite pups spent nearly a week together at Horizon. Kumar, the sicker of the two animals, stayed an additional week for further treatment. Their care involved around-the-clock IV fluids, antibiotics, and medication to combat the virus. The Humane Society of Ventura County cannot thank Horizon Veterinary enough for their superb care of these puppies! 

We are thrilled to report that after two weeks of diligent care, both Harold and Kumar have cleared the Parvo virus and are thriving at the shelter! They were recently taken out of the isolation room and placed into an outdoor puppy pen. To say they were excited to be outside would be an understatement! Both pups will be made available for adoption soon, stay tuned! We must also note that Harold and Kumar’s parents, Emma and Bartolo, have both already found their forever homes! 

The 24/7 care Harold and Kumar received was instrumental in saving their lives, but it was also very expensive. Their treatment at Horizon totaled over $16,000 in medical expenses. As a compassionate care shelter, the HSVC will do everything in its power to ensure the health, safety, and protection of the animals under our care. However, as a private nonprofit, the HSVC does not receive any funding from the government or any other national animal welfare organization. We were only able to fund the vital care for these defenseless puppies thanks to the generosity of our community. 

We now call on you, our supporters, to help us continue making a difference by donating to Harold and Kumar’s medical fund. Your contribution will not only help pay back the funds used to save the lives of these lovable animals but any additional donations received will be used to fund the future emergency treatment of shelter animals in need. Click the button below to donate now. Thank you for your support!  

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