Animal lovers and advocates have lost an ally after the recent passing of Valerie Louie, a beloved nurse from Oakland, California who spent her free time helping rescue dogs.
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Hero for dogs and humans: Louie, who worked caring for patients at the Highland Hospital for over three decades, died of COVID-19 on Nov. 25 at age 60, reports the New York Times.
- When not helping patients, Louie would volunteer at rescue shelters and bring abandoned dogs she found to loving homes in the Bay Area.
- This year alone she found homes for 80 dogs before getting infected with COVID-19. This year’s Christmas tree in her household was decorated with photos of the dogs she saved.
- She started her career in the emergency department and worked as coordinator of advanced life support before she fell ill.
- Louie passed away after two weeks in an intensive care unit at the Mission-Bernal campus of California Pacific Medical Center, contracting the virus in late October. As of this writing, details of how she contracted the virus remain unclear.
Her legacy lives on: The single mother left behind her son Andrew Louie, 21, who revealed that his mother had saved “probably thousands” of dogs.
- Andrew, who was also infected with the virus but has since recovered, is currently in college, studying to become a nurse himself.
- Her friends also say she saved thousands of dogs serving as a volunteer at Rocket Dog Rescue, reports KPIX 5.
- “I knew she worked until 10 or 11 o’clock at night. We would be out looking for a dog that was missing and here she would come,” fellow volunteer and friend Tammy Hilrich was quoted as saying.
- Meg McAdam, another friend of Louie’s, shared the selfless nurse would remove ticks off the rescued dogs and check out their medical condition before bringing them to the vet.
- “She was just amazing. It was just second nature to her and she would always take the dogs that other people wouldn’t take,” McAdam said.
- Louie’s friends have set up a GoFundMe account to help her son relieve the financial stress ahead.
- “I’m just gonna miss her. It’s really like a big chunk of me has been taken out,” Andrew was quoted as saying.