Kaufman Lake dog rescue2

Poppy, the dog that was rescued from Kaufmann Lake on Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, greets the media at a press conference Monday at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine.

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URBANA — A GoFundMe campaign to cover veterinary care for the puppy rescued from a cold, watery death in Champaign’s Kaufman Lake surpassed its $5,000 goal in less than three days.

But the man who rescued the dog won’t be getting a bill from University of Illinois’ veterinary teaching hospital.

“If someone finds an ill, injured animal that there’s no owner for, they may bring that animal to our hospital. We have a small amount of funds designated that we can use to stabilize and assess an animal like that while we’re figuring out whose animal it can be,” said UI College of Veterinary Medicine spokeswoman Chris Beuoy. “We would never charge the finder.”

A little TLC at the UI's Small Animal Clinic has brought out the puppy in Poppy, the eight-month-old dog rescued from Kaufman Lake on Saturday who was released to animal control Monday, where she will stay while police investigate who left her in a cage in the lake.

Bryant Fritz, the Next Generation School science teacher who rescued the puppy when he spotted her in a crate in the lake Saturday, said he wasn’t the one who set up the $5,000 GoFundMe campaign to cover the puppy’s medical expenses and new life. He said he was emailed by the woman who did, Susan Hillard.

Fritz said he was guessing the care the puppy received at the UI veterinary hospital would be covered without charge. But there will likely be some additional medical care, and the fundraising campaign can help him or whoever adopts the puppy pay for that, he said.

The GoFundMe campaign is called “Funding Poppy/Dory” because of two names given to the puppy.

Dory — after the “Finding Nemo” character — is the name Fritz said he wants to give the puppy if he’s permitted to adopt her.

Poppy came from staff at the UI’s Small Animal Clinic. Beuoy said they don’t generally name animals brought in for care, but in this instance, caregivers began calling her Poppy “because she came in like a Popsicle.”

Beuoy said some people also bring stray animals that are not ill to the UI veterinary hospital, but the proper place to take those animals in Champaign County is Champaign County Animal Control.

But anyone who finds an ill or injured animal, as was the case with Poppy/Dory, “by all means, bring it,” she said. “This was a clear-cut case. That dog would have died if it had not had care.”