KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Meet 8-year-old Chili Rivera. She's a miniature pinscher with a serious problem: a rapidly growing tumor.
It's so large that it nearly drags across the floor as she walks.
FOX 4 Problem Solvers heard about Chili after her owner Ricardo Rivera showed up at a live report by FOX 4's Kathy Quinn. He handed Quinn a note with a simple, but compelling message: My dog needs help.
We invited both Rivera and Chili to FOX 4 to find out the details. That's when we learned that Chili's tumor had reached the size of large orange in just a few weeks.
Rivera was trying to save enough money to take her to a veterinarian, but was worried he was running out of time. Tumors can quickly become infected and toxic.
As with most pet owners, Rivera considers Chili as more of a family member than a pet. He recalled the time he was sick with the flu and spent more than two weeks in bed.
"She never left my side," he said.
FOX 4's Kathy Quinn told Problem Solvers that if anyone could solve this problem it was her veterinarian Dr. Kent Kraus of Tomahawk Animal Hospital in Prairie Village.
All it took was a phone call to get him to sign up for the job, agreeing to see Chili the very next day.
After a thorough examination, Dr. Kraus had good news for Rivera.
"We can get this out," he said, as Rivera, overcome with emotion, choked out the words "thank you."
Dr. Kraus offered to donate the surgery that will save Chili's life. That's something Ricardo wasn't expecting.
"I don't have more words to say, but I will compensate you guys somehow," Rivera said.
He said he's forever grateful to a veterinarian with a heart so big, he had plenty of room for a tiny dog.