Dog bitten by rattlesnake comes home

Strangers donate $16k to help family pet

TAVARES, Fla. - There was no shortage of smiles at the Schmitt home in Tavares after the family found out that their dog, Cali, is alive.

"They gave her a 50-50 chance, and they really didn't think she was going to make it through," said Mike Schmitt, Cali's owner.

Two weeks ago, the chocolate lab was bit in the neck by a diamondback rattlesnake.

"They said she must have been bitten by one of the largest pit-vipers that they had seen," said Schmitt.

The venom of the snake was so potent it took 24 vials of anti-venom to get Cali back on her feet.

The vials don't come cheap. The grand total of Cali's medical bills was $19,000. Money the Schmitt's couldn't shake on their own, so they made a YouTube video, asking the world for help.

"Perfect strangers sending in $50, $5, $100; it's absolutely amazing," said Schmitt.

In 11 days, strangers donated $16,000 to Cali's cause, and the money is still coming in.

Cali's brain, kidneys and lungs took a hit, but Schmitt says Cali is expected to make a full recovery.

"We had gotten the dog, I had thought the same thing, ah it's just a dog, but you realize it's a family member, and we just couldn't turn our backs because of money-we figured where there's a will there's a way," said Schmitt.

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