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From the Editor

David SendlerWhile we were preparing our "New and Hot" report on all the wonderful things to look forward to for the upcoming season, I got an impassioned phone call from Elliott Singer, a member of our Community Advisory Board, and his wife, Retta. When they had finished talking, I knew I had to share their tale with you about one more worthy addition to our lives here.

The story began with crisis—their treasured West Highland terrier Ellie got a steak bone caught in her throat—while they were out of town. And, in what turned out to be a two-month, life-and-death ordeal, the newly opened Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida (ASH) stepped up with the heroics. ASH, which began operations last April, was founded by two dedicated couples who discovered each other through professional networking. Hospital administrator Eric Carnes and Drs. Michelle B. Carnes, Ashley L. Ayoob and Marc E. Havig built out a facility in Naples off Davis Boulevard to provide multiple specialties under one roof and to deliver compassionate care tailored to each individual case.

"They couldn’t have been more caring about Ellie—and us," says Retta. Medically, they managed to remove the bone without having to perform more invasive surgery. Ellie, though, was still critical, needing balloon dilations in her throat to widen the passage and a tube in her stomach to feed her. Dr. Ayoob and others tended to the Singers, as well, with frequent updates daily and thoughtful personal touches. Nurse Connie Jedrick went out and bought a pink dress for Ellie, says Dr. Ayoob, "because we wanted her to be well-fashioned."

In the end, ASH saved Ellie, though she’ll now only be able to eat pureed foods. "Those doctors were unbelievable," says Retta, "and we’re like family."

ASH doctors can make lots of moves. In their one building, they have board-certified specialists in oncology, neurology, cardiology, internal medicine, critical care, emergency surgery and physical rehabilitation. They take their cases by referrals from local veterinarians and are open 24 hours for emergency cases where you don’t need a referral. They’ve got state-of-the-art equipment for imaging, supporting breathing, testing functions of nerves and muscles, providing minimally invasive procedures and physical rehabilitation. ASH is the most technologically advanced hospital of its kind in Southwest Florida.

Just stroll around there and you feel the warm, homey vibe. One of the patients, Charlie, is a dachshund who had a back injury and couldn’t walk before surgery there. Now, says Dr. Carnes, "he’s prancing around and thinks he’s a king." At times, Dr. Carnes took him home to keep his rehab going. Charlie’s owner has an Italian restaurant and on at least six of his visits to the hospital brought along full-catered meals for everyone on duty.

Dr. Ayoob seems quite moved when she tells you about Angel, a cat who came here from Costa Rica. Angel stopped eating and developed a liver problem that landed her in intensive care. It was touch-and-go for her with two weeks of feeding tubes and blood transfusions. But now she’s eating well on her own and has begun to add body weight. When I asked Dr. Ayoob how she deals with animals who can’t express themselves to her, she replied, "I read their eyes. The changes tell how they’re feeling and progressing."

Watch the eyes of Ellie, Charlie and Angel and you’ll probably get the idea that ASH is, yes, most welcome here. New and hot for sure.

Thrilled and Honored

We’re thrilled and honored to report on the nine Florida Magazine Association awards Gulfshore Life won at this year’s competition. They are: first-place Charlie awards for Best Overall Design, for Best Use of Photography and for Best Visitor Publication. We also got Silver awards for Best Overall Magazine, Best Public Service Feature and Best Original Color Photo. Gulfshore Life At Home won first place for Best Special Theme Issue, and Naples Health took first place for Best Custom Magazine. Forever Young won a Bronze for Best New Magazine. Thanks, readers, for your support and inspiration.

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