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Nearly 7 million dogs suffer from this heart disease. This woman helped bring a life-saving procedure to Florida

Vets at the University of Florida told her the best option for saving Dutch's life would be to see Dr. Masami Uechi in Japan.

Beau Zimmer

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Julieanne Schmidt says her dog Dutch isn’t just a pet -- he’s part of the family.

“He’s like my second heart,” Schmidt said. She rescued Dutch from an animal shelter after Hurricane Katrina hit in 2006. She said Dutch is like no other dog she’s ever owned.

“We saw his face; that black and white old man white eyebrows,” Schmidt said.  “It just melted our hearts. We saw his picture and we said we had to have him.”

So when the now 13-year-old miniature schnauzer was diagnosed with congestive heart failure early last year, Schmidt decided she would do whatever it took to help her dog get better.

“We just knew we couldn’t see him suffer and die,” she said. “He would just basically stop breathing and his heart would stop and I couldn’t bear that.”