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Donations in memory of Det. Brian Simonsen to aid animal charity

A mutual friend led the detective's family to Healing Haven Animal Foundation "because animals were so close to his heart," said Lynda Loudon, a veterinarian.

Lynda Loudon, a veterinarian and founder of Healing

Lynda Loudon, a veterinarian and founder of Healing Haven Animal Foundation, paid for surgery and physical therapy for Maddie, a 4-year-old Beagle and former shelter dog whose bulging disc left her paralyzed in her two hind legs.  Photo Credit: Danielle Silverman

The family of NYPD Det. Brian Simonsen selected a charity that was close to the animal lover's heart to receive donations in his memory — Healing Haven Animal Foundation.

"We feel it's a great honor," Dr. Lynda Loudon, the veterinarian who founded Healing Haven, said Tuesday. "So many lives will be saved."

A mutual friend led the family of the detective, killed last week by friendly fire, to the charity "because animals were so close to his heart," she said Tuesday.

In addition to his official portrait and a picture from his wedding, the foundation's website features one of Simonsen with a black cat lying with its paws on his chest, and another of him cradling a dog.

Healing Haven raises funds to help pay veterinarians who care for seriously ill or injured dogs and cats, often in shelters, that otherwise would be put to sleep, Loudon told reporters at a private home in Floral Park, Long Island.

Loudon's experience as an emergency veterinarian spotlighted the sometimes agonizing decisions people and professionals can confront. "I saw pet owners making decisions to euthanize animals I could save; I wasn't OK with that," she said.

Her husband also is a vet, and "we would end up paying for a lot of care," she said.

Thanks to the Simonsen family, the next dog that will be saved is Casey, an emaciated Yorkie-poodle mix with a broken leg, found on a rainy night at New Jersey trailer park. 

As medical care for pets gets increasingly sophisticated, the bills can escalate.

The foundation, which also aids seniors struggling with vet bills, gets two to three calls a day from Long Islanders or individual in other states, all needing help, Loudon said. "Right now, we're focusing on local," Loudon said.

One day, she hopes to open an animal sanctuary with a hospital on the Island.

About $6,000 have been donated to the foundation since the Simonsens elected this way to honor the detective instead of sending flowers. Their fundraising campaigns raise about $100,000 a year, Loudon said.

 "We are so privileged to be in this position; we feel it's a great way to honor him," Loudon said. 

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