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Angels for Angel 

Angel the firedog is in trouble.

Since the 9-year-old member of Durham's Lebanon Fire Rescue was featured in our Real Best of the Triangle issue (she won "Best On-the-Job Performance," April 10), her stationmates have discovered that what they thought was arthritis or old age is really a pair of deteriorating hips.

"Basically what she's got is more or less of a genetic problem," says volunteer firefighter and Durham paramedic Randy Hill. "We noticed that on cold days she'd act like she was hurting. When she went for her annual checkup this year, they did some X-rays and that's when they found the problem with her hips."

Replacement surgery will cost $2,500 to $3,000 per hip at North Carolina State's vet school, Hill says. The company's organizing an arts and crafts raffle, and students at elementary schools Angel regularly visits have raised $600. But more help is needed.

How's the star Dalmatian feeling?

"She's taking some pain pills and she does fine," Hill says. "Only problem is, over time, that medication is liver toxic. So the sooner we can get the surgery done, the better."

To donate, call the station at (919) 477-4687 or write Angel, c/o the Lebanon Fire Department, PO Box 71247, Durham, 27712.

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