I walked past an alleyway in Atwater Village and saw a skinny black cat. Half her fur had fallen off. She had no teeth. Ribs protruded through her scabby skin. But the kitty — I named her Skeletor — was sweet, and purred when I approached her. Wearing some oven mitts, I gently lowered Skeletor into a cardboard box and took her across the street to the Los Feliz Small Animal Hospital. Luckily Dr. Michelle Fuller was on duty. Dr. Fuller likes to save animals for as little money as possible — a rare trait among today's veterinary professionals. Fuller takes on even the most challenging of cases, calling on her network of animal lovers to help cover costs if the pet owner is short on funds. She'll take injured skunks, sick possums and diseased raccoons and keep them in her bathtub until they're well. Dr. Fuller, who also happens to be cute and tattooed, fought as hard as she could to save Skeletor, who was suffering from advanced hyperthyroidism and serious neglect. When it became clear that Skeletor's condition was beyond help, Dr. Fuller whispered gentle goodbyes as she delivered the injection. This summer, Dr. Fuller left Los Feliz Small Animal Hospital to start Village Vet, her own full-service hospital, with a new office on Hyperion and Rowena opening at the end of October. She'll offer acupuncture in addition to the other services you'd expect — love included, at no extra cost. Atwater Village. (323) 680-3080, drfuller@villagevet.la.

—Caroline Ryder

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