After the horrific events in Boston and Texas last week and a recent threat close to home in Toronto, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time contemplating various ideologies. During this state of reflection, I feel somewhat vulnerable and oddly perceptive to the plight of others. Last night I returned home to find the pipe to our sump-pump had snapped under the pressure of the winter thaw. As I went through the motions of bailing water and mopping the floors I found myself thinking of the families in Muskoka who have been evacuated from their homes due to flooding, and what damage they will return to. Material items may hold sentimental value but do not compare to our wellbeing. I pause to send positive thoughts to those grieving significant losses in the wake of these tragedies.
As Canadians, I feel at times we take for granted our care in the event of an illness or injury. Our extended healthcare affords many of us additional options; registered massage therapy, acupuncture, eye exams, eye wear, osteopathy, naturopathic care and even a year of maternity leave to be at home with new family members. Our friends and family on the other side of the border pay for insurance and my niece was pried from my sister’s arms after a mere two months as her benefits expired. Those with coverage factor these payments into their monthly or annual financial practice and probably don’t think anything more of it. Those without certainly know the price of health. What would we do without the care we take for granted? Most of us haven’t a clue what the cost of our prescriptions are and the amount that would come out of our pocket to have a tooth filled.
In today’s economy and with all the horrifying acts of terrorism and general violence, I am certainly very grateful that I don’t also have to worry about the added cost of my wellbeing. Again, my mind wanders to those who would have to make the most heart-breaking decisions in order to find that care for their loved ones. I’ve heard of second mortgages being arranged and people selling their houses to pay for life sustaining medications. Once in a while there is a heart-warming story that runs parallel to a tragedy; we learn that a local hero or a community has stepped in to assist an individual or family.
It seems that with the economic, social and environmental chaos in our world, we are being forced to prioritize our goodwill. Perhaps that is why only a few people responded to the following ad posted on Kijiji;
Jake is a beloved family pet.
He is 3 years old and requires surgery for a torn ACL (ligament).
I can’t afford the $1800 surgery, so this is my last attempt at trying to save his leg as I may have no other option than to have him euthanized.
My vet is Allandale Veterinary Hospital (705)-733-1422, should you wish to confirm.
Any donations to assist me would be greatly appreciated and can be openly tracked back to the veterinarian’s office.
NOTE: At no time has my vet suggested euthanizing my dog! I feel this is my only other option, if I can’t collect the funds for surgery being he’s in agony!!!
Melody swallowed her pride and placed the ad. Of the 805 visits she received several messages suggesting she was a scam artist and others offering suggestions such as applying for a loan. Only a few people offered monetary donations.
My husband and I don’t have children, instead we adopted a cat, who, is now seventeen years old and on thyroid medicine. We also have two dogs; one has a grade four heart murmur and will, at some point also require medication. This is the second such story I’ve heard since Christmas and it has prompted me to sign up for pet insurance.
At the end of the day I retreat from a world of cynicism and uncertainty and I’m welcomed home by two very happy, full-body wagging dogs. Their love and appreciation is refreshingly honest and with all the heartbreak and horror going on outside, they keep me sane and comfort me. An hour of playing fetch with them is better than any therapy my Doctor could prescribe and worth any cost. I am so grateful to have their companionship, I would do whatever I could for them in return.
I respect Melody for asking for help and I am honored to share their story.
I stopped by Allandale Veterinary Hospital to make a donation and happily learned that Jake’s surgery has been scheduled. When I arrived at the clinic I was welcomed by an amazing team of people who truly care about animals. I learned of the team’s involvement with a project called ‘Vets without borders’ and was invited to listen to the accounts of last year’s trip to Guatemala (Dr. Lechten and volunteers funded their own travel in order to give back to the community). The passion was evident in their voices when speaking of the challenges they encountered and why, their efforts matter so much.
Another local veterinarian donated an autoclave to be used to sterilize instruments (previously the equipment was cleaned in boiling water). Last year the team set a record for fundraising. Fundraising may be the easy part; due to the weight and size of the autoclave, efforts may have gone wasted but for an animal loving staff member who, ‘jumped through hoops’ and shuffled things around enough to balance this large package on the plane. ‘It was very emotional’ says Natalie. A team of six from Barrie joined forces with others to help make a difference
Stephanie Silva, a technician from Barrie – one of few spanish-english speakers
Dr. Patricia Lechten, owner of Allandale Veterinary Clinic, and four of her staff members;
Lindsey Rogers – veterinarian
Melissa Payne – technician
Lynsay Durbano – RVT
Natalie Flammia – veterinary assistant
The following links provide information about the project;
In Guatemala, children die when bitten by dogs infected with rabies and unclaimed dogs are poisoned to eliminate rabies. Pet owners tuck their cats and dogs into sacks and walk for miles – as long as three hours to attend the mobile clinics set up by Vets without borders. Here the pets are spayed/neutered and vaccinated against the rabies virus. As an incentive, owners of the pets that attended the spay/neuter clinic were given collars to show their pet was cared for and prevent them from being killed. Unfortunately, even with the generous donations from other clinics, there was not enough funding to supply collars to those attending the clinic for vaccinations only. This year, it is the goal of the team to provide collars to all their patients; cats and dogs. Allandale Veterinary Clinic is facilitating a ‘Collar Drive’ (mostly small and medium sized collars are required) and would be grateful for any donations. Monetary donations will help with the purchase of supplies and equipment.
Please contact Allandale Veterinary Hospital to make donations;
Allandale Veterinary Hospital – 66 Caplan Ave, Barrie ON (705) 733-1422
Perhaps one little dog’s anguish can inspire change for a community in another country and give hope back to the people in his community.
Thank you Jake, we hope you feel better very soon.