The Pennsylvania Veterinary Foundation, the charitable arm of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association, has an animal welfare program called the Last Chance Fund. Donated funds are used to provide care to abused or neglected animals without homes that would otherwise be euthanized. In these cases, veterinarians can use donated funds to provide lifesaving measures.
Lady, who was abandoned with her puppy at a rural animal shelter, is eligible for this program. Both were made available for adoption at the Eastside Petland in East Liberty, which offers rescued and shelter dogs and cats an opportunity to find a home. This is only the second pet store in the country to adopt this rescue-only format.
Breaking from the standard corporate business plan, the owners of this store stopped selling commercially bred puppies in favor of rescue dogs, usually from rural shelters that have a high euthanasia rate. Cats from local shelters are also available at this store and other pet stores in the area. Called the Animal Shelter Adoption Program, it reduces the animal population by decreasing demand for commercially raised puppies bred for profit.
When we saw Lady, she was limping from an old fracture that had not healed. A radiograph showed a months-old fracture and a bullet fragment from a gunshot that had shattered her front leg. Her pain and discomfort must have been excruciating as it appeared that the fracture was never stabilized. Also, she and her pup are recovering from a respiratory infection acquired at the out-of-town shelter. In spite of all her suffering, she seems happy.
Donations to the Last Chance Fund can provide the funding necessary to amputate her leg and scapula. After surgery on her leg and additional surgery to spay them, mother and puppy could find a forever home. Matching contributions to The Last Chance Fund are available and will double contributions for Lady.
Veterinarians are often asked to care for animals that do not have an owner or have an owner who cannot afford proper care. Our obligation to care for animals is stronger than our desire to pay the bills at the end of the month. Recently, a stray cat from a feral colony fed by a friend of one of my technicians was brought to my office. The cat had a ruptured eye and needed an operation to have the eye removed. This outdoor stray needed more care than the good Samaritan could afford. We operated on the cat, and he recovered completely at a minimal cost to the caregiver to cover supplies.
Some cases like this require more advanced care than a local veterinarian or specialist can afford out of pocket. With financial assistance from the Last Chance Fund, veterinarians can save these abused pets.
With innovative programs like the Animal Shelter Adoption Program at Eastside Petland and funding from the Last Chance Fund, we might make progress against pet overpopulation and animal abuse. If you want to contribute to help Lady or make a general donation, contact the Last Chance Fund at 1-888-550-7862 or www.pavetfoundation.org.petstories
Lawrence Gerson is a veterinarian and founder of the Point Breeze Veterinary Clinic. His column is intended to educate pet owners. Consultation with a veterinarian is necessary to diagnose and treat individual pets. If you have a question you'd like addressed in Pet Points, email email@example.com. Please include your name and municipality or neighborhood.