Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Angel Fund

I must say that the last almost 6 months has been a crazy time for me, but fortunately in a good way.  Although the blog postings became a little thin earlier this year, the blog abruptly stopped on July 31st.  That was because the first week of August we opened a new location, converted our computer software to a totally new software program and went to electronic medical records all in one fell swoop.  Since that time Dr. C. and I have been working both clinics, learning the new software program and learning how to input records into the computer instead of writing on paper.  It's been a fun but crazy journey, but I am thinking that we have somewhat of a routine going now.  Well, not that any day at a veterinary clinic is routine, but you get what I mean.  So in the spirit of the New Year I am going to resolve to get my blog up and running again and what better topic to start off with than helping others.

I've said it before, but I work with some of the most amazing and generous people on the planet.  Quite a few years ago, the staff here wanted to come up with a plan to help pet owners in need and they came up with an idea called "The Angel Fund".  I kind of hesitate to write about this fund in an open blog because this is not a fund that can be used by request.  It is small potatoes and would never withstand an onslaught of requests.  The best part of the fund is that it gets used in spontaneous moments when someone really needs help, but they are not asking for help.  The money in the Angel Fund comes from a couple different sources.  Sometimes a client will see the sign in the waiting room and donate.  Most of the money is raised via the generous donation of time from our awesome staff.  Every 6 weeks or so, the staff will stay late after Saturday office hours and run a toe nail trim clinic.  Clients bring in their pets for a $10 nail trim and all the money raised goes into the Angel Fund.  So this blog is mostly for the people who have donated money or for those who come to the Toe Nail Trim Clinics that support the Angel Fund.  I thought some might be curious as to how the money gets used.

Meet Shadow.  He looks a little sleepy in his photo because he is.  He was recovering from sedation.  The flash on my camera very appropriately left a shadow on Shadow.  Anyway, he is a 3 year old male cat that is owned by a nice older woman who is retired and lives on a fixed income.  He came in a couple weeks ago with a life threatening condition - a blocked urethra.  A lot of cat people are already familiar with this condition.  It happens almost exclusively in male cats and usually it is caused by sludgy gritty material that forms a plug in the urethra and makes it so the cat cannot pee.  When that happens the bladder gets filled with urine and the bladder becomes huge and very painful.  Once the bladder fills, there is nowhere else for urine to go so the kidneys shut down and the cat goes into kidney failure.  The cat quits eating, vomits and becomes very ill.  Without treatment, the cat will die a horrible excruciating death in a few days.

Shadow's owner brought him into the clinic relatively early in the course of the disease so that was good.  But still, to "fix" the obstruction requires sedation in most cases and then intensive fluid therapy to restart the kidneys that have shut down.  All of this can cost several hundred dollars minimum and more if there are any complications.  Coming up with money like that can be pretty hard when one lives on a fixed income and it is right before Christmastime too.  But with treatment, almost all cats that develop this dreaded condition will live if caught early enough.  Shadow's owner had no options.  She did not have the money for treatment and euthanasia was the only humane choice available to her.  Enter the Angel Fund.  Money from the fund was used to pay for Shadow's treatment and two days later, Shadow went home urinating on his own and is on the road to recovery.

I am so proud of the staff and clients of the Country Doctor for making the Angel Fund possible.  You can't save the whole world, but every once in awhile, you can help out in your own little corner of the world.