Duckie Is Saved by a Compassionate Veterinarian after Family Practitioner Demands Either C$1,600 or Her Life
"We're here for the animals that need us. We don't practice because that's how we're going to make a million dollars. We practice because we believe in what we do."
-- Deb Carroll
After three-month-old Duckie had fallen and broken her left rear leg, her guardians rushed her to their regular veterinarian who demanded C$1,600 up front for life-saving hip surgery. Either unwilling or unable to pay that amount, they first attempted to fob off the Siamese kitten on the moneygrubber who responded by threatening to kill her.
Duckie then was unceremoniously dumped at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS) in mid-January. It was there that her plight came to the attention of an unidentified veterinary technician who in turn contacted Dr. Deb Carroll of Grenada Veterinary Clinic in nearby Sherwood Park.
Without so much as a moment's hesitation, Carroll graciously agreed to come in on one of her days off, February 16th, and operate on Duckie gratis. As the result of her magnanimity, Duckie now has made a complete recovery and has only a scar on her leg to show for her recent travails.
Moreover, her death row reprieve and restored health are not the only good things to have happened to her in recent days. For instance, after having been sterilized and microchipped she went home to a new family on March 4th.
"We're here for the animals that need us. We don't practice because that's how we're going to make a million dollars," Carroll told the Edmonton Sun on March 5th. (See "Veterinarian Gives Kitty a New Lease on Life.") "We practice because we believe in what we do."
Since most small animal veterinarians are better known for, inter alia, withholding their services from impecunious cats and dogs, killing off, as opposed to treating, the sick and elderly, the administration of unnecessary and sometimes harmful vaccinations, and charging exorbitant fees for sterilizations, Carroll's attitude is indeed a breath of fresh air. The collusion of large animal veterinarians with factory farmers, slaughterhouses, vivisectors, racing enthusiasts (horses, Greyhounds, huskies, etc.), and others who systematically abuse animals, is even more reprehensible.
"(Carroll and the technician) went above and beyond to help with this kitten and, essentially, save her life and give her that quality of life and the opportunity to have that second chance and go up for adoption," Shawna Randolph of EHS told the Sun in the article cited supra. (See photo above of her and Duckie.) "We're so thankful she took time on her stat (statutory) holiday, on Family Day, to help out with this kitten."
Although the Society maintains a Sick and Injured Animals Fund, Carroll's intervention has allowed it to conserve those precious resources for future emergencies. "Duckie's getting a lot of attention, but there are so many other animals in our care...that have their own stories," Randolph continued. "Maybe not as drastic as this one, but every animal that's homeless has a touching story."
Although rare, Carroll is not alone in her idealism and commitment to saving impoverished cats. For example, Mairead Berkely and Tommy Hefferman of Avondale Veterinary Hospital in Arklow recently donated several months of their time and resources in an attempt to save a cat named Sparkles whose head was partially blown off by fiends armed with a firecracker. (See Cat Defender posts of November 20, 2008 and January 12, 2009 entitled, respectively, "Trusting Domestic Cat Has Her Left Ear Blown Off with a Firecracker by Cretins Outside an Irish Bar" and "Disoriented and Racked with Excruciating Pain, Seizures, and Infections, Sparkles Loses Her Long Struggle to Live.")
Then there is Geoffrey Adams of Pasco Animal Hospital in New Port Richey, Florida, who donated his services in an effort to save a cat named Arwen who was mortally wounded last year by an arrow. (See photo directly above.)
His dedication not only extended to amputating Arwen's infected leg and medicating her, but he also spent a weekend hand-feeding her. (See Cat Defender post of May 13, 2008 entitled "Just When It Appeared That She Was Going to Make It, Arwen Dies Suddenly after Being Shot in the Abdomen with a Barbed Arrow.")
On the other hand, some veterinarians save cats through simple acts of compassion as opposed to medical skill. Shannon Sierra of Best Friends Animal Clinic in Medford, Oregon, is one such individual.
In particular, he saved the life of an orange cat named Maxwell by taking him in and making him his office cat. Since Maxwell was blind and toothless as well as homeless, he would not have survived much longer on his own without Sierra's kindness. (See Cat Defender post of September 27, 2007 entitled "Abandoned to Die in a World of Darkness and Without Even Teeth, Maxwell Is Saved by the Compassion of a Rescue Group and a Veterinarian.")
All animal rescue groups are dreadfully underfunded. It therefore is a real shame that the various economic recovery plans that recently have been introduced around the world have not included a few dollars for no-kill shelters, cat sanctuaries, sterilization initiatives, and veterinarians like Carroll, Berkely, Hefferman, Adams, and Sierra.
Such initiatives would not only have saved innumerable lives but created jobs as well. Instead, the world's wealth is being squandered on crooked bankers, militarists, vivisectors, and other evildoers.
One such organization that could have used a helping hand is the Washington Animal Rescue League which provides either free or low-cost veterinary care to the pets of the poor and unemployed in the nation's capital. Not only has it recently experienced a dramatic increase in demand for its services, but it additionally has been forced to establish a food pantry for the benefit of owners unwilling to even provide sustenance for their cats and dogs.
Compounding matters further, some individuals are returning pets that they had previously adopted from the shelter. (See Washington Post, March 15, 2009, "No Job; No Easy Cure for Pets" and MSNBC, March 26, 2009, "Steep Vet Bills, Sour Economy Doom More Pets.")
Sans doute, individuals who lose their houses and apartments have a difficult time of holding on to cats and dogs, but that should not be an insurmountable hurdle for the domiciled. After all, the procurement of shelter is about ninety-nine per cent of the task of living for both individuals and animals alike.
Cats, in particular, eat very little and most people should be able to scrape up enough money in order to purchase food for them. In those rare instances where even that is not feasible, it is perfectly acceptable to feed them table scraps and water. In fact, commercial pet food has only been around since the 1950s.
In addition to the numerous pet food banks that have sprung up in recent years, Food Stamps and WIC coupons are plentiful as are regular soup kitchens and food banks. Individuals who therefore use a lack of food as an excuse in order to abandon animals deserve censure, not pity.
Until the day arrives when the animals are provided with the medical assistance that they so richly deserve regardless of either the willingness or ability of their guardians to pay, cats like Duckie will remain dependent upon the compassion and goodwill of conscientious veterinarians such as Deb Carroll.
Photos: CBC (Duckie and Randolph) and Pasco Animal Hospital (Adams).