Friday, March 15, 2013

Tread-ing Lightly

It usually starts with a call..
"Dr. Mag!" I heard the receptionist yell. 
She came to the treatment area to find me, in the traditional 'yell first, walk to find later' method. Somewhere along the eight years I have owned JVC the last 3 syllables of my name got dropped. I know I never signed a consent for informality form, but none the less it disappeared and non of my staff take the time anymore to complete my name. It gets difficult when clients call and ask for me by my nickname, like I adopted it as an alias.
"Yes?" I replied. I could tell by the tone that I knew I didn't want to hear whatever it was she was about to report.
"There's a friend of Dr. T's on the phone. They said they found a cat in the road and that they think it was hit by a car. They have $100, but can't afford anything more." 
If I had a nickel for every time someone called with a pet that "needs to be seen immediately, and "Oh, by the way, here's my budget," I would be rich enough to be a non-profit shelter. (OK, so I am a non-profit for profit. Does that count? Please don't answer).
My response is always the same. "Tell them that it is $45 for an appointment and we can give them an estimate from there." I have learned to never believe what you hear, or what someone else thinks the diagnosis is, EVER!! Get your own eyes, hands, and ears on a pet before you ever make any decisions.
After a short chat with Dr. T I had a suspicions that my initial concerns were about to be validated.
It is hard to not get feeling like the world just keeps dumping lemons on you to see how much lemonade you can drink before the acidity tears your gut apart. (OK, this sounds a bit mello-dramatic but I really do feel this way, sometimes).
After a brief exam and an x-ray it was as bad as we thought it might be. 
Treads pelvis. The big red arrows are his fractures.

Here's what this patient had;
  • Broken right leg. Femur fractured, tibia fractured, and fibula fractured. Cats have three bones in their rear leg and all were broken.
  • Pelvis. Multiple fractures and luxations.
  • Not neutered.
  • Not owned.
  • No one to jump in and take responsibility (financial or otherwise) for him.

I looked as hard as I could for a reason to say "this one is too much for us." I started the mental checklist. 
  1. Cat had to be tame. (It is impossible to treat a feral cat with multiple fractures).
  2. Had to be FeLV/FIV negative.
  3. Had to be a stray cat or someone had to find a rescue that would take him. (Confession; I've been made to regret every person that I have helped myself. So I have learned my lesson). 
  4. Everyone was going to have to accept that I might be able to fix a leg fracture but I can't fix all of these fractures. 
The technicians were very quick to return their findings;
  1. "He is soo sweet."
  2. "He is FeLV/FIV negative."
About this point i was confident that I was about to hear a faint "Can we keep him mom?"

I said, "Put a pain patch on him, put him in a cage, and let me make some phone calls." Head lowers, I shuffle away and internal voice of a crazy person starts whispering in code.

A day later and another vet from the clinic was calling me. She says, "I called CVRC and they will fix his leg for $900." 

Long pause, sigh, and cursing, "Umm, I had a plan for him, and I don't have $900." She replied about how incredibly generous they were being, like I didn't already know that. "I'm sorry I don't have $900." I said again.

"If I can raise it can we do it." she said. Her last pitch to influence me.

"Yes, of course, if you can raise it." Now I feel guilty, and horrible about myself for being lazy, and not trying to find a way to fix him, and for not shelling out $900, especially because it was such an incredibly generous offer from the surgeons at CVRC.

With that the frenzy of social media sharing, texts, phone calls, facebook posts, rescue reach outs, and donation bins started.

Our very good friends at No Kill Harford posted a plea for Tread. (Yes, he had a name as soon as I said OK to putting him in a cage). I'm still not to fond of his name, but I guess I should be somewhat satisfied that we are both relegated to one syllable.

Within five hours JVC and No Kill Harford had raised the $900. And by the next day Tread was slated for  surgery. 

I may have learned my lesson in helping people pay for their pet and the insane liability that comes along with it, but I should have also learned to never underestimate the generosity of my community.

Tread is a very gentle, very easy going 6 month old neutered boy. He is in need of a home to recover, and for someone to take responsibility for him. (He will reward you with lots of affection in return).

Here is the plea that No Kill Harford posted;
Tread is a cat that came to us as a surrendered stray. He was hit by a car and has a shattered pelvis and multiple fractures that have all but destroyed his leg.
As a rescue with limited funds, amputation of Treads leg was discussed … but, through the generosity and compassion of the doctors at Jarrettsville Veterinary Center we have found an orthopedic surgeon that is willing to help us save Treads leg. Normally, the surgery required to save a leg this bad would be close to or even over $4,000. We have a doctor willing to do the surgery for $900!!!!! We just need to raise the money!
Tread is SUCH A LOVE and deserves any chance we can give him. Will you please help us help Tread keep his leg???
We need to raise $900 as soon as possible to save Treads leg. Any donations we receive over $900 will go to our FixHarford fund to help animals like Tread in the future.
At last count, we were almost 1/2 way there! Even $5 will go a long way towards helping Tread!!!!

UPDATE April 1, 2013

Last week, we posted about a stray cat named Tread. Tread was brought into Jarrettville Vet Center with a crushed pelvis and a badly broken leg.
We asked the community for help in raising the $900 needed to help repair Treads leg instead of amputating it. Our request was heard and with your help, we were able to raise all the money Tread needed.
Tread had his surgery and his leg was repaired with pins and metal rods. He did great! He’s getting better each day and is about to have his staples removed. In a few weeks, the rods will come out too.
Together, not only did we manage to save Treads leg, but we also found him a family to call his own. After hearing Treads story, a wonderful family opened there home to Tread and are in the process of adopting him.
Everyone on Team No Kill Harford is grateful to be a small part of a very large community that cares so much for animals … even the animals that they may never meet.
Thank you to everyone that asked about Tread, sent kind words of support, and donated. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Tread's new family.

Tread smiling after his surgery!

To learn more about No Kill Harford please visit them at;
For more information on Chesapeake Veterinary Referral Center (CVRC) please visit them at;

Here is Tread's post-op radiograph. Another BIG THANKS to the incredibly talented surgeons at CVRC!! We are so grateful!!!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Y'all,

    Oh, you made my Human cry...sigh...I hope Tread finds a happy, loving forever home...

    Y'all come back now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog