Friday, October 17, 2014

Crowd Funding Meets Crowd Sourcing. How Schmoopsie Changed The Way I Practice Medicine.

 OK, so maybe I am not the first kid to jump into the newest hottest trend. And, maybe I am a little late to dare to be the next trend spotter. (I watched an episode of Shark Tank where a savvy entrepreneur admitted to having had a career as a "trend spotter." That's a guy who gets paid to fly all over the world to look for kids making fashion statements. It's the established elderly fashion designers way of staying current and appearing to still have a finger on the pulse of the cool hip kids. I sarcastically point out the players and vehemently deny which side I land on in the above scenario).

But, I am fascinated by the concept of crowd sourcing and funding. I love the idea that a bunch of strangers get together to collectively work on solving a problem. A universal community of do-gooders determined to make a difference. How inspiring is that? We can all be a tiny part of a solution that has real impact, and makes a real difference. I believe in this as the faith to the problems of my tiny microcosm of wishing that I could do more. There isn't a pet loving person on the planet who doesn't feel compelled and almost psychotically driven to spread care to those voiceless pets in need who cower in fear, disease, and neglect both in our own backyards and around the globe.

I practice it in my own clinic everyday. I  know first hand the power of a photo on the internet. Our own Schmoopsie, (the price I pay for letting the staff name the pets), who has spent the last 2 months being hospitalized and intensely cared for is a small example of crowdfunding. She was brought to us a small speck of mangled fur and bones. She was a one month old feral kitten who had been caught in a fan motor at a factory where a client worked. When she was brought to us she was in terrible shape. Her front left leg was mangled to an unrecognizable mashed up appendage, her back left was not much better, and her face was covered in motor oil and grit. Her teeth were broken, and her lips degloved from her face. If she survived the first few days, she would need to have her left front leg amputated, her face reconstructed and her mouth wired. Not many would have looked at her and said, "OK, we will try."

She was a pathetic mangled dirty mess, but the client who found her wanted to try to save her, and so did we. So she was left with us.

A fund raiser effort on two fronts began. The collection basket at the factory yielded $700. The rest of her bill was a combination of donations of staff time, clinic services, and the generosity of others.

A few weeks later and she is a happy healthy three legged force of will power. She is skeptical of any of us in a white coat, (smart girl), and thrives in spite of her handicaps and continued wound care.

She has just been adopted and will soon be out of the clutches of our hospital to live the life of a pampered house cat.

She is the perfect example of veterinary health care free from the stigmas of the excuses too many dismiss as being acceptable.

Yes, there are a lot of easier cases out there. But did any of us go into medicine to just practice our craft on the easy cases?

Yes, she required an immense amount of care and TLC. How else is this job supposed to be rewarding? Our massive paychecks?

Yes, she took up staff time and attention. Why would anyone ever deny them a chance to live their purpose? For their massive paychecks?

She is the story told for generations. The one case that proved to us that a life does matter, and we do make a difference. She is the collaboration of highly trained technicians, veterinarians, and the entire veterinary hospital staff who all loved her, cared for her, looked out after her, fed her, held her, socialized her, took her home overnight for the first critical days and weeks. She is the miracle of a band of people who care.

She is why crowd funding AND crowd sourcing works.

What if we could design a site where people posted their pets needs and the users voted and paid for the treatment?

What if we could build a network of providers who would be willing to provide services that the public helps pay for and the pet benefits from? Everyone participates, everyone benefits, and ultimately more pets are helped?

I'd sign up!

Isn't technology and innovation amazing? Where do you think that I, the veterinarian with the big heart, the bigger dreams, in the little building in Northern Maryland could make a difference? Where could you?

I'm all ears..

You can find me here, please leave a comment I reply to every single one of them, or ask me a pet question, share your pet stories and help become a piece of the crowd sourcing care to help pets the world over. This is, free to use and open to all pet lovers.

You can also find me at the veterinary clinic, Jarrettsville Vet, in Jarrettsville Maryland. Or find me on Twitter @FreePetAdvice, or Google plus.


Schmoopsie was adopted last week (October 19, 2014). She is a happy active unstoppable bundle of kitten. Her other injured foot is healing well and although it isn't perfect (she doesn't seem t be able to retract or use the claws of her toes), she can do everything else. She is a true testament to the miracle of a kitten. I don't think that many people would have given her a chance, but she has proven to be a reminder to never give up on life.


  1. This is great! As a pre-vet, this was such a huge motivation just now. I hope to be a veterinarian that go out of their ways to help animals. Thank you for all you did for this cat!

    1. Hello Kubra,
      Thanks for reading and for taking the time to leave a comment. Best of luck on all of your endeavors!