Saturday, February 20, 2016

If Wealth Were Measured In Good Deeds

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of being a veterinarian is being granted a small peak into the lives of the pets we serve. That few minutes we spend with our patients and their family (even if it is only once a year) provides a tiny glimmer into the life our patients experience daily.

When we decided to open our off-season largely vacant boarding facility to any pet who needed shelter through the cold harsh months of January and February I hoped that a few of the neighbors who keep their "guard dogs" outside 24/7/365 would overlook their fortresses vulnerability for a few sub-zero nights and drive their dogs to our 4 star Jarrettsville Vet Center hotel. Quietly inside I knew that there was a very real chance that not one single of the many pets chained to a shack that legally passes as a 'shelter' would ever spend a night inside. Turns out I was a little wrong and a little disheartened to learn about the real need within our community.

I would argue with a full fledged authentic military snap salute that we in the USA are the wealthiest, most powerful, free, democratic society on the globe. Today in this great country we are also in the throws of the ugliest trench warfare I have ever seen. Right now in the USA we are in the middle of the process of picking the Presidential hopefuls that will run for our votes to govern this magnificent country. It is appalling to see how disrespectfully we trash each other. It is shameful to witness this at the same time that our boarding facility becomes populated by pets with the most basic desperate need for simple warmth and shelter. It is a slap in the face of the greed and selfishness that we Americans have become so rightfully accused of.

For the few local residents we have helped I have witnessed their story firsthand and become saddened by the reality that exists among those of us living in "the land of the free and the home of the brave."

Here are the stories of the people who brought their pets in for our free boarding these past few weeks. These are the stories of pets I don't see on the exam table. The pets who don't get even basic care because it is unattainable. The pets who might have frozen to death if we hadn't opened our doors and offered free care. These are the faces of real need and those who live without.

Miss Pink is a middle aged spayed white lab. She is sweet, gentle, loving and the companion to her mom who is homeless and living in her car. Her mom could barely scrape together enough money to buy gas so she could drive 30 miles each night so she could bathe in the bathroom of a 24 hour gas station. As the weather got colder they needed a better plan if they were going to survive. Because Miss Pink was not allowed in the local shelters her mom was left to make the only decision a loving parent can make; she opted to put her life on the line and live in her car with her dog. The temperatures plummeted to below 0, the universe dumped three feet of snow and Maryland was shut down for three days in late January 2016. Miss Pink came to stay with us for that Winter storm week. Miss Pink was then transferred to a rescue who will foster her for as long as the woman needs and she is in a safe, warm shelter.

Miss Pink
Last week we received a Facebook request to board 10 cats and a dog. The owners house had been deemed 'not safe for inhabitants' and the family needed help in taking care of their four legged family members as they looked for a new place to call home. Can you imagine not being able to stay warm in your own home? Their names are Beebo, Hope, Lil, Missy, Tin Tin, Chloe, Kitten Girl, Big Cat, Penelope, Tigger, and her dog Newbie.

Penelope and Beebo


Beebo and Hope

Kitten Girl and Chloe

Tin Tin and Lil
The cats all needed their rabies vaccines updated. Newbie was treated for fleas and severe flea allergy dermatitis. He was also vaccinated. They are headed to their new house on Sunday.

Cesar was the neighbors cat. He was seen and taken care of by the rest of the housing complex he resided at. As the weather turned the neighborhood caretakers called us and asked how they "could help a cat that wasn't really theirs?" Our advice; ask the owners, nicely. Cesar stayed at JVC for a few days and is in the process of being adopted to become an inside cat by the neighbors who love him as Cesar's original family is in the process of being evicted.

There were also four cats from separate homes who came to stay with us. All had the same story. They were all outside cats who had been fed, watched after, and were loved by friends and clients who worried about the drop in temperatures and their ability to survive outside. Every single one of these cats has been vaccinated, fixed, microchipped and adopted back into the homes that brought them to us. With a little help from us these cats lives will improve significantly because two parties cared enough to make it possible. I never believed that providing a place to stay could have so many positive ripple effects. Curing disease with an antibiotic, surgically removing a cancer that will take a life, and providing advice that assists someone to understand what their pets difficult behavioral responses are caused by are all satisfying affirmations that our professional abilities are purposeful. But, offering a hand and having it be compounded so impactfully, that is better than anything.

If your neighbor needed help and was brave enough to ask would you label them "a lazy welfare monger?" Wouldn't you just help them? Does division, hate, and nasty labels help us? Why are we so upset by the shit slinging of our elected officials if we aren't living by a different example? There are people in our community, our state, our country, and yes, even half way around the globe, who need help and all we can do is label and ostracize them?

Sure taking these cats and dogs in is full of liability. And sure they could bite, scratch and be carrying disease.  And yes, our good deeds might not go unpunished. There are thousands of easily justifiable excuses to turn a blind eye. BUT, it is the simple act of helping another that is what this country and planet needs.

I never imagined that there was so much need in my own back yard. I also never imagined how we could help so many people. I only knew that I couldn't NOT try. We put out a small box on the front desk of the clinic asking for help from our clients and friends so that we could help those who came to us asking for assistance. It was a little leap of faith. It has turned into a force of perpetual "paying it forward."

Who says Jarrettsville Vet can't shape the future of the USA, or even the world? We can start a kindness tsunami with a few little ripples. We started with 15 cats and two dogs.

Many thanks to all of those who help make others and the pets that need a little kindness through the cold days of Winter. The Good Samaritan Fund is a donation based pet provision place to help the pets in our community. Vets and staff donate their time and expertise to keep costs for care at the minimal. Everyone donates so that the pets in need can benefit.

If you would like to learn more about the amazing staff and stories of Jarrettsville Vet please visit us on our Facebook page.

If you have a pet in need you can get free expert advice at There are people who will help you and your pet. We may be in your back yard, like Jarrettsville Vet is, they  may be a world away, like Pawbly is, but they are there and we will help you.

Related Posts;
Free Boarding To Any Pet In Need.

Freezing Pets and a Vacancy.


  1. God Bless You & your Staff. You are living the 'good example'. Your parents must be so very proud of you Dr. - if you were my daughter I think I'd about burst from it.

  2. Congratulations yet again Krista for coming up with an idea that seems so simple and yet has such a wonderful impact on so many people. I think this is what we all need - examples of how we can help our fellow humans and animal companions.

  3. BRAVO!!!! You are not just a business....You are a business with a heart. Hopefully you will inspire others to follow in your footsteps. You are what the world so desperately needs. Thank you from the Ireland Family.