When missing dogs and cats end up at shelters, these unfortunate, lost pets deserve veterinary care. Some suffer from injuries ranging from minor to serious. Others become malnourished because they eat whatever they can find. And, numerous animals will not get the medications they normally would at home. They all need help. Some will receive it but for way too many their future is grim. Sadly, those are the ones without hope and, ultimately, they will be put down.
Medical Attention Saves Shelter Animals
About 10 or 12 years ago, I read about a case like that on social media. It’s something that haunts me to this very day. There was a young adult, blue, pitbull-type dog, with the sweetest but saddest face. It was standing in a concrete pen, on three legs, at the Miami-Dade Municipal Shelter. And, it was plain to see that the other leg was fractured.
Despite, shelter volunteer efforts to find an organization to pull him and get the medical attention he needed, nobody responded. Two days later the staff put him to sleep (although there is a stronger term I think would be more appropriate!).
This example illustrates what can happen when nobody acts to give lost pets the veterinary care they deserve. It takes lives; it doesn’t protect them.
DR. EDWARD AND THERESA GARCIA
Veterinary Care Pioneers Form Partnership
The story begins in 1971, in Colorado, when Dr. Edward Garcia (father of Theresa) opened North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital. In fact, it became the first 24-hour animal hospital in the Rocky Mountain Region. And, it was quite an ambitious undertaking. The staff of 30 included the area’s first Board Certified veterinarians. They managed four surgery rooms, a full kennel, and their own in-house x-ray facilities—a rarity back then.
Pet Surrenders And Animal Drop-Offs
Located right off a major highway and close to the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter (DMAS), the hospital soon became well-known. “Every week people would drop off an astounding number of animals,” commented Theresa Garcia. “We became ‘famous’ for taking in animals as opposed to their surrender at the DMAS. They knew that the medical attention the pets received would far outweigh what the shelter could provide.”
She explained that a few of the animals lived on the premises until their adoption, or the DMAS found the rightful owner. Shockingly, though, fifty percent of the time the owner didn’t want to take the animal back!
Surrendered, Lost, Abandoned
For decades, the Garcias absorbed the temporary boarding and medical expenses for all these surrendered and lost canines and felines. And, to this day, they continue to donate their veterinary services to DMAS. Their commitment to providing medical attention is saving shelter animals’ lives. Encouragingly, many other smaller family-owned animal hospitals across the country are doing the same. They truly love their communities and strive every day to end needless suffering.
Vaccination Records Help Track Pet Ownership
Also, let’s remember that one of the ways to reunite a lost pet with its owner is through vaccination records. And, North Metro Emergency Animal Hospital was able to assist DMAS in another way. “At one time, our veterinary facility was the only one open and available to assist the municipal shelter,” Garcia remarked. “A large percentage of lost pets were vaccinated here so we had 24-hour access to owner addresses and phone numbers.”
Needless to say, this partnership was a very successful one. “Our veterinary hospital became the first one in Colorado to enroll in the now mandatory licensing program. And, we are also very proud of another achievement. We were the first to offer the DMAS vouchers to waive registration fees for seniors and minorities,” Garcia added.
To Sum Up
There’s a lot more to learn from Theresa about her non-profit organization, Pets 4 People. Also, there’s exciting news about the animal hospital’s new facility and expanded services for a holistic approach to animal medicine. But we’ll keep all of this on hold for another day! In the meantime, however, you can visit http://pets4people.org for an overview.
Together, let’s keep our precious pets healthy, happy and safe!
More must-read articles in this category:
Recently updated blog, now the introductory article in a mini series on losing, finding and reuniting companion animals https://petpeevesunmasked.com/lost-pets-search-tips
Here are stories about what some resourceful pet parents did to get reunited with their missing dogs and cats https://petpeevesunmasked.com/helpful-strategies-find-pets/
Pet guardians forget that dogs have wild instincts and can easily run off https://petpeevesunmasked.com/dogs-run-away-because/