I recently had a chance to make a television appearance on Cleveland’s WKYC Channel 3 “It’s About You” segment on behalf of One Health Organization.
Here's a link to the "It's About You" segment.
I spoke with anchor LeeAnn Sommers about our mission to support people and pets in need.
She asked if this is my life’s work. It definitely is.
When LeeAnn asked if I had any specific stories in mind to illustrate what we do, I talked about Lisa. In the short time I had, I couldn’t talk about everything that made their story heartwarming.
Lisa is a single mother raising two sons on her own after leaving a physically abusive relationship. Both of her sons have lasting trauma from the previous relationship, one son is severely autistic and the other suffers from PTSD. Lisa applied for Veterinary Care Vouchers from One Health Organization when she needed help with veterinary bills for their cat, Daisy, and their dog, Magellan. She qualified and received her Vouchers.
Unfortunately, Magellan needed to be euthanized when there was no humane solution left for this loving and loyal dog who provided so much comfort to Lisa and her two boys. Many times, people will say that their pet was "abused" by their previous owner. There's no way to prove that, but we do know that Magellan suffered from neglect and malnutrition before he found his forever home with Lisa and her children. Lisa told me she suspected that Magellan had been abused as a puppy, so she and he could relate to being in a bad situation at home. She was so sad after he died. Magellan fills a special place in her heart.
Euthanasia is sad for humans, but it is a necessary step for some pets when nothing else can be done to stop their decline. Alleviating a pet’s suffering with humane euthanasia is part of the pact we veterinarians make with these wondrous creatures.
It warms my heart every time I talk to Lisa. “Voucher assistance has not only eased the financial burden; it made it possible for us to keep our beloved pets and therapy animals,” Lisa told us.
Helping Humans and Animals
Lisa and her sons needed those pets in their lives to help them get through tough times.
It’s important to care for animals and make sure they have access to the care they need. But that’s only half of the equation for us.
We have to also think about the families who gain so much emotional, physical, and spiritual strength from the strong bonds they form with their pets.
Income or health status or language differences shouldn’t be barriers to health care, for humans or animals.
We are so grateful for the support that has allowed us to provide more than 660 households in Northeast Ohio with the veterinary care they needed.
And we are also aware that the need is growing. We currently have 55 households on a waiting list, and people contact us every day seeking help. Our goal is to help everyone who asks for it. Sometimes, help is simply a conversation talking about their pets with people who understand and care.
So Many Stories
As I said, in a short TV appearance like that, it’s hard to find time to say everything that needs to be said. And it’s hard to choose just one story to focus on. We believe every pet parent (and there are a lot of us!) should have access to high-quality veterinary care.
Sharing stories is one of our most powerful tools, and it’s one of the reasons why we focus on sharing the stories of pet parents.
On our website, we’ve collected success stories of people who have benefited from using Vouchers for veterinary care. That’s people like Lisa, or Heather, whose dog Yukon is the star of a children’s book.
And we also have stories of people in need, like Robert, a veteran who counts on his service dog Shadow, and Tiffany, who needs help for a therapy dog-in-training.
Focus on the Helpers
We couldn’t do this work without the thoughtfulness and generosity of the people who support the mission of One Health Organization by donating money and time.
I’m happy to say that both Robert and Tiffany were able to get the help their pets needed because of generous and thoughtful people like you. And we always have more people needing help.
As LeeAnn signed off, she said “If you love those puppies and kitties, get involved.”
I agree. But I just want to add: “If you love keeping people happy and healthy, their pets are family to them. Get involved to help people and their pets live healthy, happy lives, together.”