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Letha and Socks: Critical Health Care for Animals and Humans


Socks is not a vain fellow, but he needed a haircut—for medical reasons.

For long-haired cats like Socks—a handsome 11-year-old tuxedo (black-and-white) cat—matted fur is not just a cosmetic issue. Dreads, or mats, can cause skin problems and infections. And they hurt.

Socks’ mom, Letha S., had fallen on hard times and needed some assistance with veterinary bills. That’s where Veterinary Care Vouchers from One Health Organization came into play, to help get Socks fixed up and ready to snuggle comfortably.

Health Care Struggles

Letha and her husband live in Berea, southwest of Cleveland, in a housing complex operated by the Cleveland Municipal Housing Authority (CMHA). They have three kitties: Socks, Stink, and Tigger. The management allows pets but charges an annual deposit. 

When Letha submitted an online request for Vouchers, she was coping with multiple crises. Her husband was in the hospital, in the intensive care unit. Socks is bonded to Letha’s husband and was really missing cuddling with his dad. 

Money was tight, and the family didn’t have a veterinarian at the time. Socks’ fur was getting more and more matted, and he needed vaccines. 

Working Together to Get Socks the Care He Needed

When we received Letha’s application, we were able to act quickly and issued $250 worth of Vouchers. That’s because she sent all the required documentation when she applied, and we had the funds waiting for people like Letha.

Letha booked an appointment for Socks at Aaron Animal Clinic. At the clinic, Letha used the Vouchers to pay for a wellness exam, treatment against intestinal parasites, vaccines, and a "sanitary" shave. 

Before his shave, Socks required sedation. All the knots in his fur made shaving him a tricky operation, and the team didn’t want to accidentally cut him. Socks was somewhat frightened by the sound and feel of the clippers, so sedating him meant he could be calmer while the staff cleaned him up. 

Life-Saving Treatments 

The treatments Socks received at Aaron Animal Clinic may have helped save his life. 

Socks could have gotten very sick or died if he hadn't received necessary veterinary care. Parasites can cause cats symptoms that not only harm kitties, but can also harm people. Without proper care for Socks, Letha and her husband and the other kitties could have been in danger. 

Now Socks is protected against parasites, and he got vaccinated against other serious diseases, including rabies. This helps keep their entire family healthy.

His fancy new haircut eliminated those dangerous, painful mats and kept his skin clean and healthy.

Donors and Staff to the Rescue

Letha says she is “eternally grateful” to everyone who made this happen for Socks and her family: the staff, donors, and volunteers at One Health Organization, and Aaron Animal Clinic, which provided loving care for their fluffy guy.

Not having the resources to pay for quality veterinary care was hard for Letha. She knew Socks needed to visit the vet, but she had put it off because of the cost. Money struggles can add a mental and emotional burden, especially when it involves caring for a loved one.

Letha is not alone. There are thousands of pet parents in northeast Ohio who are eligible for One Health Veterinary Care Vouchers. But not everyone who qualifies knows about the resources available for low-income pet parents.

Interconnected Lives

Socks’ success story shows just how vulnerable pet parents and pets are in these tough economic times.  It also shows the power of the collaborative effort that led to Socks getting the care he needed.

No one should have to choose between health care for themselves and their pets. 

Just ask Socks. He’s probably purring right now.

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