Back in 2008 a Christmas tradition was begun at Animal General Hospital. Eddie, my best friend from high school, sent a check for $200.00 with his annual Christmas card to Brenda and me.
Since then I have used those funds, along with a matching amount, to help pets and pet owners in need.
Yesterday I got Eddie’s check for Christmas, 2012. While I don’t yet have anyone in mind to use the funds for, I know the opportunity will be provided.
It always is.
Sometimes I have felt led to use the entire check on one pet. Sometimes it is divided among four or five families.
Of all the times Eddie’s donation has helped people and their pets, my favorite remains a situation from a few years ago.
Regular readers know that I have a special place in my heart for the elderly. One day an older lady came in with a sick little dog. She had traveled here from North Carolina to spend Christmas with a old friend, but her trip became complicated by a severely-ill pet. She had funds for the round trip, but no reserves for an emergency.
If she spent money to get her dog well she would have none left for the drive home.
Many years ago I made a statement I have often repeated: “The worst thing that can happen to you on a trip is getting sick and having to visit a doctor you don’t know. The second worst is having your pet become ill and having to see a veterinarian you don’t know. The third worst thing is for your car to break down and have to see a mechanic you don’t know.”
So, with that in mind, it could have been worse. The lady wasn’t ill. But her pet was, and it was a life-or-death severe illness.
And, she was leaving town early the next morning.
That meant there was no time to perform needed blood and urine tests prior to beginning treatment, so we administered symptomatic therapy, wished her well, prayed over her and her pet, and sent her on her way.
Between Eddie’s gift and matching she didn’t have to pay a penny.
She cried and cried tears of gratitude.
Best of all, she sent a letter a week or so later, with a picture of her now-healthy pet who responded to treatment and made a full recovery.
To date, it remains one of the best Christmas presents I have ever received.
Merry Christmas to all of you, Dr. Randolph.