Seven years ago, I was a newcomer to Richmond, underemployed and mostly alone, save the companionship of my beloved dog Gus. He made two long-distance moves with me over the course of a year, and we were a long way from our home in Jackson, Miss. When he began to act differently, I read my own feelings into his lethargy and at first thought he was sad. A visit to a veterinarian pointed instead to a medical cause: Gus was in kidney failure.
Although I was supporting myself by waiting tables while searching for a job, I had some savings that made it possible to treat Gus' condition. However, after a few months, my savings were running out when he needed to be hospitalized overnight. I researched alternate treatments, credit plans and looked for low-cost veterinary clinics. There's a safety net for humans who can't afford medical care. Surely there would be help available for the dog who meant so much to me. Unfortunately, in 2005 that was not the case.
Gus' safety net came from a neighbor. An acquaintance aware of his condition and the struggle I faced provided funds for him to be treated. Although he succumbed to the illness only a few weeks later, the time it bought was precious, and I still savor those last days. She did not ask for repayment, only that I pay forward the kindness to some person or animal in need when I was able.
Today, I am glad to say the options are very different. The Richmond SPCA opened the Clinic for Compassionate Care on March 5, 2012. I see Gus in the pets waiting in our lobby to see a veterinarian. It is in his memory that I pay forward the gift that made his last treatment possible by making a gift to the Richmond SPCA during The Amazing Raise and also challenge you. By being neighbors to other pet guardians in the Richmond community, we can provide a safety net that gives them access to veterinary treatment when they can least afford it but when their pets need it most.
Each gift of $50 will move the Richmond SPCA up the leaderboard and toward the Grand Prize of $20,000. Individual gifts and all grant prizes awarded to the Richmond SPCA will benefit the Clinic for Compassionate Care.
Your lifesaving donation of $50 or more to the Richmond SPCA through the Amazing Raise enters you for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to Stony Point Fashion Park! Click here for details.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of communications for the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.