Welcome to 2007! I spent my Christmas holidays in Mongolia, helping out a small animal hospital in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar. I have come home with a new set of friends, a greater appreciation for other cultures and a strong desire to remind all Americans how greatly blessed we are. As you begin this new year, take time to be thankful for all that you and your pets have. While in Mongolia, I saw severe nutritional diseases resulting from feeding puppies rice and raw meat diets. I saw frustrated veterinarians who had no access to proper pain control medications for surgery. I saw much infectious disease due to poor sanitation, improper vaccination and lack of education. I saw multitudes of stray dogs who had learned to survive on the streets, even with daytime temperatures of negative 20 degrees F. I saw a culture that rarely brings pets into the house, let alone allowing them into their beds. At the same time, I saw people who wanted to do what was best for the animals that they loved. They sought the best veterinary care they could afford. The next time you buy a bag of dog or cat food, remember that few pet owners in this world have access to such high quality nutrition for their pets – or themselves. When you take your dog for a walk, be thankful that you can trust the streets to be clean and safe for your vaccinated pet – and your children. When your cat comes home at night and curls up on the couch, remember all those animals, and people, that are braving the elements outside.
We at Animal Care Clinic challenge you to make 2007 a year in which you will count your own blessings, and make efforts to help others so they can count theirs. Whether you donate or volunteer, for animals or for people, helping others with a joyful heart will allow you to appreciate the blessings you have been given.
by Bonnie Markoff, DVM, ABVP