Lending a helping hand to paws in need
Many would agree that a person's pets are a part of their family.
But what happens when unexpected medical expenses of furry or feathered loved ones creates a significant financial burden?
That's where Sara Beisley and the Lend a Paw fund hope to help.
Beisley, a technician at Eagle Fern Veterinary Hospital, started the organization in February to help those who are faced with high medical costs for their pets. The group also features a board of directors.
"A lot of dogs come in (to the veterinary hospital) having been hit by cars or gotten into something toxic," she said. "You can't plan for that. Rather than not seek care, we've set aside a fund for people in the community to be able to care for their pets."
Through the fund, which is sustained by donations from those in the community, Beisley hopes to help families with sick pets afford emergency care, diagnostic tests and medications. Although Beisley is based at the Eagle Fern Veterinary Hospital, she's open to connecting with customers at other local clinics who are interested in using the fund for their animals.
"I want people to know they have support," she said. "We care about their animals."
Beisley's relationship with her 9-year-old German shepherd Jager inspired her to start the Lend a Paw group. After serving in the U.S. Navy for eight years, Jager helped her transition back to civilian life.
"After I got back from a tour in Iraq, Jager was my best friend, and he got me through some rough times," she said. "I wanted to care for him like he took care of me. I know other people's pets are important to them. I want to treat them like I'd treat my own dog."
In addition to the fund, leaders at Lend a Paw will partner with Eagle Fern Veterinary hospital to host a pet first aid class in May. The event is free, with donations to the Lend a Paw fund welcome. Focuses of the class will include CPR for animals, learning how to take vital signs, wound care, safely transporting injured animals, environmental toxins and how to prepare a pet first aid kid.
Beisley, describing the class as a mix of lecture and hands-on learning, believes this kind of knowledge is valuable for pet owners to have.
"The clinic might not be open, or it might be a wound that can be treated at home," she said.
Additionally, everyone who attends the event will be entered into a raffle to win a free pet first aid kit.
The event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 6, at Estacada City Hall, 475 S.E. Main St. Those interested in attending should RSVP by Monday, May 1.
In the future, Beisley and the rest of the Lend a Paw team hope to offer additional classes, low cost vaccine clinics and quarterly newsletters on the animals that the fund has helped.
Beisley emphasized that all funds donated to Lend a Paw go directly to pets.
"We want people to know that the money isn't going toward other things," she said. "All of it is helping animals."
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