A happy ending and a cautionary tale from the South LA Shelter Intervention Program. It’s always wise to get a second opinion!
Yesterday, this senior dog came to the South LA shelter to be surrendered not because the owner didn’t want to keep her dog but because she had spent hundreds of dollars trying to care for her dog’s chronic skin issues. Being on a fixed income, she simply could not afford to pay anymore and the skin problem was not getting any better with all the visits. She felt her dog was suffering and she did not know where to turn. Amanda counseled her that another opinion was needed and skin allergies or mange might not be the condition to treat. Within a couple hours, at a low cost vet we use, we paid for the exam and found out that this senior dog had a severe thyroid condition that needed daily medication probably for the rest of her life. Her owner can afford the medicine and was so relieved to have an answer. So why didn’t she get a second opinion before, two possible reasons. First, many of us will take what a professional tells us as the answer and not challenge it, whether it’s an MD or a Veternarian. Second, there are not a lot of animal hospitals in South LA and if one doesn’t drive, one is very limited to walking or the kindness of a friend or family member to drive the pet and owner to a vet. Add in all the standard challenges of poverty, lack of reliable phone service, lack of access to the internet, lack of ability to research the internet for resources and you have this situation. Imagine how many pets we could keep out of all shelters if we had a volunteer or staff member to offer resources instead of accepting surrendered pets.