Max is doing fantastic. He’s about 5, the sweetest guy. Loved getting hand fed treats. His Mom stepped in to rescue him about a year ago, his situation was bad and she knew he needed help. She gets by on food stamps and collecting cans and bottles, another reminder that those with the least are the ones who often step in to help the most.
Telling her that Max was doing great was everything we hoped for. And it sure did make her smile. Because who wouldn’t want to get good news like that? Heart rate, lungs, skin, ears, eyes, all of the private parts, the whole shebang, we cover it all. Seriously, these aren’t five minute exams. There was some Grade 2 dental to deal with, and we’ll get that another time. When The Pongo Fund and PONGO ONE rolls, this is exactly what we’re hoping for. To deliver good news. Because really, don’t we all long for some good news?
But we also had to deliver some news that wasn’t so good. Not for Max, but for some others. And that’s what we’re here for too. Because sometimes we need to diagnose the bad before we can make it good. So in that moment, it’s a bit of both, the good and the bad. And that’s why later this month PONGO ONE will roll out for some super busy surgery days, including a lot of dentals, and a nasty tumor that needs to come off ASAP.
There’s a lot of folks that cannot afford this level of veterinary care. That’s life, and a reminder it really could be any one of us. But they hope and they pray and they go to the vet for the good news that hits them hard when it’s not good news.
And they wait in the lobby with the best of intentions as the wonderful veterinary staff prepares the estimate to let them know how much it will cost to heal the pain, to pull the teeth, to run the bloodwork, to take the xrays, to treat the arthritis, to biopsy the growth, to remove the tumor, to do what needs to be done.
And while they wait, they pray quietly on the outside and loudly on the inside, hoping it is less than $100, because that is the most they can cobble together but deep inside they know it will be more.
And they still wait, clutching their dog tight to their chest, shaking with fear, wanting to run out the door because they know they cannot afford more than $100. And then the estimate comes back, and the vet has done the best they can to save money, and they’ve even gone back and run the numbers again and donated some pain meds because they want to help, and then the vet sits down with the person and they explain the estimate.
And the person, still holding their dog, still shaking, with the watery eyes they say are allergies but they’re tears, they sit together and look at the estimate that shows $2,000.00. And they pray it’s a mistake.
$2000, how can that be? And the person asks if that’s correct, and the vet understands, she knows what’s at stake, and she says yes, that’s the cost, $2000. And she even shows the items that have been discounted but all the person with the dog with the tumor sees is the $2000 and it could be $2 million because they don’t have it and even if they sell everything they have, everything they own is still worth less.
And with the most gentle tone, the vet who has faced this before suggests they go home and think about it. And this woman leaves, still holding her dog, walking to the bus stop blocks away, and crying because she needs to cry, and the only good part is that her dog loves to lick salty tears. And they go home.
We know this is how it happens because she told us this is how it happens. What do you do then? Besides counting the days and watching the teeth get worse or waiting for the abscess to eat through the cheek or for the tumor to double in size and then break open. Seriously, what do you do?
And that’s why The Pongo Fund is doing what we do. To go where no one else goes. To tackle the delicate surgeries, to tackle some of the toughest cases. We’re absolutely not running away from fighting the fight. Because when we sat around a table eight years ago and started The Pongo Fund, this was our mantra. To be there for the animals. And 100,000 animals later, 100,000 lives saved, that’s exactly what we’re still here to do. To be there for the animals.
To give you an idea of what it means for The Pongo Fund to do the work we do, the cost estimates for the next six surgeries top $10,000.00 in value.
We’re a tiny group with a lot of dedicated volunteers, but still, we’re pretty much just a speck in size. Small but mighty, that’s what we say, and we do all we can, stretching those dollars like they’ve never been stretched before. And then, stretching them again.
But thanks to you, and to your donations to our Emergency Medical Fund, and our volunteer medical team, we’re hoping to do all of those surgeries for FREE, using the operating suite and the labwork and the xray machine tucked happily inside PONGO ONE. Bloodwork, xrays, surgeries, medications, all of it for FREE.
And that $10,000? That’s just one day worth of surgeries. And there’s more waiting after that.
Please understand something, and this is important, because what I’m writing now has nothing to do with the cost of veterinary care. Because there are so many brilliant veterinarians who give it their all every single day. And it’s easy to forget that there’s a lot that goes into that care. Schooling, machines, diagnostics, supplies, rent, overhead; it’s all expensive. Bottom line is that good veterinary care sometimes costs more than we can afford. Just like everything else.
But thankfully we also know some vets who cut costs every chance they can, without ever cutting corners. Those are the vets we adore. And The Pongo Fund has several of them on our side.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
And this is why we Pongo.
Sit. Stay. Eat. Live. thepongofund.org