By Darren Lum
No one should say goodbye to a loved one before they have to.
Inspired by the memory of a 140-pound Leonberger dog named Bismarck, a world traveller that liked to swim in Little Kennisis Lake and have his bum scratched, the Haliburton Pet Owners’ Assistance Fund was started. The fund helps lower income pet owners cover the unexepected costs of emergency and non-routine life-saving veterinary services.
President of HPOAF Roy Campbell and secretary treasurer Tayce Wakefield owned Bismark.
Thanks to pain medication, Bismark was given an extra six months of life before dying of bone cancer.
Campbell cannot imagine if he couldn’t afford the medication and had to say goodbye to Bismark before he was ready.
“As difficult as it was to watch him decline over a three month period with osteosarcoma, we can’t imagine how hard it must be for people who cannot afford the pain meds or other necessary veterinary interventions. That’s why we started the Haliburton Pet Owners’ Association Fund – it’s our way of paying forward all the good things he brought to us,” he said in a press release.
The fund is working with local veterinarians who serve permanent residents of Haliburton County. The applications for funding must come from vets.
Other board members include Dr. Peter Bennett, a retired Minden veterinarian at the Minden Animal Hospital from 1979 to 2006 and an associate veterinarian at Bayview Animal Hospital in Toronto from 1971 to 1979; Andrea Habas, a partner in the Toronto law firm of Bresver, Grossman, Chapman and Habas and a member of the Animal Law Section of the Ontario Bar Association; and Joan Middleton, a long-time Haliburton resident, former breeder of champion English springers and information technology consultant.
Bennett said sometimes you can’t plan for the unexpected and emergency situations demand more than we can afford.
“Pets are often important members of the family. We feed them, exercise them, play with them, spay or neuter them and do everything we can to keep them healthy. But unfortunately no matter how much we care for them, sometimes unexpected things happen: they might ingest something poisonous, contract a serious disease or suffer some other traumatic episode,” he said.
Campbell welcomes support and help in this endeavour.
“We invite members of the Haliburton community to help us help pet owners in Haliburton County,” said Campbell. “Donations may be made by cheque to HPOAF at 1975 Watts Rd, Haliburton, ON K0M 1S0 or by e-transfer and we’ve partnered with CanadaHelps.org for credit card contributions.”
The president said contributions are a way to memorialize pets and appreciates the support the charity has received from the veterinary services and pet retailers.
“Making a contribution to HPOAF is a great way to memorialize a pet that has been important to you – we would like to post their pictures and a profile on our website. And it’s a great way to salute an animal-lover. We appreciate that the veterinary services in Haliburton and Minden as well as pet stores in the area have enabled us to put ‘toonie jars’ and brochures on display,” said Campbell.