Purdue Veterinary Medicine-led project to help care for Indianapolis pets in need
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Pets in financially struggling households in the Indianapolis area will be able to receive basic veterinary care thanks to a new program announced Friday (Sept. 23) by the Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine.
The goal of the Good Samaritan Endowment Program is to provide preventative, nonemergency wellness care for animals whose owners reside in and around Marion County and cannot afford veterinary care due to financial hardship. The program, announced in the courtyard of Lynn Hall during the Purdue University Fall Conference for Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians, also offers fourth-year veterinary and veterinary technician students at Purdue hands-on learning opportunities.
The program is made possible by an anonymous gift of $100,000 from an Indianapolis woman who wants to reach out to pet owners with hardships. Elanco Companion Health matched that donation.
"With the difficult economy, more and more families are being financially stressed, and there is great need for the Good Samaritan project," said Willie Reed, dean of the School of Veterinary Medicine. "It also will be an opportunity to introduce young people from families involved in the program to careers in veterinary medicine. These children may not otherwise learn about the possibility of a veterinary medical career."
The Purdue School of Veterinary Medicine, its Veterinary Teaching Hospital and three participating veterinarians in Marion County, all Purdue graduates, will administer the project. The three veterinarians are Dr. Philip Borst of the Shelby Street Animal Clinic, Dr. John Schnar of the Irvington Pet Clinic and Dr. Gail Dallas of the West 56th Street Veterinary Hospital.
"This is a win-win situation for students, pets and the community," Borst said. "We're lucky to have a donor who realizes the importance of preventative care and the financial constraints faced by many families. With preventative care, you can have the human-pet bond longer and develop it more. It also gives fourth-year Purdue veterinary medicine and veterinary technology students a chance to come down and see things in a normal situation. Often, they get involved with cases that are unusual or difficult.
"Pets clearly can be an integral part of a healthy family. Numerous studies have shown just petting a dog or cat lowers blood pressure. And there are numerous benefits that people get from dogs trained for service in schools and health-care facilities."
Through the Good Samaritan Program, basic wellness and routine treatment, such as vaccinations and heartworm prevention, will be available to those who verify their need through a questionnaire. Based on the financial need information provided through the questionnaire and the range of services needed, care will be provided at the discretion of the clinician in charge. The three clinics will offer care through the program, as long as funding permits, at designated dates and times that will be publicized in advance.
Three community centers in Marion County – the Concord Center, 1310 S. Meridian St.; Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center at Crooked Creek, 2990 W. 71st St.; and Church Within, 1125 Spruce St. – will work with applicants to determine if they meet financial qualifications.
"It is crucial to establish programs like the Good Samaritan to reinforce the importance of adequate veterinary care," said Stephen A. Connell, DVM, director of technical, academic and consumer services for Elanco Companion Animal Health. "Elanco fully recognizes the important role pets play in our lives and is committed to keeping pets happy and healthy."
Elanco Companion Health is a global company that develops and markets products to improve animal health in more than 75 countries.
Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine is one of only 28 North American colleges of veterinary medicine and the only veterinary school in Indiana. Since the graduation of its first class of DVMs in 1963, the school has produced nearly 3,000 veterinarians who now practice in all 50 states and abroad, filling important roles in government, industry and academia. The school also offers associate and bachelor's degrees in veterinary technology and graduate and postgraduate programs in three academic departments: basic medical sciences, veterinary clinical sciences and veterinary pathobiology.
Writer: Greg McClure, 765-496-9711, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Willie Reed, 765-494-7608, email@example.com
Philip C. Borst, 317-787-5323, firstname.lastname@example.org
Colleen Parr Dekker, Elanco, 317-276-4076
Kevin Doerr, director of alumni relations and public affairs for School of Veterinary Medicine, 765-494-8216, email@example.com