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Posted on 02-02-2016
In October of last year, the FACE Foundation approached us asking if we were willing to help them with an exciting new project. The FACE Foundation (www.face4pets.org) helps finance life-saving surgeries when actual financial need is the only thing between saving a pet’s life and “economic euthanasia.” Traditionally, dental care has not been a part of their program because it was not considered a “life saving procedure.” However, recently they had started a fund that would help provide this important care for their Grantees (clients who had received FACE assistance in the past).
FACE’s president revealed to us that years back she had neglected her dog’s dental care over fear of anesthesia and a misunderstanding of the vitality of oral health. By the time she realized how critical the situation was, she said the damage had been done. In honor of her beloved dog, she started Roxy's Dental Fund to help provide dental care to pets in need. She approached us asking if we would be willing to host the first FACE dental day. The goal would be to provide complete dental cleanings, X-Rays and necessary extractions & oral surgeries to as many pets as possible. Comprehensive Dental procedures can be extremely time consuming, and we usually don’t schedule more than 2 or 3 in a day. The idea of doing so many dentals in a day was daunting a best, but we felt our staff was up to the task.
Preparations began with procedural plans and forms. When we asked for staff volunteers to help pets (and people) in need, we were thrilled by the response. So many of our staff were willing to donate their time doing a long day of hard work. We needed receptionists to administrate and deal with paperwork, assistants to help with check-ins and check-outs plus patient recovery, technicians to monitor anesthesia as well as to perform the cleanings and obtain dental X-Rays, and of course veterinarians to create treatment plans and perform extractions. Additionally, our doors would remain open for regular appointments. In the end, we had 9 staff volunteers and 4 FACE volunteers to make this idea a reality.
The candidates came from FACE’s list of grantees, meaning they had been already been screened for true financial need and had received emergency care grants from FACE in the past. At the time of their emergency procedure it had been determined that their pet was in need of dental care due to marked periodontal disease or tooth damage. Ultimately, our “clients” included single parents with limited incomes, veterans, and one owner who had to quit his job to care for his ailing mother.
On Sunday, December 6th we opened our doors to dogs in need ranging from “Fawn,” a tiny Italian Greyhounds, to “Heidi,” a sweet giant Rottweiler. Our entire treatment room was a buzz with activity, with two tables running dentals, patients recovering, and staff members everywhere.
Ultimately, 8 dogs received vital dental care that day. Some needed nothing more than a thorough cleaning, while others required major extractions and oral surgery.
We felt great being able to help these wonderful pets, but of course the real reward was in the faces of the owners. Their smiles and happy tears told us that our frenzied day was totally worth the effort!
FACE is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to pet owners who cannot afford the cost of their pet’s life-saving procedures. If you are interested in FACE or would like to donate to their efforts, please visit their webpage at http://www.face4pets.org.
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