Sep 152002
Authors: Willow Welter

From great Danes to Chihuahuas, hundreds of dogs gathered Saturday to receive an array of health services provided at the second annual Dog Health Day.

CSU’s veterinary students organized the Sept. 14 fundraising affair to collect money for various animal related foundations. One hundred seventy dog owners, including Mayor Ray Martinez, brought their canine friends to the Veterinary Teaching Hospital located on Drake Road.

Shawna Rice, treasurer of the Student Chapter of the American Veterinary Medical Association, said the event raised more than $2,300, which SAVMA will match for total donations equaling around $5,000.

The veterinary students offered the dogs five different services: physical exams, nail trimming, dental exams, dog washes and behavior information. The health support was provided for a suggested donation of $5 to $10 per service, although some participants donated up to $100.

Mayor Ray Martinez brought his tail-wagging companion, Oakley, to the event, which lasted from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Oakley partook in every available health service.

“What they did here today would have cost me probably 100 bucks, and I paid $15,” the mayor said while the veterinary students hosed Oakley down in a dog wash area strewn with suds and empty shampoo bottles. “It’s the number two vet school in the nation. You couldn’t ask for a better place.”

David Driscoll, the main coordinator of Dog Health Day, helped originate the idea last September after the terrorist attacks on America. Driscoll said the event brought in between $6,000 and $7,000 last year.

“Last year we wanted to do it in response to the 9-11 attacks, to raise some money that we donated to the American Hero Fund,” Driscoll explained while gripping the leash of his dog, Shania. “This year we’re giving the money raised to VMAT.”

VMAT, Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams, provide medical support for animals injured in disasters, as well as aid for search and rescue dogs. VMAT member Cynthia Johnson had a table set up on the lawn with a large display of photos showing dogs in crisis situations.

“Most people have no idea what our group is all about,” Johnson explained. “So I just thought it’d be a good idea to come out and say ‘this is what we do.’ A lot of people have no idea.”

Other donations went to the future Fort Collins Community Pet Hospice Program. The center will probably open for service by the beginning of next year, said Julia Brandon, who is currently training students to work at the hospice. She explained that the center will offer end-of-life care for pets, as well as emotional support for their owners.

“We want to provide people with comfort and homecare either before making the decision to euthanize or because they don’t believe in euthanasia,” Brandon said.

Mike Manzo of the Longmont Fire Department had an area set up on the grass where he demonstrated and explained how his fire forensic specialist dog, Shadow, helps sniff out the origins of fires.

In addition to patrons, sponsors, residents and their dogs, over 200 veterinary students participated in Dog Health Day, said Erica Reay, who helped Driscoll coordinate the event.

“Especially for freshmen, it gives them the chance to come out and do physical exams,” Reay said. “And just get some hands-on experience.”

The College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences plans to continue the event in years to come, Driscoll said.

Edited by Shandra Jordan, Colleen Buhrer

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