GREENFIELD — Bailey, a goofy, lovable 100-pound chocolate lab, was slowly being killed by a tiny rubber ball she had swallowed about a week before Christmas.
Unable to afford the surgery to remove the foreign object causing their pup such distress, her Indianapolis owners feared they had no choice but to put their beloved pet out of her misery.
But the folks at Noah’s Animal Hospitals fought to give Bailey another option. After hearing of Bailey’s plight, the veterinarians called in their surgeon from home and told the family to bring Bailey in for a life-saving surgery.
Her euthanization had been scheduled to happen two hours later that day. But shortly after they finished the emergency surgery, Bailey was on the road to recovery. Bailey can be seen in the family’s Christmas pictures, and she’s still alive and happy today. Affordable care for pets in need is what Noah’s is all about, said Jennifer Judd, marketing manager.
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All Pet Health Care by Noah’s opened an office Thursday in Greenfield, bringing low-cost vet services to Hancock County. The full-service clinic aims to provide care to to people who might not be able to afford traditional veterinary services, Judd said. Noah’s plans to model its new clinic after its low-cost clinic in Indianapolis.
The new clinic, 2195 W. U.S. 40, is the sister clinic of Noah’s Brandywine Clinic on State Road 9 in Greenfield. The mission is to keep pets out of animal shelters by doing everything possible to keep them at home with their owners, Judd said.
While a general clinic might be better-suited to handle a pet’s chronic issues or illnesses that need long-term monitoring, the low-cost clinic is able to provide swift treatment for a number of common problems, Judd said.
In addition to providing basic wellness exams and vaccinations, All Pet will provide dental care, treatment of minor injuries, X-rays and even some surgical operations, she said.
All Pet will also offer low-cost boarding and microchipping said Dr. Denise Katz, medical director.
There is a saying among pet owners that if you can’t afford a vet, you shouldn’t own a pet, Katz said. As a result, many people surrender their animals because they can’t pay for simple check-ups and vaccinations.
Financially struggling pet-owners often feel hesitant about a trip to the vet, fearing doctors will condemn them for not giving a pet the treatment it deserves, said Dr. Janet Gray, the head veterinarian.
“They don’t find that here,” Gray said. “What they do find is us saying ‘OK, let’s try to come up with a solution that we can help you and not judge you,’ and people aren’t afraid of going to the vet anymore.”
Visitors aren’t required to show proof of income; anyone is welcome to bring a pet in for care, and first-time visitors can receive a free wellness check.
Almost all employees working at Noah’s clinics have a background in shelter work, Katz said. They’re all prepared to do some creative problem-solving with their clients to avoid pets being given up or unnecessarily confiscated by animal control, she said.
Having worked in an animal shelter before, Katz wants Hancock County residents to realize the availability of affordable pet care; giving up your pet isn’t the only low-budget option, she said.
“Just seeing those tearful goodbyes … the animal is just as upset at being left at the shelter as the people were to leave them,” Katz said. “But we have yet to find a creative solution to that problem of how people keep their animals in their home.”
“We can tell you from all the years we’ve been doing this, money has little to do with how much you love your animal and want to keep them and care for them,” Judd added.
Dr. Michael Thomas, the owner of Noah’s Animal Hospitals, started his first clinic in 1982 with a dream of fighting back against the problem of animal homelessness in central Indiana, Judd said. The business model of a low-cost clinic is one of the biggest steps in 35 years Noah’s has taken toward realizing that dream, she said.
“We truly believe Noah’s is the first veterinarian in Indiana to step up and say we want to put our money where our mouth is and do something about (pet homelessness) at a local level,” Judd said.
A new low-cost veterinary clinic in Greenfield offers a number of pet services at reduced rates. They include:
Wellness exam $20
Illness exam: $30
Follow-up exam: $10
Microchip: $20 including registration fee
Rabies vaccine: $15
De-wormer (two doses): $10
Coupons for a free first exam are available.
For detailed information on All Pet Health Care by Noah’s services, visit firstname.lastname@example.org