By Chris Bavender
Kevin is a survivor. A stray shepherd mix recently brought into the Humane Society of Hamilton County, he is paralyzed from the back down after being hit by a car. His veterinary bills were paid for with funds from the shelter’s Survivor Program.
“It’s essentially our medical fund. We use it to cover the cost of any kind of life-threatening medical injury, illness or anything that requires emergency medical care like Kevin,” said Rebecca Stevens, Director of the Humane Society of Hamilton County. “We rely on it heavily to save the lives of these animals. Without that money or support we would have to euthanize a ‘Kevin’ or most of the animals that have critical injures.”
Injuries cared for by veterinarians like Dr. Johnny Cross, director of VCA Advanced Veterinary Care Center in Fishers.
“He has no voluntary movement in his back legs but does have sensation in his back feet,” Cross said. “He maintains continence, which is a big thing. He can be just like every other dog – he just can’t walk. But, if you use a sling to support his back, he can get up and walk around.”
But it takes money – a lot of it – to continue to help animals like Kevin. A fundraiser from 6 to 11 p.m. Thanksgiving Eve by Barometer Soup at Three Ds Pub & Café will go toward Kevin’s medical bills. The goal is to raise at least $2,000, with any money over and above that going into the Survivor Program to help the next animal in need.
“One of the biggest misnomers about our organization is how we are funded. We are only about 28 percent funded from the municipalities of Hamilton County, which pays for the first seven days of care. After that, it’s our responsibility,” Stevens said. “We have to look at every situation individually. We are by definition a no-kill shelter which means if an animal comes to us – regardless of breed, age, disability, special medical needs, etc. – as long as they have a treatable condition or rehabilitative behavioral issue they get a chance at our facility.”
“I’ve never worked with a humane society that really understands and wants to save these animals,” Cross said, “but also understands the roles these animals can play in people’s lives and the community through programs like Pets Healing Vets.”
As for Kevin, Stevens and Cross know he’ll soon find a loving “furever” home.
“He would be a dog to do very well in a cart – which would be the best way to give him quality of life and mobility,” Cross said. “It’s absolutely amazing how much these dogs want to get out and run and chase balls.”