Making a Difference: C.A.R.E NC

Canine Assisted Rehabilitation for the Elderly, or C.A.R.E. NC was founded by Dr. Julianne Davis, of Quail Corners Animal Hospital in Raleigh NC. C.A.R.E. NC is a non-profit organization dedicated to transforming shelter dogs into therapeutic visitors for the elderly of Wake County.  In this way, their mission is two-fold with the aim of increasing adoptability of these dogs while motivating senior citizens through the healing power of pets.

Chief and Dr. Davis at Morningside Assisted Living.

The idea for the non-profit was actually spawned from her adopted dog, Chief, an extremely loving and affectionate German Shepherd, who Dr. Davis realized would make a perfect fit for service work.  Soon after, she began taking him to Spring Arbor Assisted Living facility in Raleigh in early spring of 2011, “The experiences we had with the elderly changed everything. What if shelter dogs could be transformed into visitors for the elderly while they are waiting to be adopted? The behavior training would not only increase their adoptability but enrich the lives of the senior citizens. It’s a WIN-WIN!”

C.A.R.E dogs are currently therapeutic visitors at 4 facilities throughout Wake County. Dr. Davis noted that starting a non-profit organization has been an enormous amount of work, but the responses received have been amazing. “A visit with one of our dogs is the highlight of the week for many seniors. The dogs help to decrease feelings of loneliness and isolation that many of the residents face daily.  Ironically, many of the shelter dogs share these same feelings. As an individual I believe that we have to be the change we want to see the in the world.  One person (or dog) can make a difference.”

Though still in the early days, C.A.R.E NC hopes to continue to grow and engage more assisted living communities throughout the region.  To learn more about this amazing program and how to lend support visit the C.A.R.E. NC website at

The Spirit of Giving Back: Wylie’s Story

All of us in veterinary medicine have surely experienced many a story of success, of happy outcomes we’ve seen in the clinic. Rarely, however, do remarkable “coincidences” with clinic staff, community, and perhaps even fate, work together so remarkably as they did in Wylie’s case.

Wylie, a lively Jack Russell terrier, was thrown from his owner’s vehicle when it was involved in an accident on I-15, the interstate that runs through Pocatello, ID. Wylie actually lost the bottom half of a hind leg in the accident and apparently escaped the scene in a panic. Remarkably, he did not bleed to death, and equally remarkably, managed to survive in the hills for four days.

The terrier was discovered by caring residents not far from the interstate, and from there a Pocatello Animal Control officer brought him to Alta Animal Hospital, where I practice. Wylie was not in good shape, but seemed to understand that he was there to be helped. With the assistance of my dedicated staff, I amputated the remaining mangled portion of his leg. We watched in awe as he handled all of this with courage, resilience, and even when he could, a wagging tail.

During his stay at our hospital, the rest of this story unfolded. Wylie belonged to a family which was driving past Pocatello on their way to a memorial service for the owner’s brother who had committed suicide – a sad enough situation made even worse by the accident. Officers at the scene told the family there was no way that Wylie could have survived, but the two young daughters never gave up hope. With their mom still in the hospital due to injuries she sustained, they called area clinics and shelters in the days after the accident, hoping against hope that someone had found Wylie. In fact, the family had called us at Alta Animal Hospital even before we had seen Wylie. But as soon as Wylie was brought to Alta, I was re-connected with his family and able to pass on the happy news that Wylie had survived and was going to be OK!

The family was concerned about their ability to pay for the costs of Wylie’s care, so my staff and I looked for solutions (as veterinarians so often do). I donated my surgery time, and we decided to share his story with the local newspaper. The newspaper printed the story, and mentioned that we were accepting donations at the clinic to help Wylie’s family with his remaining medical costs. No sooner than the story appeared, our phones began to ring with individuals making donations. Soon, caring folks from the area even began to arrive at the clinic to donate in person! In fact, the donations eventually exceeded the costs, and thus a “Wylie Fund” has been established. This fund awaits another pet in need.

Meanwhile, Wylie recovered nicely and everyone at Alta fell in love with the perky, loving little fellow! A week or so later, Wylie’s family made the trip back to pick him up. What an emotional reunion it was! The staff and I were elated to see Wylie all wags and wiggles upon seeing his family, but so sad to see him go – we’d grown attached. I confess that I got a little teary-eyed when I saw him so happily reunited with his family.
My staff and I will miss Wylie and his bright, upbeat view of the world, but I am especially called to appreciate the many individuals in this community who stepped forward to find Wylie, bring him to Alta for care, and assist his family with the costs. Wylie’s case demonstrates that positive “coincidences” and community involvement can bring wonderful outcomes.

Submitted by,

Kirsten M. Nickisch, DVM
1601 Bannock Highway
Pocatello, ID 83204

Are you ready for another pet?

Most pet adoption organizations operate under the same simple mission: Make sure the pet’s next home is its last home.

Before you bring home a new dog or cat, there’s a million things to think about – where will you find your pet? Will your pet get along with your other pets? How will you help your pet adjust and keep your pet healthy? We can help you find the answers.

Know Your Family
Pet adoption screeners are skilled at matching pets to people. The more questions they ask you, and the more honestly you answer, the better suited your family will be to the pet you finally bring home.

The Adoption Process
The dog or cat you want has to get along with the pets you already have. Your pet also has to meet the needs of the humans in your family. Start by making a list of the non-negotiable qualities a new pet should have.

The First Checkup
Regardless of the age or breed of your new pet, a visit to the veterinarian and a complete physical exam should be a top priority. Start your pet off right with vaccinations, baseline testing, and a clean bill of health.

Plan for the Unexpected
Sometimes pets get sick, and sometimes pets are lost. Both are experiences that can be less traumatic for you if you’ve planned ahead. Pet insurance can save you valuable dollars and help you follow your heart when making healthcare decisions. Most animal shelters now scan for microchips. Both should be considered as soon as you bring your new pet home.