Creature Comforts

Pet owners recognize five veterinarians in the 2009 Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet Contest.

In “The Moral Basis of Vegetarianism,” Mahatma Gandhi writes, “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” It’s a credo that some veterinarians don’t just practice in their work: They live it.

In the third annual Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet contest, enthusiastic pet owners from around the country nominated vets who truly epitomize wisdom, thoughtfulness, and self-sacrifice. Whether it’s making a house call, donating time to animal charities, or examining a pet on a holiday, the winner and four regional finalists demonstrate that going above the norm is all in a day’s work.

DOG FANCY, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and the Morris Animal Foundation would like to introduce you to these fine men and women who give our furry family members a heartfelt level of care.

National Winner
Kirk Weicht, D.V.M.
Like many of us, Kirk Weicht’s passion for animals began at an early age. When he was a kid, his German Shepherd Dog had a congenital birth defect and was euthanized shortly after he got her. Weicht felt compelled to understand and possibly prevent conditions like this in the future, inspiring him to pursue animal medicine. 

He rode his bike to a local veterinary clinic and asked if he could work there doing whatever they wanted. The staff agreed, and since those days observing surgeries and cleaning kennels, Weicht has never looked back.

Today he is the owner of Brown Trail Animal Hospital in Bedford, Texas. There he met Gina DeGennaro, whose nomination of Weicht for this award speaks volumes about his extraordinary work. “We knew from the beginning that he was not only a world-class diagnostician and educator, but a humanitarian,” she writes. “His ability to explain procedures in layman’s terms put us at ease immediately. We are convinced that without his medical intervention and quality care our cat would not have lived to 21 years of age or our Weimaraner to age 15.”

Through her own involvement in Weimaraner Rescue of North Texas, DeGennaro has also seen Weicht’s generosity make a positive difference for abused dogs. “In 2001 the humane society turned over 20 severely emaciated and neglected dogs to us from a kennel seizure,” she says. “Dr. Weicht donated vaccines, food, and heartworm treatments to help us.”

Weicht’s charitable efforts don’t stop there. After hearing about underprivileged people sharing their Meals on Wheels food with their pets, he teamed up with the organization as well as Hill’s Pet Nutrition to donate pet food to these needy families so their pets would receive proper nutrition. “We’ve had some nice responses from Meals on Wheels and their clients,” Weicht says. “We’re just out there trying to help in some small way.”

Whether it’s as a veterinarian or humanitarian, it’s clear Weicht is a humble individual. “I’m blessed to be part of a profession I love,” he says. “I think there are a ton of people more deserving than me. I’m glad I’m able to make a difference in animals’ and people’s lives where they feel compelled to take the time to send in a nomination like that. It’s very much an honor.”

– Read about the 2008 winner, Rachel S. Boltz, D.V.M.

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Dogs · Lifestyle