Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet Regional Contest Winners

CAT FANCY and DOG FANCY announce the four reader-nominated, regional finalists in the Thank Your Vet for a Healthy Pet contest.

Dr. Bob Encinosa and his cat, JasmineBob Encinosa, DVM
Boyette Animal Hospital
Riverview, Fla.
Nominator: Mary Beth Cammilleri

Our veterinarian, Dr. Bob Encinosa, is a truly exceptional individual whose compassion and medical expertise amaze us. Although we have many stories that illustrate this, one in particular comes to mind. When one of our dogs, Max, who was diagnosed with cancer had a particularly bad Saturday, Dr. Bob volunteered to meet us at his clinic that night to administer medications to give Max some relief. When Max’s condition worsened on Sunday, Dr. Bob once again met us to help Max. His level of dedication enabled Max to enjoy a relatively pain-free weekend instead of one of suffering.

When Max’s disease progressed to the point where we knew it was time to put him to sleep, Dr. Bob ensured us that he was available any time when needed. Many tears were shed that morning, including those of Dr. Bob. The following weeks were very sad for us, but one bright spot came in the form of a sympathy card from Dr. Bob with an enclosed acknowledgement indicating that he made a donation in memory of Max to a local nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of homeless animals. That one simple act really touched our hearts.

Dr. Bob’s compassion also extends beyond his practice. When one of his clients wanted to make a substantial donation to Dr. Bob, he instead referred him to a local no-kill animal shelter in need of financial support. He also currently is spearheading an effort to establish a facility to care for pets upon their owner’s death.

My own experiences are just a few examples of Dr. Bob’s never-ending kindness. He is truly an outstanding veterinarian who provides extraordinary care. Although he certainly does not seek notoriety, Dr. Bob deserves recognition for his compassion, a trait that cannot be learned in medical school. It comes from the heart.

Thomas R. Nickerson, DVM
Trinity Animal Hospital
Weaverville, Calif.
Nominator: Cherie Bradley

Dr. Nickerson daily shows compassion and caring for the animals and clients he works with. He drives long distances at least once a week to serve those unable to travel to his office. As the only full-time veterinarian in a large county, he treats all animals from lizards to livestock and wildlife. Willing to give not only his time, but also his heart to the community he serves.

He is active in the Rotary Club and community theater. He participates in school assemblies, talks to local organizations and works with the animal shelter to provide care when needed. As a proponent of continuing education, he attends many seminars and provides opportunities for his staff to pursue additional training as well.

Dr. Nickerson has been known to provide discounted services to those he knows are financially unable to treat an ill or injured pet. During local forest fires, he opens his office to all that need care or boarding without charge. He cried when he had to tell a client her dog was dying of cancer on the day she lost her house in one of the fires. His tears have been witnessed many times over the years; we think of our pets as family and so does he.

Without Dr. Nickerson, Cricket, a small, orange and white cat, would not have lived to the age of 12. He first met her when she was only 3 years old and saw her through liver infections, kidney biopsies and an E. coli infection. He left guests at dinner to be with her when she had fevers. He cried as he helped her leave this world in December 2005. Before meeting him, my pets never saw the same veterinarian more than twice, until I met one who treated them like family.

James Thomas, VMD
Eagle Veterinary Clinic
Havertown, Pa.

Nominator: Doris B. Woodside

I have adopted eight cats from the Morris Animal Refuge in Philadelphia since 1974. My veterinarian has been Dr. James Thomas of Havertown. He has altered them and treated them for many ailments, including diabetes, cancer of the mouth and hyperthyroidism. Nothing is too much for him to handle.

My beautiful marmalade tabby, Sunny, had diabetes. He went into shock. Dr. Thomas told me to bring him over right away. He gave him some intravenous fluids, because he was dehydrated. As I left his office, another person came in with a cat. This was Christmas Eve. When I thanked him, he said it didn’t matter what day it was, as long as he was there. After two more episodes, I finally had to put Sunny to sleep.

Dr. Thomas is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School. He goes back to Penn when they have classes on new procedures for animals.

He has been associated with Pet Adoption and Lifecare Society (P.A.L.S.), a no-kill group on the outskirts of Philadelphia, for many years. He provides veterinary care for so many of their cats and kittens. His wife, Kay, helps him and is right beside him in all he does. They have many animals of their own. They took in a cat that was deemed un-adoptable because of an illness. The cat was very happy with them until she died. P.A.L.S. put out a bulletin about how wonderful Jim and Kay are.

The following is a quotation: “We have been very fortunate to have Jim and Kay available to provide veterinary care for our cats and kittens. Their compassion and generosity are second to none. All of us at P.A.L.S. thank both of them so much from the bottom of our hearts for their unselfish dedication not only to our kitties, but also to all animals in need.”

I can’t agree more. To me, Jim and Kay are not only great caretakers, but also true friends in need. I hope they can continue as caretakers to P.A.L.S. and all other animals in need.

Tim R. Stone, DVM
Rittiman Road Animal Hospital
San Antonio, Texas
Nominator: Kathleen Hoffman

Dr. Tim R. Stone has been seeing my Pugs ever since I can remember. He always has taken wonderful care of them. About two years ago, I started San Antonio Pug Rescue. I asked him if he would be interested in treating rescued Pugs that required medical attention. He said he would be happy to, even at a discount. He has treated some of the worst case scenarios, with the most wonderful outcomes. Some Pugs were so ill that he would raise an eyebrow in disbelief that these little dogs managed to grow and thrive. He has treated Pugs that weren’t supposed to live, yet they flourished and were adopted by families who adored them.

Dr. Stone taught me the difference between sarcoptic and demodex mange. He taught me about elongated palates, dehydration and kennel cough with my little pancake-faced Pugs. I have learned about vaccinations, cataracts and a dozen other diseases that plague my adorable little Pugs. I have learned that some Pugs require anesthesia to clip their nails. I have learned that some Pugs are more stubborn than others and that all Pugs are stubborn. I have learned how to quarter a baby aspirin and give a Pug a pill with my eyes shut. I have learned a lot from Dr. Stone.

He cured my Pugs, and while I was wiping away my tears from fear of losing one, he comforted me as well. Dr. Stone is a busy man with a wonderful staff and a very large practice that always manages to fit me in when I have a Pug that needs care. One of the most important things I learned from Dr. Stone is that, along with good veterinary care, love surely goes a long way.

To read about the national winner, pick up the December 2007 issue of CAT FANCY.

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