Thursday, November 26, 2009

SPCA Helps Downtown Eastside Kitty with Cancer

The reputation of the SPCA has improved in my eyes because of what people have told me about their free veterinary clinic on the Downtown Eastside. It's held at the Mission Possible drop-in center on Powell St. near Oppenheimer Park about once a month. Some of the workers are volunteers.

They have a pet food bank there too, although that's more regular than the vet clinic.

I remember years ago, reading a scandal in the newspaper about an SPCA executive who had a six figure salary and a huge expense account and had squandered donations. I never forgot that. But like I said, the reputation of the SPCA has sprung back now, especially since hearing about what they did today in the "prevention of cruelty" to a kitty.

A Downtown Eastsider, who asked not to be identified in the media, took a sick kitty to the clinic this morning. There were two young women veterinarians there. What amazed the Downtown Eastsider about the skill set of the vet who handled the kitty was, "She could do anything without getting scratched."

One of the vets said that this kitty either had cancer on her face or had been hit by a car and broken her jaw. "This is serious", she told the owner. She said that if extensive treatment was unaffordable, it was time to start thinking about euthanizing this kitty. "Tears welled up in my eyes; I was trying to hold them back," says the owner. A woman from the SPCA who runs the clinic immediately got on the phone and referred the kitty to their animal hospital on East 7th to have her jaw x-rayed. "She patted me on the arm", the owner recalls. Then the kitty was whisked over to the hospital on the bus.

The vet at the hospital, a young guy, didn't do an x-ray because he didn't think the kitty's jaw was broken. He diagnosed her with a cancer on her face, a type of cancer in the bones that is common in cats. "They don't do tests like they do with human beings; the vet examines the cat and he says, 'Looks like cancer to me' ", the Downtown Eastsider explained. And then he talks about the options.

The SPCA gave the kitty antibiotics to fend off an infection that had pus coming out of the side of her face and was making her blind in one eye. And they gave her an injection of water because she was dehydrated -- all to make her final days more comfortable. She was even given a lampshade collar for her neck so that she didn't claw at the red spots on her mouth. And they made another appointment for her next week. All this, even though the Downtown Eastsider taking care of her had no money.

The SPCA will euthanize the kitty when it's time, which will probably be soon as apparently cancer can spread aggressively in cats. The SPCA runs the Animal Hospital entirely on donations, according to a sign the Downtown Eastsider saw in the waiting room.

You have to be poor as a church mouse to take your cat or dog -- one guy took his ferret -- to the free SPCA clinic at Mission Possible. They're strict. They make you show photo I.D. and proof of income, like a tax return or welfare stub.

Mission Possible which is a Christian place, has a slogan and I don't remember what it is, just that the word "compassionate" is in it. The vet clinic they host does sound compassionate.