Last year the family of a very good dog won the first ever Good Shepherd Honor given by Double Arrow Veterinary Clinic. The Christmas-time award goes to an individual who may be having difficulty paying for veterinary services and food for their pet.
The award winner receives all recommended annual vaccinations, annual wellness exam, choice of a spay, neuter or microchipping, flea and tick preventive, dewormer and a bag of Purina Pro Plan food every month for 12 months.
Award is being offered again this year, and anyone who wants to nominate a pet owner is invited to visit Double Arrow Veterinary Clinic and complete a questionnaire or by emailing a nomination to email@example.com.
Nominations are accepted through Dec. 15, and the honoree will be notified on Christmas Day.
Every submission will be anonymously placed on Double Arrow’s “Tree of Giving” to help the pets and people of Wallowa County. Anyone can make a donation to contribute to the cost of the award.
The idea for the award came about when Brooke Pace of Double Arrow was thinking of a way that the clinic could do something around the holidays when vendors and locals are feeling generous.
“We decided to do something for one person that would have a big impact — to give back to someone in a meaningful way,” she said.
Many companies that work with veterinary clinics are very generous and soon Purina, Zoetis and Elanco were on board and gave so generously that in the end the clinic was able to “spread the love” to everyone who was nominated by sharing a bag of food or an inoculation.
The recipients of the gifts are all anonymous, but last year’s Good Shepherd honoree agreed to tell her story.
Tonya and Craig Starmer in Wallowa received help with the medical and food bills for the family dog, Sage.
Sage is a six-year-old black lab who was given to the Starmer’s daughter, Brandy, by her brother Travis in 2011. At the time, Brandy was going through cancer treatment after the removal of a brain tumor the size of an orange.
Sage was just a puppy, and Travis thought she would be a good companion for Brandy. Travis was right. While just a pup, Sage would curl around Brandy’s bald head and warm it with her tummy.
It all turned out well for Brandy, the cancer is in remission and she graduated from Wallowa High School with her original classmates in 2014.
But the family is still playing financial catch-up on those medical bills. And, Sage turned out to have a rare allergy that requires regular medication and special food. The medication costs $60 per month and the dog food another $50, plus the usual veterinary bills a pet owner accrues.
The Good Shepherd Honor came as a big surprise to the Starmers.
“I didn’t know anything about it until I got a card in the mail,” said Tonya. “I asked, are you sure you want to do this? The county had done so much for us I wanted others to experience that. But they said I was nominated and selected by the judges. It was really heartwarming, because it really helped.”
Last year the clinic received 24 nominations for the honor.
The Wallowa County Humane Society selects the honorees and donates the spay or neuter.
This year, thanks to a suggestion by Denise Clevenger and Carol Vencill of the Humane Society, a reminder of the “tree of giving” will remain up all year so that customers will remember they can donate to the program at any time.
For more information email Brooke Pace at firstname.lastname@example.org