December 27, 2018In the News

The veterinarian who sends no bill

Help-A-Pet helps low-income pet owners keep their animals well

Veterinarian George Glanzberg gets a close look at Raja. He found that the puppy had a heart murmur, which might or might not require treatment later in the dog's life.

Veterinarian George Glanzberg gets a close look at Raja. He found that the puppy had a heart murmur, which might or might not require treatment later in the dog’s life.

BENNINGTON — Peanut’s owner was concerned. The Chihuahua wasn’t walking normally, and it appeared that there was something wrong with one of its hind legs.

Veterinarian George Glanzberg examined the leg, his educated fingers gently probing. The little dog had a luxated patella, he announced — a displaced kneecap, or what you might call a trick knee. He showed the owner how to massage Peanut’s leg, to get the kneecap back into its proper place.

“You’re managing him very well,” he said, handing the animal back to its relieved owner. Smiling, she bundled up the dog against the cold and left the clinic. There was no talk of payment. There never is, for the clients of Help-A-Pet.

Since the spring of 2016, Glanzberg and his team have been offering a clinic on the second Sunday of each month in the lobby of the First Baptist Church on Main Street, inviting low-income pet owners to bring their animals in for the treatment of parasites, minor illnesses, wounds, and injuries, as well as basic wellness exams.

The owners, besides loving their animals, have something else in common: They all qualify for assistance. To use Help-A-Pet’s services, pet owners must be homeless, or receiving Medicaid, 3 Squares, fuel assistance, or Meals on Wheels.

Glanzberg’s assistants are his wife, Gail, who checks in the patients and handles paperwork; John Resio, who assists with examinations; and Ernie LaFontaine, who takes care of prescriptions and provides information about low- and no-cost spaying and neutering services.

It’s a team that knows how to work well together — all were connected to the North Bennington veterinary practice Glanzberg ran before his retirement four years ago. Resio has worked with Glanzberg for 30 years, and LaFontaine joined a decade ago. That familiarity is important because, on a typical clinic day, as many as three dozen owners will bring their pets through the church’s doors in search of help.

The Help-A-Pet team is unpaid. The work of the clinic, a 501 (c) (3) charity, is supported by a small grant from the national organization Pets of the Homeless, and donations from people in the community.  (Read Full Article Here)