Dr. Ai Takeuchi at Eastern Maine Emergency Veterinary Clinic (EMEVC) knows how difficult it can be when families can’t afford urgent care needed for their beloved pets. It’s heartbreaking for the families and emotionally difficult for the healthcare teams who care deeply and want to do whatever possible to save the animal. That’s why, during the last holiday season, Dr. Ai created The Giving Tree.
The Giving Tree held ornaments for purchase and donation cards. Some ornaments were hand made by the team, and others were store bought. Families gave in memory of a pet that passed away or gave to help someone they overheard in the waiting room applying for Care Credit or Scratchpay. People’s generosity was inspiring. The money raised helped the EMEVC team save a 2-year-old cat and a dog with a bite wound. It paid for antibiotics and pain medications for another patient.
When the funds they raised over the holidays began to dwindle they created Christmas in July — an ornament tree with a twist. Dr. Ai is from Japan, where it was believed that if a person folded 1,000 origami cranes, their wish would come true.
The crane is also a symbol of hope and healing during challenging times. Based on this tradition, the July Tree included folded paper cranes to symbolize the teams’ wishes and prayers for their patients to have good health.
To raise even more funds, they also sell original art by staff members, mainly watercolors and watercolor cards. They’ve raised over $900 from art sales and have been able to help even more families and patients. It has been wonderful for the staff’s mental health and morale to know that when all financial options have been exhausted, they can still help.
But it doesn’t stop there. EMEVC will be doing a dog walk this fall to help with more funding. They also hope to split the funds of the dog walk between the Giving Tree and helping to pay for the Humane Society and SPCA bills at the clinic. Dr. Ai said, “It’s been amazing to see the level of human compassion and kindness that is present in the world. We’ve had people pay for other clients’ medical bills or walk into the hospital and say that someone helped them when they were young and that they would like to return the favor by putting down a deposit for services for someone in need.”