Annabelle story has happy ending

By Frank Lewis - [email protected]

Reuniting people with loved ones is especially emotional at the holiday season. If you are a pet lover, you know that someone being reunited with their dog is just as important.

Jessica Baldwin contacted the Daily Times about her desire to get her little yorkie, Annabelle, back. Baldwin said the dog was hit by a car. Jessica ran and got Annabelle off of the road, and was pretty sure she was going to die.

“Her left eye was coming out, and her breathing was almost non-existent,” Baldwin said. “Needless to say, we were devastated. This is our little fur baby and we couldn’t possibly just wait and let her die, so we prayed over her, and my husband loaded her up and took her over to Shawnee Animal Clinic to see if they could save her.”

Baldwin said her husband is on disability, so their income is limited to once a month. She said the only money her husband had on him was part of their electric bill money – $113. She said they gladly gave it to them so they would take Annabelle. Baldwin said because her husband didn’t have enough money with him, they offered him a solution, which consisted of the practice’s policy of either paying the bill or forfeiting the dog over to Sierra’s Haven for adoption by someone else.

That being said, everything has come to a good conclusion.

“We received a phone call from a lady who doesn’t want her name out there, called us and asked if it would be okay if she called Shawnee and paid the bill,” Tony Baldwin said. “We weren’t asking for her to do that, but we were very appreciative. She calls over (to Shawnee) and pays the bill, and then Dr. Jennifer or Dr. Angie had called back about 30 minutes after that to let us know the bill had been paid, but Annabelle’s eye had ruptured this morning, so they’re going to have to take her eye out, but because of your (Times) article, other people have called in to donate to finish paying the bill off.”

During the course of the Baldwins conversation with the Times, the subject of the animal clinic’s waiver came up. The waiver states that basically says, if someone can’t pay the medical bills for a dog they have brought in, they forfeit the animal to Sierra’s Haven for adopting out to someone else.

The Times inquired if the Baldwins could appeal to the public for help in paying the veterinarian bill.

“They can if the family instigates it,” Dr. Gail Counts DVM, an owner of Shawnee Animal Clinic and Sierra’s Haven, said. “We don’t have people come in and pay us a little bit at a time to pay someone’s bill. The problem that we have is that this happens almost daily to us. People find a stray on the highway and they don’t want to pay for it, or they bring something in that is really injured and they run up a bill and they don’t have any money, and rather than put it to sleep, which is the only other alternative, we’ve had a policy that they can relinquish it to the (Sierra’s Haven) shelter and the shelter takes care of it and then we adopt it (out).”

Counts said people have circumvented vet bills by allowing their pets to go to the shelter, then, for a $75 adoption fee, adopting their dog back, thus leaving a large bill unpaid. That is why her company has a policy of not allowing the original owners to adopt their pets back.

“If you think about it, everyone in the whole county would do that,” Counts said.

Counts called attention to the fact that Shawnee Animal Clinic and Sierra’s Haven are two different companies and their books are kept separately.

“Sierra’s owes the clinic over $50,000 and that comes out of our budget and if they go back to the shelter and adopt this dog back for $75, we have $1,000 in it,” Counts said.

The Times asked how the public can financially help support the efforts of the shelter and she said donations can always be made to Sierra’s Haven.

By Frank Lewis

[email protected]