Guest Blogger: Dr. Jessica Vogelsang
One of the great things about BlogPaws is getting to make connections with some of the most amazing people you’ll ever meet. At my second BlogPaws event in Denver, my friend Dr. Janet Crosby invited me to dinner with a group of veterinary professionals, and it was there that I got to meet Dr. Cathy King of World Vets for the first time.
Now you might think that someone who has a DVM as well as a PhD and built an international veterinary volunteer organization from nothing would be a little intimidating, and I would in theory agree with you, but nothing could be further from the truth. Dr. King came to BlogPaws to check it out, just like we all do, and we sat around for hours talking about our work, our passion for animals, and the relative merits of living in San Diego versus Fargo.
I was inspired by Dr. King’s passion to create a volunteer based organization that would provide spay/neuter, medical care, and education services to underserved international communities. I left BlogPaws with a clear goal: one day, I would go on a World Vets trip.
In the meantime, March 11, 2011 happened. That day, Japan was forever changed. As I sat in horror, Dr. King was putting together a team to send to Japan. “I didn’t know World Vets was doing disaster relief too,” I said to her.
“Oh, we just started,” Dr. King replied. And how: World Vets was the first animal relief organization on the ground in Japan - within 72 hours if you can believe it - and immediately put together multiple pallets of supplies for local rescue organizations, helped set up emergency shelter and decontamination stations, and assisted with the evacuation of the pets of military personnel who were not allowed to bring their beloved pets along during mandatory evacuations and were forced to leave them behind.
That day, I contacted Dorian Wagner and Jane Harrell, my Be the Change partners in crime, and asked for their help in organizing a project to help the World Vets efforts in Japan. Paws for Japan took place on March 17th, with hundreds of bloggers spreading the word about World Vets and the need for animal relief in the disaster zone. That event, made possible by you, the bloggers, was the biggest donation day World Vets has ever seen and made such a difference in what relief they were able to offer. Never think that you don’t matter.
Since that time, World Vets has sent disaster response teams to Haiti and Thailand, and continues to send teams all over the world to perform much needed spay/neuters, preventive care, and education to locations as far flung as Mongolia, Tanzania, and Peru.
I have been fortunate enough to see World Vets in action in two places this past year: Arusha, Tanzania and Granada, Nicaragua. We treated donkeys’ backs while Maasai peered over our shoulders in the baking sun and gave dewormer to litters of puppies under the shadow of a still smoking volcano. As you read this, a team has just returned from a 5 month mission aboard a Navy ship. Thousands of animals whose lives were made better because Dr. King decided to Be the Change, starting with a change jar on her clinic counter.
Donations such as the generous gift from BlogPaws make possible their work in 36 countries and counting. Volunteers pay their own way to go on these trips, so donations go directly to the organization’s work. World Vets is so very grateful for everyone’s continuing support.
I’ve been working on an idea to create a Blogger Action Network to keep everyone informed if another disaster like the tsunami hits, and I’ll keep you all posted. After all, every day has the potential for us to Be the Change. I hope you will stand with me once again if the need arises.
I’m so grateful that my involvement in BlogPaws has allowed
me to make such meaningful connections in the community. For more information
about World Vets, please visit www.worldvets.org.
[BlogPaws donated $2000 to World Vets at the 2012 Salt Lake City Conference. The 12 BlogPaws Nose-To-Nose award winners at the 2012 conference in Salt Lake City were asked to vote for one group they wanted to receive $100 in their name. They chose World Vets, and to honor our wonderful #BlogPawty staff we "rounded up" the donation to $2,000. - BlogPaws Team.]