From The Porch
Weekly column appearing in the Fernandina News Leader
Pets Are Precious – A Special Veterinary Foundation Helps Those In Need
Pet therapy programs are special. Dogs and their owners bring comfort and joy to those who need a bit of cheer and furriness. Each Friday volunteers share their dogs at care facilities on the island which include Osprey Village, Quality Health and Council On Aging.
One special volunteer, Carreen Segal brings not only her two golden retrievers Enzo Ferrari and Testa Rossa (both named for favorite cars) to the Council On Aging Adult Care she brings a special level of caring to so many more pet owners.
Completing her education with a specialization in veterinary medicine she moved from New Jersey to California as a Registered Veterinary Oncology Nurse. For more than twenty years she was responsible for administering chemotherapy and radiation therapy to those animals who were being treated for cancer.
In 2005 a veterinarian, she had worked with for many of those years partnered with Carreen to open a new practice called Pawspice. Pets were treated for cancer, advanced-stage disease, and end of life care. As an owner, Carreen became more a manager; performing administrative duties, managing staff, supervising patient care and, importantly, supporting the patient's family members.
Carreen describes the heartbreak of watching families deal with the tragedy of cancer and other diseases. She followed a calling which brought her passion and focus to becoming an advocate for both patients and their grieving families.
Sadly, over her thirty-two years in veterinary medicine, she has witnessed countless families anguish as they did not have the financial resources necessary to help their animal companions faced with cancer. They were left with no other option than early euthanasia for their pet and devastation for their family.
In response to this heartbreaking scenario, in 2013, Carreen and her husband, Howard, established a non-profit 501c (3), the Veterinary Cancer Foundation. The Veterinary Cancer Foundation is committed to offering financial assistance to families of veterinary cancer patients, eliminating the financial hardship and providing the opportunity to challenges their pet's cancer with the highest standard of compassionate care.
In 2017 Carreen decided it was time to retire from veterinary medicine and she and her husband found Amelia Island. She now devotes her time to working with the Veterinary Cancer Foundation. They moved east to be closer to their families. As, car lovers they attended the Concours d'Elegance and found their perfect retirement home. Especially appealing to them is how dog-friendly the island is. Water dishes in front of Centre Street shops, beach time, eating on the patios of island restaurants – all good for dogs.
The couples love of both dogs and cars is obvious. Their two golden retrievers, Enzo Ferrari, and Testa Rossa both named after Ferrari cars. Carreen can be found Friday afternoons at the Council On Aging with one of her two goldens bringing smiles to members of "the club", Council On Aging's Adult Daycare program.
Recognizing the high incidence of cancer in golden retrievers, their older golden, Testa Rossa, is also part of a study that is following a study group of 3000 golden retrievers in hopes to find out more about the disease that has taken so many lives.
For more information on the Veterinary Cancer Foundation or to get involved contact:
Carreen Segal, RVT
NOTE FROM DICKIE
In coordinating Soft Touch Pet Therapy program over the last ten years I have grown to know and love many wonderful dogs many no longer with us. I was especially touched when Carreen Segal shared her own experiences with people who were dealing with their pet's serious illnesses. She and her husband created a foundation to help with the costs. There currently is a waiting list for financial help for some of the families needing help. Check out the website www.vetcancerfoundation.comand consider a contribution
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