Posted Oct. 15, 2005
The AVMA and American Veterinary Medical Foundation appeared on national television Sept. 28 helping pet owners rebuild their lives after Hurricane Katrina. NBC News' "Today Show" and MSNBC showed the two groups during a weeklong feature on Habitat for Humanity International.
The charity was using Rockefeller Plaza, just outside "Today Show" studios in New York City, for volunteers to build houses donated and later shipped to displaced families along the Gulf Coast.
Throughout the week, AVMA and AVMF representatives operated a booth on the plaza where they collected donations for the AVMF Animal Disaster Relief and Response Fund. Dr. Lisa Murphy, a member of AVMA Veterinary Medical Assistance Team-2, was spokesperson for the groups. Ann Curry interviewed Dr. Murphy for the "Today Show" segment, whereas Chris Jansing spoke to her for MSNBC.
In addition, the AVMA will be coordinating with NBC and state VMAs in affected areas to identify families to receive "Welcome Home" packages.
The packages contain certificates for twice-a-year veterinary wellness examinations for the life of the pets, including basic vaccinations, provided by Fort Dodge Animal Health; a two-year supply of dog and/or cat food, provided by Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc.; a lifetime supply of medication to prevent heartworms, fleas, and ticks, provided by Merial; two years of medical coverage for accidents and illness, provided by Veterinary Pet Insurance Co.; and toys, bowls, collars, and other accessories and supplies, provided by Hartz Mountain Corp.
While the health benefits of these packages to pets is obvious, they also address the fact that the bond between humans and their animals is a powerful element in improving the health of people recovering from traumatic events.
"The bond between a family and its pets is powerful enough to help heal the wounds of a natural disaster," AVMA President Henry Childers said. "Along with our partners in the animal health industry, who have generously and enthusiastically supported our call to action, we are ensuring that these families are able to experience the human-animal bond, whether they are reuniting with pets or adding a new pet to their home."