From his small animal practice in Cranston, R.I., AVMA Executive Board member, Dr. Henry E. Childers has maintained close contact with the veterinary community in New York City, inquiring after their well-being and needs in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
His District 1 encompasses New York, so Dr. Childers has extended offers of help and, in some cases, just been there to listen to veterinarians living through the ordeal.
"My constituents are saddened by the tragedy and want to help, but they realize there is only so much space to work in, and there are already enough veterinarians to treat the animals."
On Sept. 11, Dr. Childers was attending the last day of the New England VMA meeting in Providence with other veterinarians when their spouses interrupted the meeting to alert them to the terrorist attacks.
"At the meeting, people were asking me what they can do. We're all wrestling with that. Since then I've received a lot of calls from my constituents in District 1, in areas surrounding New York City, such as Westchester County."
When they ask, Dr. Childers suggests they keep informed by following the work of the VMATs and reading AVMA and public news reports, and add their names to lists of volunteers, such as those compiled by Dr. Barbara Kalvig of the New York Animal Hospital in Manhattan and Dr. Mitchell Kornet of the Long Island VMA, whose disaster-preparedness plan proved invaluable.
Dr. Frederick Tierney, New York delegate to the AVMA, has a practice at 65th Street in the city. He indicated to Dr. Childers that members of the Long Island VMA—comprising the Suffolk County and Nassau County VMAs—and the VMA of New York City coordinated their efforts to supplement those of the Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams. They have also been working with the New York State VMS, New York Center for Animal Care and Control, AVMA, various humane groups, and private hospitals such as the Animal Medical Center.
Dr. Tierney said the New York State VMS has committed to donating $1,000 to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation to help fund VMAT work.
Dr. Childers has also been in touch with his friend, Dr. Barry Kellogg, leader of VMAT-1, as well as staff at the Animal Medical Center, among them, Dr. Ann Hohenhaus, head of medicine. Her husband, Dr. Philip Fox, a cardiologist at AMC and member of the AVMA Council on Research, had received a call from a police officer asking the AMC to help a search-and-rescue dog. Every day since then, the AMC has been sending veterinary personnel to help, including Dr. Michael Garvey, director of the Bobst Hospital at AMC. Dogs with serious problems are transported to the AMC.
New York State VMS Executive Director Julie Lawton is aware of only one veterinary meeting in New York that was canceled: a Sept. 11 CE session. The NYSVMS annual meeting will be held as scheduled, Nov. 1–4 at Kerhonkson, in the Catskills. AVMA president, Dr. James Brandt, and Dr. Childers will be there. As Dr. Childers noted, "President Bush and our other leaders want us to proceed and lead normal lives."