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Local veterinarians host compassion clinic

All pet owners know the value a furry companion can bring to one’s life – but sometimes, the expense involved in keeping that pet healthy can be too much to handle.
Cute pet
The Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic is currently accepting applications for its upcoming Compassion Clinic June 24. The annual event is hosted by the clinic to help provide veterinary care for pets and families who are unable to afford regular visits.

All pet owners know the value a furry companion can bring to one’s life – but sometimes, the expense involved in keeping that pet healthy can be too much to handle. To help out pet families who might be facing financial challenges, Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic will be hosting its second annual Compassion Clinic June 24 in Airdrie. “This is essentially a day for us to give back to the community – basically, families who are in need of pet care,” said Dr. Erin Heck, veterinarian and co-owner of the Happy Paws clinic. “Our staff are all volunteering their time, and we’re giving away our services, our space, our medication – whatever the pet needs that day, we will provide for them, for free.” According to Heck, the clinic opened less than three years ago and hosted its first Compassion Clinic last year. The event drew approximately 30 applicants, she said, and Happy Paws donated more than $5,000 worth of services throughout the day. “We really believe our clients are family, and we see – every day – people who are in financial need,” Heck said. “It’s tough for us, as a team and as staff, to see that. We all joke about how much we’d like to be able to give this away for free, so we decided as owners, why not? Maybe we can’t do it for everybody, but we can select some families and make a difference for them.” The clinic offers a nomination form where Heck said people can either self-nominate or be nominated by someone else. Primarily, she said, the clinic is looking to help in situations where general practice could be helpful for a family and their pet – if a circumstance has put them in a place where they are unable to access vet care on their own. “I really think our pets are becoming more and more like our kids, these days,” she said. “That human-animal bond is such a huge, important thing, and financial restriction shouldn’t really limit someone from having a pet – that’s what we believe.” However, Heck said, health and well-being is just as important for animals as it is for their owners – they will go through things like pain and discomfort and deal with aging and arthritis, just like people do. “It’s distressing for owners to go through that, and it’s obviously hard on the pets, as well. This is a chance for us to give back to them,” Heck said. “Our participants last year were so full of gratitude, since we could deal with simple things they’d been worried about for a while – like, say, a lump that they felt might be cancerous. This was a chance for them to find out that, you know, it’s not a big deal, and bring them that sense of relief.” Applications have been open since May 24, Heck said, and all submissions will be reviewed the day before the clinic to allow the veterinarians to help as many animals as they can during the day of the Compassion Clinic, June 24. For more information, visit

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