Three weeks ago, the Jack Russel I had been fostering for three days challenged the pitbull next door. It was an empty threat since there was a fence between them--until the gate suddenly gave way. The pitbull simply scooped the JR up in her mouth and started shaking her. Only one bite, and only on the back leg, but every tooth left a puncture with most of them running completely through the leg. As well, the damage went beyond simple punctures due to the violent shaking. I immediately started calling vets in Dartmouth to find one that would provide the dog with medical attention. With the dog in the background crying out in pain, I explained what happened to each vet. They told me the it would cost more than the $60 in cash that I had just to walk in the door. I asked them if I could be billed for the following week. Every vet in the phonebook for Dartmouth, outside of the few numbers that went to a message service, told me no--if I didn't have the money up front, I could not get service. Bitterly, I said to one that I guess I would have to stitch her up myself. The reply was that I would be charged with animal cruelty if I did. I think I just sputtered as my brain jammed with outrage at the hypocrisy of that statement. Anyway, by the time a Halifax vet agreed to see the dog (I had managed to borrow another $200 by this time), I had called about 12 vets and I could barely make myself understood as I had been reduced to tears. In the end, since hours had passed and it was too late at night, the Halifax vet couldn't do anything, but they paved the way for me to get help at the Dartmouth Emergency Hospital for Animals which opened at 8:00 p.m.. I was permitted to pay what I had and I was billed for the remainder. The end result is that I will never foster another animal again. Dartmouth's vets have made it perfectly clear to me that acts of kindness are reserved for those who have a heart and money. They (money, but not much heart) and me (heart but not much money) will have to leave it to the too few who have both.
---Disillusioned in Dartmouth