We asked our friend Kel Hatt to share his story about some of the amazing things that he does in our community. We are continuously moved by his experiences and efforts :
- Where are you originally from? Gouglersville, PA…I’ve lived in Berks County all my life.
- Where did you go to school? Governor Mifflin and then West Chester University/Alvernia College
- What pet related organizations do you support in the area? Locally I support the Berks County Humane Society whenever possible and also No Nonsense Neutering. I’ve been a proud Vanguard Society member of PETA for many years and just became an ARC Angel for the Animal Rescue Corps in Washington DC.
- Was would you say was the one greatest pet related, community accomplishment that you have had? Six and a half years ago I decided to become a vegan (vegans do not consume or use ANY animal products of any kind). By doing this I spare at least 100 animals a year from needless pain and suffering.
- At what point in your life did you realize that you had such a deep connection with pets? Probably at a very early age since my family always had a dog and we would take in any young or injured wild animal and care for them until they were ready to be released back into the wild. However, my animal rights activism has really blossomed since going vegan.
- List your pets and names throughout the years (including childhood ones): Very early childhood – Garm (dog) childhood – two different Penny’s at different times (dogs) Lucky – my beloved main guy who was the family dog for years and then just him and I for years after our parent’s passed away, Lucky joined our parents this past May 17 currently – Lady and Chance (dogs), Stinker, Abby, and Minnie (cats), and Issac (bird)
- What kind of food do you feed your pets? Science Diet, which I highly recommend.
- What kind of music do you like? Classic R&R and New Age
- What is your favorite restaurant? Dosie Dough, a little bakery/eatery type place in Wyomissing that makes me a special vegan wrap that is fantastic.
- If you could meet with anyone in the world, who would it be? My beautiful and loving posthumous wife Lori. We were engaged to be married, but three months before our traditional wedding day she was killed back in March 2011 while we were walking Chance. We had a posthumous wedding on what would have been our traditional wedding day in June 2011. Posthumous weddings are legally recognized in about three countries but unfortunately not in the U.S.
- Other personal facts or hobbies that you think might be interesting: I’m a certified dog trainer through the Animal Behavior College in CA. I enjoy helping dogs and their human companions to treat behavioral problems rather than teaching basic obedience cues. I go to the gym a few days a week and take Lady and Chance for daily walks. Also, even though I’m allergic to cats, I spend time each day with Stinker, Abby, and Minnie who were Lori’s children when we met.
Just 1 month away! Bring your family and friends to the annual Open House at Canine Partners for Life.
Visitors will have the opportunity to meet some of the fantastic service dog recipients, puppies in training, and ask questions, all while learning about CPL and the special care these special dogs bring to a person’s life.
As the afternoon starts to wind down you will begin to smell a special something in the air. That special something will be the day’s main attraction – Cow Bingo! What exactly is Cow Bingo? Simply put, the playing field is marked with randomly assigned squares and, at approximately 3:15 p.m., the cow is turned loose to do its thing. The first square fertilized with a “cow pie” will be the lucky winner of $5,000!
The cost of a ticket is $10 each and there is no limit on the number you can purchase, but there are only 4,000 squares available. To learn how to buy tickets, go to http://k94life.org/cowbingo
Next week we’ll be running a multitude of stories about International Assistance Dog Week and assistance dog organizations in our area. In the spirit of the Olympics, we just saw this video and we decided to share it with you. www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-dorset-18832930
Friends Wendy Morrell and Karen Ruddlesden, from Dorset, nominated each other as torchbearers and they were both accepted.
Wendy sustained a head injury in a sporting accident and uses a wheelchair, while Karen has Addison’s disease, sometimes referred to as a hidden disability.
Both are strong advocates for assistance dogs, saying their dogs Udo and Coco have changed their lives.
They carried the flame on Friday afternoon before the opening ceremony: Wendy in Upton and Karen in Poole.
I would like to introduce myself. I am a distinguished older gentleman who is at least 10 years old. My name is Stevie Wonder. I am neutered and I have clean teeth. Well, the few I have left are clean! I am sight impaired, but that doesn’t stop me. I like to be petted and sleep in my little bed. My favorite activity is relaxing. I would be a good companion for an older person or someone with a quiet home. I know I can’t see, but I deserve a home just as much as everyone else! No small kids for me!
For more information about Stevie and to learn about other amazing things that Grey Muzzle is doing in our community, go to: http://www.berksarl.org/howtohelp.htm
Between July 1st & August 1st, 2012, every time a new Facebook post gets “LIKED” at www.Facebook.com/BernvilleVet
, Bernville Veterinary Clinic, Spa & Resort will donate 1/6th of a bowl of pet food to the Animal Rescue League of Berks County. By “LIKING” these stories every day and encouraging your friends to do the same, Bernville Vet can donate an enormous amount of food to pets in need!
The more virtual “LIKES”…the more REAL food!
There’d no cost involved, just 15 seconds of your time per day.
Bernville Vet will pay for up to 1000 1/6 bowls of food in the month of July!
Simply go to www.Facebook.com/BernvilleVet
To learn more about the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, go to www.berksarl.org
We asked our Medical Director, Dr. Lee Pickett, a few questions so that we could all get a better idea about the amazing things that she does in our coummunity!
Where are you originally from?
I was born in Ohio, but when I was in second grade, my family moved to Chester County, PA.
How long have you been in the area?
I started working in Berks County in 1995, and I moved to Bernville in 1997.
How long have you been at Bernville Vet?
I worked here as a part-time relief veterinarian for a number of years and then joined the staff full-time in January 2012.
Where did you go to school?
I graduated from Hartwick College (www.hartwick.edu) as a biology major and then worked in the pharmaceutical industry and with my own medical-legal consulting firm. In my 30’s, I went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine (www.vet.upenn.edu) where I focused on companion animal medicine. At graduation, I was honored to receive the Mikus Prize for proficiency in veterinary medicine and for upholding veterinary medical ethics.
Describe your role in the area’s pet community.
I play three roles, which suits me just fine because I like variety.
First, I am the medical director at Bernville Vet, which is meaningful to me because animals are my passion and I am fascinated by how the body works, its ability to heal itself and how I can “tweak” things to improve the healing process.
Also, for the past ten years I have been writing a weekly newspaper column called “Ask the Vet’s Pets” (www.askthevetspets.com) that appears Fridays in the Reading Eagle (www.readingeagle.com). Well, to be honest, I don’t write it — my pets, Daisy Dog and Christopher Cat, do. I enjoy my part in producing the column because client education is very important to me.
Finally, I have always volunteered for local animal shelters and rescue organizations, having done everything from feral cat spay-neuter surgery to serving as president of the Humane Society of Berks County (www.berkshumane.org) and board member of Delaware Valley Golden Retriever Rescue (www.dvgrr.org).
What would you say is the most important impact your organization has?
I am proud that Bernville Veterinary Clinic is improving the health of companion animals in our area. We serve clients in Berks, Schuylkill and Lebanon Counties, providing compassionate care, friendly client education and convenient service. Our goal is to help our patients live long, healthy lives in the homes of the people who love them.
What would you say was the one greatest pet-related community accomplishment you have had?
About 12 years ago, I read in my veterinary journals that domestic violence affects not only humans but also family pets. I hadn’t realized that pets are abused too, and that abused women often won’t leave the home because they know their pets will be tortured or killed if they do. Domestic violence shelters accept the women and their children, but usually not the family pets.
So I approached Berks Women in Crisis and the Humane Society of Berks County, and together we established PetNet to care for these pets until they could be reunited with their people in a safe environment. The program (http://www.berkshumane.net/cms/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=67&Itemid=107) has been recognized by Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government for its innovation. Since then, PetNet has expanded to provide temporary foster care for pets impacted by other personal catastrophes, including house fire, flooding and human medical problems.
At what point in your life did you realize that you had such a deep connection with pets?
My connection to animals has been a part of my being since I was born. I’ve wanted to be a veterinarian for almost that long.
In late elementary school, I announced to my parents that I loved my friend Pam’s pony, and I wanted one too. They responded, “If you want a pony, go figure out how to get one.” So every day after school, I rode my bike to the farms near my rural home, asking if the staff would let me clean stalls in exchange for riding lessons. Finally I found someone, Sally Graburn, who agreed to take me on as a working student. Only later did I learn that she was one of the nation’s top dressage and eventing trainers.
An extraordinary horsewoman and role model for any girl lucky enough to know her, Sally taught me about horses and life. I worked for her every day of every week, for years. One of my jobs was to assist the veterinarian and to carry out the medical recommendations he made — and it was always a “he” in those days. Despite the gender problem, I’d insist to my mom when she picked me up after I’d cleaned horse stalls all afternoon that I wanted to be a veterinarian when I grew up. She’d scoff, knowing it was man’s work, and tell me, “You can’t do that, or you’ll always smell as bad as you do now.”
List your pets and their names throughout the years (including childhood ones).
As a toddler, my first “pet” was Orangy-Reddy, an orange-red caterpillar. Each day, I’d take him outside in the grass for an “airing,” until one day I was crestfallen to discover he was missing and a cocoon took his place. That was my first lesson in the phases of life.
From there, my family pets became more typical: hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, budgies — and a dog and a cat. In sixth grade, I adopted two of our classroom mice, Missy, a white female, and Ringo Starr, a sable male with a white star on his forehead. I started breeding experiments, carefully recording the coat colors that resulted from various breeding combinations. Finally, when Missy grew very old, she developed cancer.
Our collie, Lad, died of cancer, too — and I learned about grieving the loss of loved ones. Our pets do teach us life’s most important lessons, don’t they?
Through the years, I’ve had too many pets to tell you about, most of them dogs and cats. Almost all were adopted from shelters or rescue organizations. At present, I live with two dogs, two cats and one husband. The cats, Carlie and Claire, maintain control over the dogs, an Irish wolfhound named Ollie and a black standard poodle called Lincoln.
Please share one other personal fact.
My favorite color is blue.