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Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

In November of last year I was getting ready for the trip of a lifetime — 10 days in Kenya — when my husband dropped a bomb on me in my kid’s elementary school hallway: a friend of his asked if we could take in a dog. Equipped with a heart that bleeds for animals, I asked only a few pertinent questions and later on that afternoon we met our new family member, Roxy, an eight-year-old Cane Corso. Within 12 hours I was off on an adventure in East Africa only to come home to Roxy and set off on another transformative endeavor. Roxy was “ridden hard” as our beloved vet would later describe her. She’d had quite a few litters, fed a few more and had been used up for her pedigree by her previous owner. We thought we were getting a dog that needed a new home; we didn’t expect an old lady riddled with neglect and late-stage cancer. Despite that, Roxy was a gem. She had the best demeanor, spunky personality and a gap-toothed smile that could turn a cat lady into a dog lover in an instant. She loved marrow bones and snuggles just as much as she relished bossing around the men of the house. I built an instant connection with her that I had not felt since the passing of my beloved Smokey the Lab six years ago. Roxy was my girl. As soon as Roxy joined our family we took her to Dr. Perkins at West Chester Animal Hospital. Dr. Perkins treated Smokey for most of his life, and I knew and trusted her. When we first took Roxy, I knew that Dr. Perkins would care for her as much as I did and treat her humanely. Over the next four months I spoke with and met with Dr. Perkins weekly. We didn’t know Roxy’s history, so a lot of treatment was trial and error. What began as a malnourished, underweight, tumor-ridden, neglected dog with a urinary tract infection turned into a delightful companion who continued to battle something far worse than we could ever treat. After rounds of steroids, antibiotics and pain killers, we finally made the decision to say goodbye to Roxy. That day was one of the hardest days of my life. I wanted so desperately to give her the life she deserved; we did the best we could, but she still deserved more. Travelers are often given opportunities to interact with animals. Whether on tiger safaris in India, seeing a moose or grizzly in Yellowstone or crossing paths with an Ellie in Africa, opportunities to see animals in the wild can be life changing. Unfortunately, there are also opportunities to ride elephants, walk leopards and hold lions. While these activities may seem amazing, the conditions with which these animals are acquired and raised can make Roxy’s treatment seem banal. I stress to every traveler the importance of researching the organizations they patronize, regardless of how unique the experience may be. It is amazing what we will not tolerate in our own backyards but ignore in our travels. One of the many reasons I love West Chester Animal Hospital is their devotion to our animals, and their realistic views and treatments of our pets. We can all learn a lesson from their humanity and caring whether we are dealing with our own pets or encountering wildlife abroad. —jjones@thewcpress.com

APRIL 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Sustainability Issue - April 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Sustainability Issue - April 2019  

Voice of the Borough