Ark Animal Sanctuary – Week of May 25, 2020

HOULTON, Maine — A few years back the Ark was gifted with something that we never dreamed possible. It is a gift that left us speechless and opened a whole new door for us.

The woman who was so generous was Dr. Laurel Pinales or as many of us called her “Dr. P.”  She was always there for us in a pinch. She worked tirelessly to make sure that animals, no matter what their families income was, were able to see a vet when needed.

It wasn’t until after she passed away that I learned that she really didn’t make much money at her clinic. She did what she did for the animals that so desperately needed care. Once she retired from her practice and moved away there was a big void in Houlton. Her presence was greatly missed.

As many of you know she donated all of her medical equipment to The Ark. And when I say everything, I mean everything, to operate a vet clinic. There were no words to describe our gratitude, so we put a plan in place to carry on her work and to make her proud.

The plan was still going to be a monumental task, but we were up for it. We set up a surgery suite at The Ark and the summer before she passed she came home and saw it. The look on her face said it all. She was so honored and so proud. Shortly after Dr. P passed away, her family planted a tree in her and her husband’s honor last year at The Ark. I am happy to say the tree is starting to bud.

We decided to expand the surgery suite and through some very generous donations we were able to pay off the mortgage on the land. The ladies that helped us believe in what we are trying to do and they wanted to help us reach the next Phase of The Ark. 

The land and the building are now completely paid off and we did so in less than 10 years. We decided to put a 3 bedroom trailer on the slab where the old sanctuary used to set before the terrible fire. The mortgage payment on the trailer is comparable to the mortgage payment we had on the land.

 The decision to do this did not come easy, but we are not ones to sit around and over analyze things. Instead we put the wheels in motion as we had a dream and we jumped in confidently feet first. This project was started last summer and with a lot of blood sweat and tears we now have a full-fledged vet clinic. The layout is a little strange, but it works. It is has everything we believe to run a vet clinic. It is not the most up to date equipment or state of the art, but it works. We finished this project around December and were ready to have an open house in February and then the pandemic hit , so everything has been on hold.

 Why announce this now? With the pandemic we have learned how important having a vet to see our animals is. While we fully understand that protocol must be followed and we are not living in a perfect world, we also know that we need to have a plan in place so that animals can be seen when they are sick.

 Our goal now is to get the clinic up and running.  Please understand as of yet we do not have a veterinarian, so the clinic is not opened yet. We know that finding a vet is going to be difficult, but we are up for the challenge. It may take time, but we will get there.

 We know that you are our biggest audience, so we are asking for your help to get the message out there that we are looking for a veterinarian. Share it on your Facebook page and try to reach as many people as you can. If you know of any vets that would be interested in running a small clinic in Maine tell them about us.

 Our goals for the clinic is to provide low income assistance to those who qualify and to set up a spay and neuter program. How will we be able to do this?  Well the equipment is paid for so there is a savings there. The vet that would operate this clinic would pay for their staff, heat and utilities, supplies things of that nature, so in turn they could pass on some savings to those who qualify. The clinic would not be operated by The Ark, it would be leased to the vet for a minimal amount.

 These are the things we are thinking of and nothing is set in stone so we are open for suggestions and feedback. In a nutshell we want to make vet care accessible to those people  in need of assistance..

 Most importantly we do not want to forget the lady who made this possible.  Dr. Pinales legacy will live on through the work done at this clinic.

If you know of someone that would be interested in running a small vet clinic in Maine that sits on 40 acres, has a chapel in the back yard and sits across from The Ark Animal Sanctuary please have them get in touch with Lorraine at 207-532-7387 for more information or message The Ark on Facebook.

 We will be unveiling the clinic on social media shortly so stay tuned. Thank you for your continued support and as always thank you for reading our column.

The Ark Animal Sanctuary is located on 101 Old Woodstock Road. To contact Lorraine Monfils call 532-7387 or check out their Facebook page. 

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