09/26/2012 02:58 EDT | Updated 11/26/2012 05:12 EST

Finding the Cause Behind the Paws


As an advocate of canine care, I am proud to be working with 2012 Paws for the Cause benefactor: Central Toronto Veterinary Referral Clinic (CTVRC). The clinic is home to Dr. Devon Boyd (surgery) and Dr. Michael Goldstein (internal medicine). Each year Paws for the Causes donates to a different charitable partner, and this year we will work with the CTVRC to subsidize a portion of surgery costs for owners who cannot afford life-saving surgeries for their pets. Having had my own pet receive emergency clinical care I understand the importance of affordable, professional care for all animals. I talked with Dr. Boyd about plans for the clinic, her 150lb Mastiff, Sargent, and CTVRC's involvement in Paws for the Cause.

What do you do at CTVRC? What does the CTVRC do?

I started CTVRC/CTVEC with my business partner Dr. Michael Goldstein. Aside from being a 50 per cent partner in CTVRC/CTVEC, I am also a practicing board certified veterinary surgeon. I specialize in orthopedic and soft tissue surgery. I have a special interest in minimally invasive procedures such as arthroscopy and laparoscopy. CTVRC is a boutique referral hospital that provides high quality, state-of-the-art medicine and surgical care for dogs and cats. We are dedicated to providing top of the line client service for pet owners and referring veterinarians and we cater to the specific needs of our patients and clients. We have built the hospital to reflect a calm and serene environment that is both comforting and calming for the pets and their owners. We are also affiliated with Central Toronto Veterinary Emergency Clinic (CTVEC). This is an extension of our referral hospital and provides the highest quality of veterinary emergency care through the night and 24hrs on weekends and holidays.

How did you get involved with Paws?

I met with the Paws for the Cause team when Dr. Michael Goldstein and I were in the process of building CTVRC/CTVEC. I was instantly impressed with the mission at Paws for the Cause. I felt especially compelled by your own story of your pet who required emergency treatment; and how you became painfully aware that others were not fortunate like yourself to provide treatment.

Part of what we wanted to do when we opened CTVRC/CTVEC was to be able to create a small boutique hospital. This way, with less overhead costs, we could provide the highest level of referral medicine and surgical care for dogs and cats, while keeping the costs reasonable. I have been practicing as a surgeon for many years. I have felt that the cost of specialty medicine/surgery was getting to a point where most people just couldn't afford the care when their pets needed it.

I didn't spend 11 years in school to have to turn people away because they couldn't afford my services. Being a practice owner, I know that there are significant costs to running a high-end hospital with state-of-the art equipment and highly trained staff, but there has to be a balance. This challenge is something the Paws for a Cause team and I have talked about solving by having a charity that could help offset those costs for pet owners that were in financial trouble.

Funds raised by Paws will go directly to the not-for-profit organization that we are running through CTVRC/CTVEC. I am in the process of getting this organization set up with the government; it will be called CARES (Charitable Animal Referral and Emergency Services). It will provide financial support to people who need assistance for the emergency, medical or surgical care of their pet at CTVRC/CTVEC. The financial contribution from Paws will be instrumental in jump-starting CARES. CTVRC/CTVEC will then be dedicated to establishing other fundraising opportunities to keep this not-for-profit alive.

What is your most memorable moment at the clinic?

There have been so many! I have memorable moments every day; this is the best part about my

job. I get to work closely with incredible veterinarians and people to help their pets get better. I am moved every day as to how animals enrich people's lives. There has been something so incredible about opening this hospital. To be able to see our concept and dream become a reality, and seeing the positive reactions and appreciation from our staff, veterinarians and pet owners has been life-affirming. This is why I wanted to become a veterinarian from the age of seven, I get to live this dream every day and it is amazing.

Do you have any pets?

I only have one pet right now, but he's a big one! I have a 150lb Mastiff named Sargent. I got him through work. I had done an emergency c-section on his mother during the Christmas holidays 3.5 years ago so I met him when he was one day old. Three months later, I found out that my dog at the time had terminal bone cancer. One of my co-workers came to me and told me about a Mastiff that needed a home. At the time, I wasn't sure I was ready for another dog. She came to me a week later and said that it was one of the puppies from the C-section. I knew then that I was meant to have him. Perhaps he was meant to have me... He's already had to have four joint surgeries!! He's a wonderful soul.

Where do you see CTVRC in 1 year?

We just opened CTVRC/CTVEC in January 2012. Our goal is to continue to provide the best possible referral and emergency experience for our veterinarians, continue to practice the best medicine and surgery that we love to do every day, provide a positive work environment for our staff, and create the best possible service for our clients and their pets. Additionally, I hope to see CARES up and running so that we can extend the financial support to people who need help to treat their pets.