Friday, November 9, 2012

Open letter from admin

This is an open letter from the admin at The Little Bear Chronicles. This is my own opinion and not the opinion of Little Bear's owner.

Recently there has been a bit of a kerfuffle on Little Bear's auction page. A lot of mud-slinging and name calling has been going on, with some users insinuating that perhaps his owner is running a scam to raise money without having any intention of actually funding a surgery.

I know a lot has been said about this already on the Facebook page, but after reading some of the rather hateful comments and accusations going back and forth I had to offer my two cents.
Little Bear is not my cat. He belongs to a young lady named Allie, who adopted him from the New Hampshire Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. I stumbled on his Facebook page by chance and offered to help her network his cause through blogging and YouTube, since these are the skills I have to offer. Allie did not ask for my help nor has she ever asked me for money for Little Bear.
Everything has been going fairly smoothly until recently when the verbal warfare began in earnest. To everyone who is clamoring for vet records, I have two things to say: first, that you have every right to ask for transparency before donating, and second, that she has posted the proof you requested. Here it is below:
Here is a copy of Little Bear's x-rays:
I hope these will give people peace of mind and quiet down the negativity. Goodness knows there is enough of it already in the world.

I think the important fact that many are overlooking is that the surgery is not scheduled for the immediate moment because Little Bear needs six months to fully grow. I could have told anyone that from the start: one does not perform this sort of surgery on a baby animal, any more than a baby human. Obviously Tufts will not schedule a surgery for an underdeveloped kitten without full $$$ to cover the bill, that would be standard practice at any vet (much less an exclusive vet school).

It will take some time to raise the full $5,000 for his first surgery in the spring and another $5,000 for his second (hopeful) surgery in the fall. Money cannot be raised overnight and thus it is important to begin raising funds ahead of time. I think that all one can do when considering donating money, whether to an individual or a charity, is poke about for the facts and take the rest on faith. Goodness knows even with a well-established charity one is assuming on faith that the funds will be properly used. 
One user on Facebook posted this information, which he allegedly obtained from Allie's regular vet, Sagamore Medical Hospital.
We are in fact the veterinary office that saw Little Bear initially on 9/25/12. On that exam it was noted that both front limbs were deformed and xrays were recommended. On evaluation by the radiologist the following was noted :
"Radiographic Findings:


Findings: The radius has failed to develop on both sides. The left antebrachium carpal joint is dorsally luxated. The right is dorsally subluxated. Both carpi are flexed. Lateral/medial malalignment is difficult to discern from the available views. The humeral ulnar articulations appear relatively normal.

Conclusion Bilateral radial hemimelia. Secondary bilateral congenital carpal luxation/subluxation and flexural limb deformity."

The owner has since taken this cat to Tufts University for a consultation and the most recent report from them states the final diagnosis is Bilateral radial agenesis with ulnocarpal varus, and the best option for Little Bear at this point is to allow him to grow a bit more until his bones have reached full length. At that point, Tufts would re-examine and discuss surgery on his left forelimb. They recommend xrays of his heart at that time as well. In the meantime they recommend at home physical therapy twice daily for range of motion.

Thank you,
Sagamore Animal Hospital

As you can see from their letter, his diagnosis has been confirmed, he is indeed under the care of Tufts, and he will be returning to Tufts in the spring for a consultation regarding surgery on his left forelimb. I think far from proving that this is all a scam, it shows the truth of what we have all been told from the start: that Little Bear's regular vet referred him to a specialist to consult about surgery on his legs, and Little Bear will in fact be returning to the specialist in the spring of 2013 for a pre-surgical consult.
On the subject of the ChipIn: if you are not comfortable donating, you are not obligated. I have never once felt put upon by Allie to donate time or money to this cause. She has never asked me to donate to the ChipIn, bid in the auction, put up flyers, share his links, or otherwise help Little Bear's cause. I have helped her voluntarily because I love animals and I do what I can where I see what appears to be a legitimate need.

As for the person(s) who are saying that Allie's parents should be able to fund the surgery: unless I am mistaken, Allie is a grown woman of 18 or 19 years old. I thought, here in the independent U.S., we encouraged our young people to pursue their passions and stand on their own two feet. Don't we usually groan at young people who expect their parents to pay for things? Don't we grimace at people who "come from money" and therefore expect everything to be paid for?

If Allie can rescue a deformed and unwanted kitten--a burden by the standards of most humans--and be humble enough to ask for help to give him a healthy life, I don't think that's something to tear down. I don't see anyone tearing down the Girl Scouts selling cookies at the supermarket and telling them, "You come from money, have your parents finance that project." I don't see anyone tearing down the kids going on a missionary trip and saying, "Don't ask me to chip in and buy anything at your bake sale, your parents can pay for that overseas trip."

I do not support or donate to every cause I encounter. Time and experience have taught me to be wary of every request for help. I do not jump feet-first into a cause without prayer and consideration. However, I have also learned that you need to trust your instincts, and my instincts are that this need is legitimate and Allie is genuinely trying to help her kitten.

If it's all a scam then you can laugh at me later and say, "I told you so." I'm sure you'll feel quite self-righteous while doing so. But even then, I will be able to hold my head up knowing I did what I felt was the right thing to do, by trying to help someone (or some kitten) who can't repay me. In the end, it's the heart that matters, and my heart is in helping this kitten. You are not obligated to join me, but please do not resort to bullying instead. That is never the right thing to do.
Thanks for letting me vent about this issue. Now I will get back to posting cute pictures of Little Bear.

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