A hectic year at the IFAW veterinary practice in Berlin

A recent patient at Berliner Tiertafel e. V., an important community center for people needing assistance with their companion animals.This year again was a very busy one in our veterinary practice at Berliner Tiertafel e. V.

Veterinarian Janine Bräuer performed 896 treatments at 21 practice afternoons, which is about 42 per day.

Every other Saturday afternoon, she takes care of the four-legged friends of people who are struggling, often below the poverty line, and can feel marginalized and isolated. For many, their pet is the only bright spot in life and an important social partner, especially dogs, can often bring their owners into contact with others.

If an animal is ill, these owners would otherwise not be able to afford a veterinarian. That is why IFAW engaged a veterinarian a few years ago. She treats emergencies, chronic diseases, performs surgery and vaccinates. She also takes the time to talk with the animal owners about the correct treatment for their loved ones, since diseases can often be avoided.

Again and again I hear from Janine's clients that their animals were previously ill and suffered, and that only IFAW’s veterinarian could help.

Spongebob’s master Michael had rescued the now 7-year-old crossbreed from bad care five years ago. For a while the dog had been lame and was in terrible pain, but Michael could not afford regular treatment through a private practitioner. Luckily, as a Tiertafel client he could visit the IFAW vet practice.

As it turned out, Spongebob's pain came from an old cruciate ligament injury that was never identified let alone treated. The IFAW veterinarian and a surgeon opted for a complicated operation because it was the only way to ensure that Spongebob would be able to walk again without pain. The operation ran without complications and thanks to the loving care of Spongebob’s master, the dog could run better 12 days after the operation than in the whole months before.

Susanne, another Tiertafel client, has come to the IFAW practice for years with her two dogs, Mutsel and Kessy. For the young woman, her animals are particularly important because she suffers from psychological issues and finds comfort and support in her faithful companions. Mutsel was almost 14 years old when another dog bit him in the head and injured the optic nerve so severely that Mutsel was blind. Only a surgery could save the dog from certain death, but an operation is a great risk for such an old dog. Since Susanne really wanted to try everything to save her companion, our veterinarian decided to try the surgery. Everything went well and the resulting wound healed miraculously. Mutsel lived another happy year with Susanne and Kessy until he died of old age.

From here on out, the Berliner Tiertafel e. V. will open its doors only once a month as the volunteers are stretched thin and need more time to promote Tiertafel and collect donations. Accordingly, our practice hours will take place only once a month. Our veterinarian will take care of emergencies in her own practice, so there is no risk that patients will have to wait too long until the next appointment.

IFAW's Berlin veterinarian project shows the basic principles of our organization: We want to create a world where animals are respected and protected - and this often means helping people to help the animals.


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