The Pine Ridge Reservation is located on over two million acres in southern South Dakota. It is home to the Lakota Sioux Tribe and to an estimated 20,000 dogs, many of them in dire need of basic veterinary care. A nonprofit organization called the Lakota Animal Care Project helps dogs and works to reduce their suffering (as well as cats and horses).
Helping Dogs, Raising Awareness
Lakota Animal Care Project helps dogs by providing basic animal health care, spays and neuters animals, and facilitates rescues and adoptions to save lives. It also runs an educational program for school children on the Reservation. The children learn respect for, and to earn respect from, the animals with whom we share our lives, and to develop compassion for them.
The Reservation does not have a veterinarian. The closest clinic is more than 100 miles north in Rapid City.
Virginia Ravndal founded the organization to address these crucial needs. A dedicated, devoted advocate for the animals on the Reservation, Virginia goes above and beyond to ease their suffering.
Paralyzed Dog Given New Life
A Husky mix puppy named Can Do is one of the beneficiaries of the Lakota Animal Care Project. The paralyzed pup’s back legs are essentially frozen in place. He has no feeling in his lower back or tail.
Can Do’s first family on the Reservation planned to put him to sleep because of his disability. But Can Do was in no pain and had a real “can do” attitude. So instead of putting him to sleep, he was given a new life.
Virginia helped find Can Do a foster home and enabled him to become mobile. She outfitted him with different wheels as he grew. Then she contacted HandicappedPets.com for a Walkin’ Wheels dog wheelchair to help him really fly!
HandicappedPets.com donated the wheelchair to the pup in honor of the good work Virginia and her organization do for animals in need.
Happy Dog in Walkin’ Wheels
Can Do’s foster mom says,
“He has adapted VERY well to using them, and once he gets moving is able to cover all sorts of terrain! We’ve been on gravel paths and grassy fields, in addition to the bike path you see in the video. You guys have done a phenomenal job of designing a perfect and adjustable set of transportation for dogs like Can Do!”
Ambassador of Hope
Can Do is a great ambassador of hope to people with his “can do” attitude and cheerful disposition. He has even visited residents at the Senior Center to brighten their days.
Can Do is just one of the dogs whose life has changed because of the care and efforts of the Lakota Animal Care Project.
Every dog has a story, and every dog is worth saving.
The Greater Need
The Lakota Animal Care Project helps dogs by rescuing and relocating hundreds of dogs with a 100% adoption rate. They collaborate with numerous rescue groups to help find unwanted dogs new homes off the Reservation.
The Pine Ridge Reservation is one of the poorest areas in the United States, comparable to that of a developing country. Spaying and neutering the dogs and cats on the Reservation is crucial. This keeps the population controlled, so that fewer animals become “throwaways.”
The Lakota Animal Care Project helps dogs despite not having a facility of its own. It operates out of vans or trucks, which are often in desperate need of repair. Temporary spay/neuter clinics are set up in various public places around the Reservation. Licensed visiting veterinarians and vet techs volunteer their time to provide these vital spay/neuter services.
How You Can Help
These tireless efforts help animals on the Reservation live a more humane life and give dogs like Can Do a second chance. Virginia Ravndal and the volunteers and helpers of the Lakota Animal Care Project deserve deep thanks for their compassion and incredibly hard work.
To help the Lakota Animal Care Project, you can volunteer or donate funds. Your help is essential to keeping this good work going! More information can be found here: http://lakotaanimalcare.org/.
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