BooBoo Fund to support new pet wellness program

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The creation of the BooBoo Fund marks the first step toward low-cost wellness care for Carter County pets.
East Tennessee Spay and Neuter Director Danika Nadzan has had the idea on her radar for some time, but with no permanent office space, the program has been on the back burner. The fund will make it possible to begin financing the program which Nadzan said she hopes to begin in 2016, funds and space permitting.
“We’re working on getting to the next level after an exciting year with our other programs,” said Nadzan.
The program will assist low-income pet owners by providing wellness check-ups and with financial assistance to help cover large vet bills.
“Once spayed and neutered, there are all kinds of expenses throughout a pet’s life, and with help to manage preventative care, we can lower the cost and likelihood of serious health issues developing,” said Nadzan.
The fund was established to honor BooBoo Giorgi, a remarkable dog that triumphed over extraordinary medical problems, and as a means of continuing the health of pets and education of their owners.
“Our goal is education: to have people understand the responsibilities of being a pet owner and what the costs are ahead of time, and to help those that have fallen on hard times with the expenses of pet care,” said Nadzan.
This year, ETSN programs have grown to serve more Carter County residents and to prevent unnecessary litters and pet hunger.
The low-cost spay and neuter program fixed about 500 pets, bring the total to 3,500 since 2009. If each of those animals had a litter of just four pups or kittens, that is 14,000 births prevented. The Pet Food Pantry fed pets in over 500 Carter County families each month. The Trap-Neuter-Return of Feral Cats fixes and returns feral cats that could not be adopted to the wild in collaboration with Appalachian Feral Cat Allies. Since 2011, AFCA has fixed over 3,000 cats.
Stacey Heiden, director of the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter has developed handout materials, YouTube videos, and educational content for ETSN’s Facebook and Pinterest pages. Moving into the New Year, Nadzan said ETSN, ECCAS and AFCA plan to work even more clolesly to best network and meet the needs of Carter County residents and pets.
“I think when people see our progress, that can measure the impact they’re making by supporting these programs,” said Nadzan.
Not only is the success of programs observable, but its effect is obvious by the number of food recipients that regularly volunteer their time. Nadzan said one woman was given $100 as a Christmas present, which she donated to ETSN.
“We have good people in our community,” said Nadzan.
The biggest need ETSN is currently facing is for office space from which staff and volunteers can conduct business.
“We’re having 20 to 40 people coming in an hour and a half on Saturdays to sign up for low-cost spay and neuter,” said Nadzan. “Imagine how many we could help if we were open throughout the week.”
Not only would it give them a greater opportunity to help more people, but their current mode of operation out of the purple bus and the loading dock of Tractor Supply in Elizabethton means volunteers have to be outside to distribute food, which Nadzan said has twice led to the cancelation of distribution.
She hopes that they will raise the money to rent a small space or to have an unoccupied space donated . As a non-profit organization, the donation of space, even for six to 10 months would be a tax deductible contribution for the person or company that provides it.
Starting up and operating a new program is not cheap, but Nadzan believes its effects will be well worth the investment from the community. The preliminary budget for supplies for Wellness checkups for a year, open two to three days per week is estimated to cost $15,000 to $20,000, not including insurance, refurbishing the bus or paying the veterinary technician and veterinarian. The BooBoo fund is just the beginning for the launching of this initiative, but just like ETSN’s other programs, Nadzan expects it to be a success.
ETSN operates with financial support, community contributions and partnerships with numerous local and regional organizations and businesses.
Contributions may be mailed via check to ETSN, P.O. Box 2171, Elizabethton, TN 37644, in cash at Big John’s Cloesouts in Elizabethton or at 3B’s Thrift Store in Hampton, or via PayPal on
For more information on programs, visit the aforementioned website or call 423-289-5548.

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