MARCH 13, 2018

A Special Message from Dr. Jack

By Dr. Jack Walkenhorst

I’m proud to have been a part of Pets In Need of Greater Cincinnati (PIN) since 2015 as both a veterinarian and board member. As the clinic’s fifth anniversary approaches, I’ve been thinking back on my experiences at PIN over the last two years.


I’ve always believed having a pet isn’t a privilege but is something that everyone deserves. Pets make our lives better. It’s a proven fact that they provide both mental and physical health benefits. It wasn’t until I began working at PIN, however, that I realized those who are the least able to afford a pet are often those who need one the most. I know now, for many who are struggling financially or experiencing a life crisis, a pet may be their only source of love and support.

No one should ever have to face the unimaginable decision to surrender a beloved pet to a shelter for financial reasons. At PIN, we’re committed to keeping pets healthy and together with the families who love them. As the only nonprofit veterinary clinic of its kind in Greater Cincinnati (and one of only a handful in the country not connected to a shelter), PIN meets an important community need. All of our clients live at or below 150% of the federal poverty level and, therefore, cannot afford care at a private veterinary practice. At this time, pets from more than 1,800 low-income households are enrolled and eligible for our services.

From Private to Nonprofit Practice

I spent thirty-eight years in private practice. During that time, I saw many thankful pet owners. But nothing comes close to the gratitude I hear on a daily basis at PIN.

I can honestly say I’ve felt more satisfaction from working at Pets In Need than anywhere else during my career.

For many pets, their first appointment at PIN is also their first time receiving veterinary care of any kind. While some pets need only routine wellness care, we do treat sick and injured pets. And, at least once a week I see a pet that has been suffering and for which PIN services are truly a lifesaver. To be able to help any pet regain good health and quality of life and to witness the relief of its owner is always a satisfying experience. But one experience in particular has really stayed with me.

One day, a man brought another man and his dog into the clinic. He explained that he had driven past them many times and finally realized they were homeless. When he noticed the man’s dog was injured, he stopped to ask if he could help. Thus, the visit to Pets In Need. It was especially meaningful to me to be able to help this man and his dog. What many people don’t realize is that the homeless often have to choose between keeping their pets and accepting shelter, since most homeless shelters don’t allow animals. Because a homeless person’s pet may be their only companion, this is especially heartbreaking. Being able to help in this particular situation gave me a renewed sense of compassion.

A Team Effort

In 2017, Pets In Need provided almost 5,500 clinic appointments. This level of service is possible only because of the work of many: veterinary and support staffs who are unparalleled in their professionalism and compassion; a corps of regular and reliable volunteers; an active and engaged board of directors; and, last but not least, a generous community of donors who believe in our mission. In addition, the local veterinary community has been very supportive. Without any one of these, PIN couldn’t have come as far as it has in the last five years.

It has been a privilege for me to be a part of such a dedicated team in the fulfillment of PIN’s important mission. To know I’m helping to make a difference in the lives of so many pets and their people is indeed gratifying.