Senior pup’s painful smile prompts aspiring B.C. vet to launch fundraiser for surgery

LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)
LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)
LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive dental surgery, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive dental surgery, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)
LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)LC (aka Little Cutie) is to receive much-needed dental treatment, following a fundraiser launched by Elgin Park grad Naomi Gantug. (Gofundme.com photo)

A senior dog in Delta will soon have a happier smile thanks to the efforts of a Semiahmoo Secondary alumna.

Naomi Gantug – now 23 and living in New Westminster – said she was moved to help “LC,” a dachshund she met shortly after starting work as a veterinary assistant in Delta. Gantug sat in on the dog’s appointment when her owner brought her in for “a painful snout.”

“You couldn’t touch her nose at all,” Gantug said of LC (whose initials stand for Little Cutie) at the time.

Examination determined that the plump canine had dental disease, and needed – at minimum – a thorough cleaning, with extractions also a possibility.

Listening to LC’s owner consider how he would afford the procedure was “heartbreaking,” Gantug said, explaining that the gentleman, a widower with a broken arm, talked of skipping meals to save up for it.

At that point, Gantug asked if he had heard of the online fundraising platform, gofundme, then offered to set up a campaign to help raise money to cover LC’s dental bill.

Setting a goal of $1,000, Gantug said response to the ask was initially slow, but grew over a course of about three weeks to just over $700 – reducing the owner’s tab significantly, to around $100.

“It’s going to be a big, happy day,” Gantug said of this coming Saturday (May 1), when LC is booked to have her much-needed dental work.

The day will also include a weigh-in for LC, who Gantug has made a point of taking for walks on her work days, as an additional way of helping.

The fundraising campaign was Gantug’s first effort of that kind, but far from her first inclination to help others – she has had a heart for helping for as long as her dad can remember.

Grant Gantug recalls that even as a youngster walking home from school, his daughter would use a twig to flick snails and slugs off the pavement and onto grassy areas, in an effort to move them out of the path of bicycles and passersby.

In 2012, while in Grade 10 at Elgin Park Secondary, she helped, alongside Semiahmoo Rotary Club, to deliver wheelchairs to disabled children in the impoverished community of Hermosillo, Mex.

READ MORE: Reciprocal benefits

Fifteen years old at the time, the teen said after – in a letter to Peace Arch News – that the experience helped her finally understand a saying she’d heard many times; that of those to whom much is given, much is expected.

“I’ve come to recognize our guilty tendency to gain blind spots in our views of life while being blessed to grow up in a developed country,” she wrote. “We are stuck behind these impediments until we encounter something that can free us. Not everyone is given the chance to experience such an epiphany, and I’m glad to say that, for me, it was because of this trip.”

During her post-secondary studies, Gantug volunteered three of her four years at the University of Western Ontario; first in the university hospital’s lab, then two years in its intensive care unit.

The latter was her favourite, said Gantug, explaining that being able to console those who were distressed brought immense satisfaction.

“Being able to be there and be a present listener,” she said. “A lot of people who are coming into the ICU, a lot of them are very anxious and very stressed.”

As with many others, the pandemic set Gantug on a new path. When it hit, she had been gearing up to follow her “intrinsically motivated” childhood dream of going into medicine, with an aim to specialize in plastics. But, while dog-sitting over the summer, she stumbled onto a somewhat different track – veterinary medicine.

During one of her weekly visits to see her parents in South Surrey, she brought one of her clients’ dogs with her, and her dad commented on how she interacted with it.

“He said, ‘You’d be an amazing vet – why don’t you think about (doing) that?’” she said. “When I look back, I’m like… Everything unfolded so naturally.”

Gantug is now focused on learning as much as she can as a veterinary assistant, and plans to apply to veterinary school “as soon as I can.”

Some say additional help in that field can’t come soon enough. Professionals and charitable representatives alike have raised the alarm in recent weeks over a growing shortage of veterinarians in B.C.; a shortfall that is projected, without action, to reach 500 by 2024.

READ MORE: Animals at risk as B.C. falls behind in educating veterinarians: society

The BC SPCA on April 24 launched a pledge campaign asking government to fund 20 additional spaces for B.C. students at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine; spaces that were relinquished by the province of Alberta in 2018. Located in Saskatoon, Sask, WCVW is B.C.’s regional vet school.

Gantug said she can’t apply until she gets more experience under her belt, but expects to reach that point in February, which will be the one-year mark of her time at the Delta vet clinic.

Her dad, meanwhile, sees big things in his daughter’s future.

“I may end up having another Dr. POL in the family one day:-),” he said, referring to the popular Dutch-born veterinarian whose Weidman, Mich. veterinary practice is the focus of a reality TV show.



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

fundraiserSurrey

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

North Cowichan Mayor Al Siebring. (File photo)
North Cowichan considers extending deadline for property tax payments

A two-month deadline extension to Sept. 1 gets three readings

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

Letters to the Editor.
Speedy service by operations department

North Cowichan responds to deplorable conditions at Askew Creek Park

The Yellow Sub Machine has been open for business for nearly two months. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Pandemic pivot leads to the creation of the Yellow Sub Machine for gourmet sub grub

Former Odika owners stake their claim in the food truck business

Letters to the Editor.
Southern tribute brings back abundant memories

Growing up a great time with a friend lost far too soon

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

A worker rides a bike at a B.C. Hydro substation in Vancouver, on Friday, April 16, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Hydro report raises safety concerns as pandemic prompts jump in yard work

Incidents involving weekend tree trimmers, gardeners and landscapers have risen 30% since the pandemic hit

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

Most Read