Wildfire checked into the vet in a terrible state last winter. The sled dog’s hind leg had been shattered during a hit and run with a snowmobile. Wildfire’s owner, Ryan Reddington of Reddington Mushing, had brought him to multiple emergency vets, who provided astronomical estimates for surgery on the elite canine athlete. That’s when he was referred to Mission Animal Hospital.
It took two surgeries – one of which spanned a grueling eight hours – with Dr. Hadley, a board-certified veterinary surgeon on staff at Mission, but the team was able to put Wildfire’s leg back together. At first they were uncertain whether he would ever be able to walk. Now six months later, it appears the dog will pull a sled again one day.
“As a dog and cat lover my entire life, I’ve had pets with significant medical needs before,” said Christine Durand, development director for Mission Animal Hospital. “I’ve thankfully been able to afford veterinary care for them whenever they needed it, though my heart has always ached for anyone who hasn’t shared that same good fortune.
“Learning about Mission was a big aha moment for me. I realized it is a vital veterinary resource to anyone who believes their pet is a part of their family, and I couldn’t have been more excited to join that mission.
“Our non-profit organization provides access to veterinary care to people who may not otherwise have been able to afford it. We keep our costs as low as possible by working in a high-volume model. Our 16 veterinarians treat about 25,000 dogs and cats every year, and our urgent care is available seven days a week. That makes us one of the busiest veterinary hospitals in the state.
“We’re also grateful to receive donations from people who not only want to help pets in need, but also the people who love them. They make our two-tier pricing system possible. Those who meet certain income qualifications are welcome to reduced-fee pricing through our Mission Program. Those who are willing and able to pay full price are also perfectly welcome at Mission, and their fees directly support our ability to serve low-income families. We additionally provide payment plans, which can be a game changer to any family living paycheck to paycheck.
“We provide complete care for dogs and cats. Our wellness services include vaccinations, microchipping and treatment for minor ailments. Our walk-in urgent care services are available to pets who are seriously ill or injured. Our doctors perform general surgery, such as spays, neuters and dental procedures, as well as advanced surgery for more serious and nonroutine cases.
“We frequently help pets who ate something they shouldn’t have: aspirin, corn cobs, bird seed, baby bottle nipples and even the occasional doll’s head. We just recently saved a cat who had managed to scoff down a beading needle, which had pierced his throat and entered his chest cavity. Luckily, he is going to fully recover.
“This summer we treated a three-year-old Persian named Peggy Sue. She had been neglected in her previous home, and was brought to a shelter in such poor condition that she was placed in hospice. While the family that adopted Peggy Sue was prepared to help her pass away in as much comfort as possible, they decided to give her one last chance with Mission Animal Hospital.
“We worked on this cat – who was matted and covered in infections and in such great pain that she couldn’t stand, but whose bright eyes light up such a peculiar little pushed-in face, and whose tongue sticks out in exactly the most adorable way, and whose amazing whiskers all curl straight outward – and we saved her. Peggy Sue is now enjoying life with her loving new family.”
Mission cares for people as well as their pets. Their client services are staffed by a full-time social worker, who offers support to clients who are navigating trauma, grief, and the complex decisions involved in their pets’ medical care. They may also help families access other resources, such as food or housing.
Mission Animal Hospital was founded as a new model of veterinary care. They are now on the verge of a national expansion. “Our dream is for every community to have a place like this,” said Christine. “I honestly believe that the future of pet care has already begun right here in Eden Prairie.”
Mission Animal Hospital is located at 10100 Viking Drive #150 in Eden Prairie. You may learn more about them and support their mission at missionah.org.