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Veterinarian Dr. Shanti Jha

In addition to being a full-time surgeon at a 24/7 private animal hospital in Scottsdale, Veterinarian Dr. Shanti Jha manages to find time to be a hero for homeless animals. The veterinarian has donated his medical expertise to hundreds of the most difficult cases that have come through the doors of the Arizona Animal Welfare League (AAWL). These cases include dogs like Bailey, whose leg and hips were broken. Dr. Jha is performing multiple surgeries so she can walk again, including installing a titanium rod that he donated. Flurb was a cat whose ear canal was badly damaged. Dr. Jha removed his ear canal and ear, and he became so friendly that he is now dubbed the cattery ambassador to new visitors.

"We are in a stressful era, and the loss of daily routines has put a serious emotional strain on us. One the the best things which has happened during these trying times is the strengthening of our bonds with our companion pets. They provide us with non-judgmental emotional support. Just a simple petting activity helps reduce anxiety. We all have to unify ourselves behind a common love of animals -- we all share this planet."

Jha expresses his love for the Scottsdale community, saying he feels blessed to live in such a vibrant city, where nature, nightlife and art abound. He also shares that this is an ideal time to bond with pets and offer them simple care at home. 

"I know that with our daily routines disrupted, our pets' schedules have also changed. We can do much in our own homes to ensure their health and happiness. With social distancing,  walk your dogs away from other animals, so they are not mingling. Make sure that you have an adequate supply of products you will need to take care for your animals. Have a contingency plan in case you can not care for your animals and keep pets on a schedule so they do not become stressed. Also, be creative and find different kinds of indoor games or exercises for pets. It's very important to to engage them physically and mentally."

Jha's involvement with AAWL's Medical Miracle Fund allows him to give a second chance to several pets, so they can continue to be healthy companions in this difficult time and beyond. During the AAWL Mutt Gala held at the Omni Montelucia Resort and Spa in March, Jha took the stage as gala chair, and helped raise more than $300,000.

"The gala gave me a chance to be on the podium and share the work I do at Animal Medical and Surgical Center and with AAWL. It was an eye opener to several of the guests, that yes, we can give our animals a second chance at life."