Vet visits Galena pets in need of medical attention

Courtesy State of AK

Vet visits Galena pets in need of medical attention

Furry friends of community members in Galena got a visit from the doctor August 10-11 thanks to a team of concerned animal lovers.  Dr. Adriana Fisher is a veterinarian volunteering through Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach Program (ARVO) from the Big Lake Susitna Veterinary Clinic in Wasilla.

“It feels good and I am happy to be giving back to Alaska’s rural community.”

Fisher mentioned that FEMA and ARVO teamed with other organizations to get her out to the remote city of Galena. 

“I am very glad to be here because I think the animals often get forgotten in these emergency situations and it’s important to realize that pets are part of society and there is a public health aspect to making sure our pets are healthy.”

Tamra Lewis with AmeriCorps is also assisting with pet needs in Galena and said whether it is food, medical attention, there are plenty of needs for pets in Galena.

 “I feel honored to help in any way I can and I’m glad to see these pets are getting the care they desperately need.”

The need was evident as Galena pet owners lined up during the entirety of Fisher’s two-day stay—she cared for more than 80 pets.

One of those Galena residents whose pets received medical attention was Melvin Williams whose home was nearly ruined by flooding. He has been working tirelessly to get his dog Kaiser back.  Kaiser had been staying with Galena resident Patti Smith who took in 12 pets from owners displaced by flooding.  Williams was able to reunite with Kaiser shortly after his visit with the Vet and said he is thankful people were able to look after and take care of his friend. Kaiser jumped for joy during Melvin’s arrival.

Larry Housman was another Galena resident who took advantage of the Veterinary service and commented on the importance of it.

“Having healthy kids and dogs running around makes it feel like we’re getting back to normal,” Housman said. “It is a good sign.”

Younga Kim, FEMA Mass Care Program Specialist on the Pet Task Force for sheltering, and Dr. Fisher, said there are well over 100 animals in Galena in need of support.

“I have a huge heart for animals and it gives me a sense of pride seeing them get taken care of,” Kim added.

Michael Haukedalen, the Executive Director Alaska Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said he worked with ARVO, FEMA, and other organizations to overcome logistical challenges to get a veterinarian to Galena.  He was happy to mention that even more help is on the way.

Haukedalen said that in addition to the 1500 lbs. of pet food that has already been distributed in Galena, the Alaska SPCA was awarded a PETCO Foundation $5000 grant that will bring approximately 5000 lbs. of dog food to victims of flooding.  He said caring for the pets has been a team effort.

“I consider myself very fortunate to be in a position to help and I have a lot invested in this” stated Haukedalen. “Once I went to Galena and met the people and their pets I felt even more invested.”

You can help pets in need by donating to the SPCA.  For more information go to

State of Alaska press release