Hanging on my dining room wall is my favorite photo, a portrait of a rescued goat frolicking through a field with his back legs in a custom wheel chair, titled by the photographer as “What Love Can Do.”
Today is International Day of Veterinary Medicine. If you are in the US, you have possibly read in the news recently how the pandemic has exacerbated the strain on the veterinary field. Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, the stress on much of the veterinary field has been profound. Veterinarians in the US are at an increased risk of suicide, a trend that has spanned more than three decades, as documented by a relatively recent CDC study published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA). As a dog, cat, and bird mom, I could not be more grateful for the veterinarians who have taken care of my best furry and feathered friends. I know I am not alone in my gratitude. In addition to the 70% of American households that include at least one companion animal, many of ADP’s sanctuary and rescue clients also rely on the care and skill of veterinarians and veterinary technicians to allow their rescued animals a fighting chance.
I had the opportunity to speak with Dr. Anna Katogiritis, DVM, who is working with ADP to help her establish a nonprofit organization to bring high quality veterinary care and training to underserved communities with the goal of creating sustainable long-term improvements to human, animal, and environmental health.
Thank you to all the veterinarians working tirelessly around the globe and exemplifying what love can do.
~ Jaclyn, ADP Communications Director
Meet Dr. Anna Katogiritis, DVM
Born in Athens, Greece and licensed in veterinary medicine in the US, Dr. Anna has already served animals around the globe. In Indonesia, Anna spent time at the Tasikoki Wildlife Rescue Center, helping care for over 200 animals (macaques, orangutans, birds, crocodiles, and more) confiscated from illegal wildlife trading. At the Tchimpounga Chimpanzee Rehabilitation Center in the Republic of Congo, Anna studied parasites in chimpanzees and helped to treat the Center’s more than 160 rescued chimpanzees, mandrills, and other animals. In 2020, Anna co-founded the nonprofit Animal Welfare Karpathos (AWK) in Karpathos, Greece. With a core network of dedicated local volunteers and partners, AWK responds to animals in distress by providing food and water, removing them from danger, giving first aid, or taking injured animals for veterinary treatment. AWK has also led local free spay/neuter clinics.
How Dr. Anna Found ADP
Dr. Anna was introduced to The Animal Defense Partnership through ADP co-founder David Ebert during a combined effort to help Asha, an elephant housed at Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia. Together with In Defense of Animals, Free All Captive Elements, One World Conservation, and Anna with Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Program, ADP filed a complaint with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, seeking to have Asha seized and placed in an accredited sanctuary. The effort to free Asha is still ongoing.
Dr. Anna’s Vision for the Future
Although still in the stages of incorporation, Dr. Anna’s new organization already has an impressive board driving a big vision: The organization will seek out communities across the world that are in need of improved veterinary care. By providing veterinary clinical care and education, the organization will work with local communities to identify animal-related issues, and collaborate with local partners to identify long term solutions that are sustainable and specifically tailored to the local communities. Another important aspect of this organization is the promotion of the One Welfare and One Health concepts—that human, animal, and environmental health and welfare are interconnected. A core component of the new organization’s mission is to not only serve animals’ health, but also to improve human and environmental health through these interconnections.
For Dr. Anna, this new organization is the culmination of a lifelong dream. In her words:
“When I was asked at a young age why I wanted to be a veterinarian, one of the answers I gave automatically was: because animals don’t have doctors and they don’t have money. I was 5 or 6 at the time, and it was then that I made a commitment for the path I took. This new organization, therefore, has in many ways been a lifelong dream: to be able to provide free care for the animals who are less fortunate and who desperately need it. There are so many sanctuaries and shelters around the world that need free veterinary care for the animals they rescue. I am hoping that we will not only be able to provide that, but also make veterinary training available where access to resources is not readily available.”
Follow Dr. Anna’s Work
Stay tuned for the launch of this new nonprofit organization. In the meantime, you can follow or get in touch with Dr. Anna through her website, or on her professional Facebook profile and Instagram account.