9/11 Article by Dr. Salemi

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Mark Salemi, D.V.M.

The following is an excerpt of a published article written by Dr. Salemi regarding his experience volunteering at Ground Zero after 9/11:

The Long Island Veterinary Medical Association had a Disaster Preparedness Plan already in action on 9/11. They had had one in place since 1994, due to the hurricanes that threaten Long Island.  It allowed them to line up 3-4 weeks of volunteer veterinarians immediately. When I arrived for my shift, 3 weeks after the attack, the search and recovery phase had already started to wind down.  I didn't have to do too much I saw 1 dog with cuts and bruises on his ankles and feet. I examined and bathed him, cleaned and bandaged his wounds, and gave him a prophylactic injection of penicillin, as he wagged his tail in appreciation.

The best thing was how all the people involved vets, doctors, fireman, police officers, and all the volunteers, were very good to each other not your typical image of the 'gruff New Yorker.' Everyone was so courteous. There were no short tempers and everyone was willing to go the extra mile. It's amazing how much the city, the country, and the world were drawn together. It's a shame that something like this had to happen to make us realize how small the world is and how we all have to live together.

I've been a veterinarian for a long time, and never in my life have I seen dogs like those who were working at Ground Zero.   Anyone I spoke to felt the same.  They had a goal, too. They would drag themselves off The Pile, bruised, exhausted, and often frustrated. Then they were so happy to be worked on as they just sat there and lifted their paws. They'd go to the MASH unit to be bathed and treated.  Being recharged, our furry heroes would enthusiastically drag their handlers back onto The Pile with vigor. They all knew what their job was that day.

Mark Salemi, D.V.M.

 

In light of the recent tragic events in New York City, at the World Trade Center on September 11th and the American Airline crash shortly thereafter, the New York City Veterinary Medical Association is developing a Disaster Preparedness Committee. This Committee is presently laying the groundwork for organizing a list of veterinarians in the New York City area to respond in emergency situations.  The participants must be willing to be available on an on-call basis at any time of the day for any future incidents, be they natural or man-made. If any qualified New York veterinarians  are interested, please contact Mark Salemi, D.V.M., President of the NYC VMA, at Northside Animal Hospital, Staten Island, N.Y. (718) 981-4445 or nahdr2@aol.com.

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