Local veterinarian provides assistance on a global scale
Dr. Gary Gordon is collecting saddle pads to send to Haiti
–Dr. Gary Gordon DVM, an Atascadero resident and equine veterinarian in practice for over 50 years, has spent numerous years collecting used, clean saddle pads and donating them for horses and donkeys in Haiti.
In Haiti, they only have bamboo available to use as saddle pads and once hardened it can be extremely abrasive to the animal’s back and spine. “According to statistics, Haiti is the third poorest country in the world,” said Dr. Gordon. “I donated my time there over the years because the people are so grateful for the assistance, they welcome you with open arms and they’re happy to have the help.”
Having collected an overwhelming amount of saddle pad donations from the Western United States, he and anonymous companions have taken on the burdensome task of shipping them to Haiti at their own expense and through donations. Collaborative partner Rays of Hope for Haiti, located in Michigan, ships donations in the Eastern United States directly to Port au Prince.
His many years of veterinary missionary work included: two trips to Mongolia, one trip to Nicaragua and six trips to Haiti. During those visits, he also offered veterinarian services to family horses, pigs and goats.
“One Haitian family with six kids was so poor that when their sow was old and sick, and the cause was unknown, I told them to wait until I returned from taking samples up and down the street to see what was causing the illness,” he said. “Upon returning, they had already killed and prepared the sow for a much-needed food source.”
Another project he’s passionate about is Goats for Kids, also a Haiti-based program he helps sustain through proceeds from his practice, his church – Creston Community Church – and missionary support. “The children learn about taking responsibility for an animal and the goat’s babies help produce income,” he said.
As a member of the Christian Veterinary Missionary Association, veterinarians are sent around the world spreading Christianity while teaching people about good care and husbandry for their animals. There is a resident veterinarian in Haiti who he still keeps in touch with to receive updates on families he’s met and assisted over the years.
Back home, on the outskirts of Atascadero on Highway 41, he still works at his equine practice while staying connected with his local community. He recently had an equine group out there where they laid out a plan on how to evacuate horses when they’re frightened in emergency situations.“Now in my eighties, I’m happy where I am, proud of my missionary work and glad to live here in paradise.”
To receive more information about his projects and how to can best assist, contact him at (805) 460-9112.