A legacy of selfless service that started years ago during one natural disaster continues to help animals in need at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVMBS) Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital (VMTH). The most recent recipient of this support is a donkey named Jordan injured by the Onalaska tornado this spring.
Harveigh’s Heroes is a fund that was set up in memory of a calf named Harveigh, whose story went viral following Hurricane Harvey in 2017. After donations came in from all over the world to cover Harveigh’s extended medical care at the Large Animal Hospital (LAH), her owner, Tammy Canton, set up the fund to help future animals and their owners.
One recipient of the Harveigh’s Heroes fund was Karen Pruitt, whose ranch was in the path of a tornado that touched down in Polk County near Onalaska, Texas, in April. Unfortunately, a few of Pruitt’s donkeys didn’t survive, but that made her all the more determined to do everything in her power for the one that did.
One that fateful day, Pruitt, Texas A&M class of ’87, said that she initially didn’t even notice that Jordan was injured.
“She was just wandering around and, really, we thought she was just depressed after losing some of her donkey siblings,” Pruitt said. “She just seemed really down, and I was like ‘I don’t blame you; I am, too.’ But then I noticed a little blood and I pulled her tail over and could see some grass coming out of a wound near her tail.”
Pruitt called Texas A&M’s Veterinary Emergency Team (VET), which had deployed to the area following the tornado and had already been out to her ranch. Upon their return, they saw Jordan had a deep puncture wound, and advised Pruitt to take Jordan to the LAH.
In College Station, soft tissue surgeons cleaned the wound and after a few days of recovery, Jordan was back to herself.
Pruitt, who had interacted with a number of VET members in Onalaska and Texas A&M veterinarians and staff in College Station, wasn’t surprised by the quality of care and attention she received, but she was surprised when she called the VMTH to pay her bill.
“They told me how much it was and I said they had the wrong bill—it had to be more than what they were telling me considering how long Jordan was there,” she said.
That’s when she was told that the Harveigh’s Heroes fund had helped with Jordan’s care.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, when Pruitt wanted to thank the person behind the fund, she asked staff members at the VMTH to organize a virtual meeting for her and Canton.
When the two finally connected, it was an evening of tears and laughter, as they bonded over their mutual love of animals and Texas A&M.
“I burst out in tears when they first told me, because it was so sweet; I told them that I have to meet whoever is behind Harveigh’s Heroes,” Pruitt told Canton. “What the veterinarians and their staff do is just so sweet, and it’s so where my heart is.”
Canton said she was glad the fund was able to help another animal lover.
“I was so excited. I literally was almost in tears when I read Jordan’s story,” she said.
Harveigh has since passed, but Canton said that after the outpouring of support, she felt like she had to find a way to pay it forward.
“We got so many donations that it covered her entire bill, even though she was at the hospital for six or seven weeks,” Canton said. “So I thought to myself ‘I have to do something. I have to give back to other families. There’s no way we would have been able to keep Harveigh there as long as we did without the help of others.
“I feel like a piece of my sweet girl is living on through Jordan. For that, I am grateful.”
Contact Information: Jennifer Gauntt, Director of CVM Communications, Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences; firstname.lastname@example.org; 979-862-4216