‘Really big’ donation highlights need at Warren County animal shelter

Atrium Medical Center turned some of its trash into treasures for the Humane Association of Warren County.

For the last few months, the hospital staff has collected wraps used to keep surgical instruments sterile before surgery. The wraps were donated Monday morning to the Lebanon-based animal shelter for use as mats on surgical tables, said Joanne Hurley, executive director.

“This is really big for us,” she said. “Donations are huge.”

She said the non-profit isn’t funded by tax dollars, but solely by adoption fees and donations. When the shelter receives financial assistance, whether that’s cash, products or services, Hurley said that means more money can be spent on the care of the animals.

“That’s what we always want,” she said. “That’s why this is so big.”

MORE: Family chosen to adopt Trooper, the puppy struck by a train in Hamilton

Hurley said all the animals at the shelter are spayed or neutered as they prepare for their “new future.” Those procedures are especially costly because of the medical staff and the instruments, she said. Now the shelter doesn’t need to purchase any surgery mats.

Julia Keesee, director of surgery at Atrium, said she read in a medical magazine about the many potential reuses of the surgery bags. She said because they’re made of plastic, they can be melted and recycled.

One potential use was turning them into ponchos for the homeless, but Keesee said that would require too much labor. So the hospital, which looks for ways to give back to the community, decided to save and donate the surgery bags to the shelter, she said.

“We’re all big dog lovers and cat lovers,” Keesee said. “It kind of touched all of us.”

She said about 20 large containers of mats were collected, though she didn’t know an exact number. She said each mat costs $5 and they’re used once then discarded. The mats never come in contact with the patient and they’re sterilized with the surgical instruments, she said.

The donation, she said, was a way to recycle the mat and help a local non-profit.

As a way to say thanks to the hospital, Trooper, the dog who lost his rear legs, tail and left eye in a Hamilton train accident last year, made an appearance. Being pushed around in a cart, Trooper was warmly greeted by those throughout the hospital, including the surgery center.

Instead of using a wheelchair as his two back legs, Trooper just scooted on the floor. He has made regular appearances around the area since his recovery at the Animal Friends Humane Society in Butler County.

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