Category: Helping Hands

Puppy Saved!!

Meet Puppy Zeus 🙂

This handsome fella is Zeus. His Mom Daisy (a chihuahua) came to Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care in December of 2016 in need of an emergency C-section. Mom Daisy had three boys and one girl. The little boy above was born with a cleft palate.This can be a life threatening condition for a newborn puppy. It makes it very difficult for the puppy to nurse resulting in slow growth and weight-loss. Ultimately it may lead to aspiration pneumonia if the milk enters the cleft and infects the lungs. It was immediately clear this puppy would need around the clock care in order for him to have a chance at survival. Our Rockstar Licensed Veterinary Technician Sarah Jane volunteered to take the puppy home and give him the care he needed…to give him every chance.

Sleepy puppy

Sleepy Puppy Zeus

What Happened Next

She had to tube feed him every four hours for the first week. He did well and then graduated to syringe feeding. A little more than a week after that victory, he graduated to bottle feeding! He took to the bottle very well. At about four weeks old, his puppy teeth came in. At that point Sarah Jane introduced wet, mushy food on a plate. He sneezed some food out exactly two times, then moved forward like the little  champ he is! His favorite activities are eating, sleeping and playing with his puppy toys…in that order.

Hungry puppy

Hungry Zeus tries to eat Elaina’s nose!

What Happens Now

So Sarah Jane has named him Zeus and as he approaches six weeks old, he has met all of the treatment goals she set for him. He is chubby and healthy  and ohh, soo cute! Now that he has gotten this far, the question on everyone’s mind is…will he require surgery to correct the cleft palate? At the time of his birth, it appeared that very little of the soft palate was involved and that it was more of a cleft lip. So we are all in a ‘wait and see’ stage together. As we know more, so will you…stay tuned for more Zeus chronicles:)


Meet Dr. Brian Collins, Captain in the Army Reserves!

Helping Hands Military Veterinarian

In honor of Veteran’s Day, we would like to feature Dr. Brian Collins, a Captain in the United States Army Reserves. Dr. Collins has been with Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care since November 2015. He began his military service in 1998. He was in the Navy from 1998 through 2003 and was serving in Washington D.C. during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. After his tour in the Navy, he attended Iowa State University and graduated from the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. While he started his veterinary career working with large animals, he transitioned into the primary small animal veterinarian at his clinic in Iowa. Dr. Collins joined the U.S. Army Reserves in November of 2013. He serves as a Veterinary Field Officer with the 949th Medical Detachment Veterinary Services unit. His wife, Dr. Jodi Collins DVM, serves as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves as well. His strong interest in veterinary surgery and dental care brought him to Helping Hands where he has become a valued part of the team. When he and his wife are not serving their country or helping animals, they spend their time with their beautiful daughter Emery. We are very proud of Dr. Brian’s military service.
Helping Hands works with many of the Military Base Veterinary doctors in the tri-state area to help the pets’ of Military Families get the care they need. We offer a 10% discount when a military I.D. is shown. We know how important it is that a beloved pet is there to greet Mom or Dad when they arrive home from deployment. We would like to take the time this Veterans’ Day to say thank you to Dr. Brian, his wife, and all who have served and continue to serve our country!

Military Family

Captain Brian and Captain Jodi Collins!

Spending the Day in RVA while Fido gets Pet Surgery or Pet Dental Care at Helping Hands?

day in RVA pet surgery and pet dental care at Helping Hands


1. Visit our neighbor, James River Distillery, to take a tour and taste their gins, rum and vodka.

2. The Virginia Museum of Fine Art (VMFA) has the largest collection of Faberge Eggs outside of Russia. (opening October 22nd)

patio-best-cafe VMFA pet surgery at helping hands

VMFA Patio and Sculpture Garden

3. Take a bike tour with Richmond Rides, touring Richmond’s culinary hotspot – Church Hill.

4. Hike the downtown 1.8 mile Belle Isle loop to enjoy the Falls of the James River.

5. The best shopping experience in Richmond is at Carytown, including spice, cupcake, chocolate & toy shops as well as many restaurants.

6. Hollywood Cemetery is the final resting place for two U.S. Presidents (Monroe & Tyler) and for the former President of the Confederacy – Jefferson Davis.

7. Enjoy nature at Maymont Park or Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens.

8. Tour the Virginia State Capitol – completed in 1788 and is the oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

at Virginia State Capitol while at helping hands for pet surgery

The Virginia State Capitol

9. Take in a matinee ($7.50) at the nearby (about 1 mile) Bow Tie Cinemas.

10. Children will love the Children’s Museum of Richmond and the Science Museum of Virginia.

11. To learn more about the Holocaust, visit the Virginia Holocaust Museum.

12. If you enjoy hunting or fishing, there is a Cabelas in Short Pump and a Bass Pro Shop just north of Richmond.

13. For beer fans, Stone Brewing just opened their East Coast operation and tasting room just past Shockoe Bottom and Church Hill.

at the patio at stone brewing while at helping hands for pet surgery

Chilly enjoys the patio at Stone Brewing

14. Visit the Poe Museum to learn more about Edgar Allen Poe’s time in Richmond in the early 19th century.

15. Patrick Henry gave his famous “Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death” speech at the nearby St. John’s Church.

16. Take a Treetop Zoofari at the Richmond Metro Zoo and see Richmond’s own snow leopard cubs.

at the richmond metro zoo while at helping hands for pet surgery

Cubs at the Richmond Metro Zoo

17. The American Civil War Center at Tredegar interprets the war from the Union, Confederate and African American Perspectives.

18. Up for a long walk? Take the Richmond Liberty Trail, a 6.2 mile self-guided loop through downtown Richmond & 15 historic landmarks.

19. Consider adopting a pet from our neighbor, the Richmond SPCA. (opens at noon)

20. If you are interested in African American History, no trip to Richmond would be complete without a visit to the Black History Museum and the Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site.

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

The Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

All of the above recommendations are covered in the Visitors Guide to Richmond. Please Google the items in bold for more information.

Are You Interested in Volunteering for the Day in RVA?

Many of our clients who travel to Helping Hands for pet surgery or pet dental care ask us about volunteer opportunities. There are many ways you can volunteer your time for the day, but most do require planning.

One of Jake and Chilly’s favorite places is the Richmond Ronald McDonald House. They are a wonderful organization that helps families who have children receiving medical care in the Richmond area. You can go to their website to learn more about their mission and how you may be able to help for the day.


The Richmond Ronald McDonald House


Another great organization that helps children is Noah’s Children. They are affiliated with St. Mary’s Hospital and provide pediatric palliative and hospice care. They have what they call DIAD volunteer opportunities (Done-In-A-Day). Although at this time there are no DIAD events listed on their calendar, you could reach out to them and express your interest and availability.


NC logo 293-348


The closest place to volunteer would be next door with our neighbors at Feed More, the Central Virginia Food Bank. As with the others, you would have to arrange in advance. Another way you can help them is to donate a food item. The following is a list of their most needed items:

*peanut butter     *canned chicken or tuna

*low sodium veggies     *fruit packed in juice

*spaghetti sauce (no glass please)     *whole grain snacks

*canned or dried beans     *hot or cold cereal

They do great work and Helping Hands Affordable Veterinary Surgery and Dental Care is honored to share the block with them.

Feed More 1

The most comprehensive list of volunteer opportunities can be found at Hands on Greater Richmond. They are a clearing house for all kinds of opportunities in the Richmond area. They also have opportunities for Teens (13-17) and Youth (under 13) if you are traveling with your family.

HandsOn_RICHMOND_Horizontal_colorWe love our Helping Hands clients and hope this post is helpful to those of you who would love to volunteer for the day in RVA!