A North Bay area woman was stunned Wednesday night when she found out her injured dog would need to be taken to Barrie to receive emergency care.
Marilyn says Charlie, her 10-year-old Beagle, had an unfortunate encounter with a porcupine near her mother's residence on Wednesday evening.
"He was full of quills in his nose, mouth, chest, and feet," Marilyn recalls.
"Charlie was completely freaking out."
Marilyn says they decided to get into their vehicle because she felt there had to be a veterinarian available in North Bay.
"We also called a bunch of offices and all they had was answering machines," she said.
"We called everybody, even vets in Sturgeon Falls and they told me they couldn't provide service so we took him home and we laid him out in the garage and started to try to pull out the quills without being bitten ourselves."
Marilyn says the only clear option given was to travel to Barrie to get Charlie emergency treatment.
"If the quills were any worse, we may have had to put him down that night," she said.
"We couldn't have let the dog suffer all night like that."
Marilyn admits she has had to take her dogs to vets in other communities like Callander but never to a clinic more than two and a half hours away.
"I have had several emergencies, I have had dogs all my life and I have had evening emergencies that have cost double the money, but never have I been told I have to go to Barrie," she said.
On Thursday morning, Marilyn was able to bring her dog in for treatment.
Dr. Karen Barnes, a long-time veterinarian at the North Bay Animal Hospital says the entire veterinarian world is currently in a global crisis.
She says they sent a notification to local pet owners about the current situation.
"We are down a veterinarian and two technicians, who are professional veterinary nurses," admits Dr. Barnes.
"The volume of cases, not just emergencies, we had to try to come up with a plan for our staff to help avoid burnout because everyone is just fried. There is so much work right now.
"It is great when you have the people to do the work but when you don't then something has to give."
As for Marilyn, she hopes no one has to travel all the way to Barrie to get medical attention for their pet.
“People will do anything to save their pets,” she said.
It has been confirmed by BayToday that Parkside Animal Hospital is offering night emergency pet service within rotation with some other area animal clinics with exception of the North Bay Animal Hospital.