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Firehouse Animal Center donates $10,000 in vet care to local families

At least four families, including the Sherwoods, will be helped by the veterinary clinic through charity program.

Moose got a clean bill of health on Tuesday.

A 4-year-old white cat with black spots, she was one of the first animals this week to be screened at no-cost by veterinarians at Firehouse Animal Health Center as a gift to Statesman Season for Caring.

The animal center this year has offered $10,000 worth of services to the Season for Caring featured families, beginning with the Sherwoods, who brought Moose, Chihuahua mix Sophie and bird Juju into the office for a checkup.

Jacob Sherwood, 13, held Moose carefully as the vet listened to her heart and inspected her ears. Four years ago, he hand-picked the kitten as his companion animal, after doctors found cats calmed him. Jacob is on the autism spectrum and has never been one to socialize much.

His mom and brother struggle with their own health problems. Trisha Sherwood was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2009 and was in a wheelchair for two years. Her son Alden, 16, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2014. Complications from his treatments have made him unable to walk. He now uses a wheelchair.

The Sherwoods were nominated this year to Season for Caring by local nonprofit organization Any Baby Can, which helps children and families.

Firehouse also will help three other families’ pets — the Matias family’s two dogs, one of which has stomach problems and will get an ultrasound, Marcelo Gracia’s dog and Lyric Wardlow’s two cats.

If the Season for Caring families don’t use all of the $10,000 worth of care pledged, additional families served by Season for Caring agencies will get help for their animals.

Firehouse — which has locations in Austin, Leander, Kyle and Round Rock and is opening a location in Dripping Springs in April — has given $126,000 back to the community in five years through donated services to such organizations as Austin Pets Alive, Austin Humane Society, Austin Animal Center and PAWS Shelter of Central Texas.

“Community involvement has always been a huge part of what we do,” medical director Hunter Bowen said. “We are excited to make this a part of that. It seemed like a really good opportunity and a cool way to help some pets who are also helping those people by being a part of their family.”

On Tuesday, the vet ordered blood tests, administered vaccines and trimmed all of the Sherwood pets’ nails. The family left the office with a gift basket, including engraved name tags for the animals and a bottle of wine.

“I was so impressed by all of them,” Trisha Sherwood said. “Tonight I will kick back and enjoy snuggling with my healthy pets as I enjoy a glass of wine by the Christmas tree and relax for the first time in a long while. Joyful gratitude is overflowing.”

The Sherwood family still has many major needs on its wish list, including an accessible Section 8 house to rent, help with utilities, medical co-pays, a wheelchair lift or ramp for their Dodge Journey, equine therapy and a mobility dog. They also would like gift cards to a movie theater, Austin Archery Country and GameStop, gas stations, Walmart, H-E-B and Amazon.

To give an item on their wish list or to find out more about the family, contact Any Baby Can at 512-454-3743,

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