By Jo-Anne MacKenzie
---- — SALEM — Honey, a 4-year-old pit bull mix, was pretty excited to be at Rockingham Toyota yesterday.
There was excitement at the other end of the leash, too.
Dr. Kristina Hogg, the veterinarian and medical director at Salem Animal Rescue League, was part of the group assembled to accept a $5,000 donation from the car dealership that will fund a new anesthesia machine for the shelter.
It’s a “pet-friendly” dealership, according to Ryan Horgan, son of owner Emmett Horgan.
That’s pretty obvious to anyone who walks into the showroom on Route 97. Quick to greet customers is Brody, Ryan Horgan’s 3-year-old golden retriever.
Yesterday, Brody had some canine company. In addition to Honey, SARL staff members brought along Puddles, a 5-year-old Labrador/retriever mix, and the shelter’s ambassador, Miss Missy, a three-legged Chihuahua who is pushing 16.
The occasion was significant. Rockingham Toyota held a fundraiser for SARL throughout December, donating 1 percent of all parts and service sales. Toyota provided a matching gift and the Horgans presented SARL with $5,000, enough for the shelter to buy a new anesthesia machine.
“We do 85 to 90 percent of surgery now in house,” Hogg said. “This will allow us to do almost 100 percent.”
It also will mean two veterinarians can operate at the same time, she said, provided some veterinary surgeons are willing to donate their time and expertise to shelter residents.
“Surgeons can come in and donate their time for surgeries, mostly orthopedic,” she said.
The new machine also means surgery will be a little safer for the cats and dogs under SARL’s care, according to Patricia Mack, director of development and media relations.
“The new machine will be safer for longer surgeries,” she said.
Horgan said the dealership has donated to SARL in the past. Late last year, the company approached the shelter to find out what was needed.
The Horgans opted to raise money for the anesthesia machine.
But the fundraising didn’t stop there. Rockingham Toyota held a supply drive for the shelter at the same time. Customers and employees donated cleaning supplies and other items SARL staffers said they need most.
After the check presentation yesterday, Mack’s car was loaded up with the results of the supply drive.
Ryan Horgan said the dealership will continue to support the shelter in the future.
“We’re animal friendly,” he said. “A lot of animals come in here with their owners; we support local organizations and the shelter needs the help.”