If you’ve never heard the phrase “faith in humanity restored,” this is exactly the kind of thing that gets people saying it. Dr. Andrew Kaplan, a vet in NYC’s Upper West Side, is no stranger to the reality of many dogs’ fate in overcrowded shelters.
He is appalled, like many of us, at the number of cats and dogs that die in the name of saving space. In fact, Dr. Kaplan grew to be so passionate about the subject especially after he adopted his dog Toby. Toby was very nearly a “casualty of the system,” he says, because he was labelled too aggressive and therefore unadoptable.
He would have been euthanized the next day, but Kaplan, being a veterinarian, was allowed to take Toby home despite his behavioral issues. They spent more then a decade together before Kaplan lost Toby at thirteen, though this dog might just save the lives of pets all over the city.
The Toby Project was named in his honor, and in a valiant and selfless effort to prevent as many animals as possible from losing their homes, Dr. Kaplan takes his mobile clinic and a few surgeons to under-served neighborhoods every weekend. There, they provide free spaying and neutering to any animal whose human may not be able to afford the procedure themselves.
It’s no coincidence that lower-income areas are also the ones forced to surrender the most pets. By helping these animals and their humans, The Toby Project is keeping dogs and cats in loving homes and preventing the birth of more animals who may very well end up casualties themselves.
“It hurts me to know that animals are dying in shelters because they don’t have homes,” Dr. Kaplan told PIX 11. “If I can do something about it then I am going to try.”
Hundreds of people are extremely thankful for this doctor’s service and the service of his team – particularly Molly the Puggle, whose mom knows just how costly vet care can be. “Animals become a part of you. They become a part of your heart,” another loving pup parent said. “When you put the care of your pet with a vet who cares so much, it’s great.”
The Toby Project has been making its rounds for six years now with no plans to stop. We can only pass along our own thanks to Dr. Kaplan and his team, and, of course, to Toby, for making it all happen.