La Boit Donates Labor and Materials to Refurbish Used Veterinary Clinic for Non Profit Paws of War

November 17, 2018 | La Boit Specialty Vehicles | Client Spotlight, Veterinary | No Comments

“It’s a really special day for the organization. We are overwhelmed by the work that has been performed on this truck. We were really concerned when we purchased the truck… if we would be able to complete our mission to help so many Veterans and their pets in need. If it wasn’t for La Boit, this probably would not have happened.”

Those are the words of Rob Misseri, co-founder of Paws of War, in a taped interview he gave while visiting La Boit’s manufacturing facility in Columbus. He was visiting progress on the truck that had dropped off at La Boit a couple weeks earlier. To understand the full story, let’s start at the beginning, (or watch our video!)

Paws of War is a non-profit organization that trains dogs who were previously in shelters, and matches them with disabled Veterans. Founded in 2014, the organization has already trained and placed over 100 animals, with several hundreds more in the pipeline currently being trained.

“Our dogs are rescued only, they are not purchased or bred,” writes Cassandra Espadas, Paws of War staff member. “We are not breed specific and… we have placed dogs in over 14 states.”

Chris Sonners, a disabled veteran and volunteer with Paws of War, received his companion animal from the organization in early 2018. He accompanied Rob Misseri during the first check in with the truck, so we were able to chat with him a bit about his dog. When asked about how the dog has made an impact on his life, Chris’s eyes welled up as he spoke.

“They provided me with a service animal back in March and it literally changed my life,” he said. “I’m not only a volunteer, but I have my service dog, and whatever I need for my companion animal, they do it. And it brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy. I’m speechless…”

So as you can see, Paws of War has done great work providing trained shelter dogs to Veterans throughout the country over the past few years. However, as they continued to train and place more animals, they saw a real need in the community they served – consistent, affordable, and convenient veterinary care. They knew intuitively that mobile was the answer.

So in early 2018, they purchased a used 2006 26ft La Boit-built mobile veterinary clinic. The vehicle had just under 130,000 miles on it, and suffered from many years of deferred maintenance. While the vehicle was drivable, it was not up to the task of providing the safety and functionality required in a veterinary clinic.

Rob explains how disheartening it was at first.

“We didn’t realize the magnitude of the work that it needed. We had called around to other repair places and no one could take on the job. We felt that maybe this mission we were going to launch wasn’t going to happen.”

Before Photos

 

So Rob brought the clinic to its original manufacturer, La Boit, to give it once over. Boy, the truck was definitely in rough shape! It needed an entirely new plumbing system, pumps, body work, countertops, flooring, lighting, and much much more to get it up to par. But funds were tight for the organization.

La Boit founder and CEO, Gil Blais, is a Veteran himself. He immediately felt a connection with the Paws of War organization and their mission.

“When we first heard about Paws of War, we did a thorough research of the organization and were very impressed with what they do,” Gil is quoted as saying in an article for thedrive.com. “Being a veteran myself, I knew I wanted to help any way I could and renovating their vehicle was right up our alley. The entire La Boit staff felt the urge to help and did so by volunteering their time. We also had vendors donate equipment so it truly was a group effort.”

So when duty called, Gil talked it over with staff and everyone agreed to donate their expertise and resources to help Paws of War fulfill their dream of serving Veterans with a mobile veterinary clinic. With the help of La Boit’s suppliers, who donated a surgery light, dental machine, and cage gates, and La Boit’s own employees volunteering some of their labor, La Boit completely refurbished the truck into a mobile clinic that any organization would be proud to own.

After Photos

 

“The work that has been done absolutely gets us where we need to be,” says Rob. “We’re excited about getting this mission off the ground.”

Now the vehicle is wrapped in beautiful new graphics and has made its way back to the Paws of War main training facility in New York State. Upon arriving, the group had an unveiling ceremony for the clinic, formally naming the program “Vets for Vets.”

Currently, Paws of War is focused on fundraising in order to both stock and staff the vehicle. Once they have a base of funds to operate from, they plan to use the clinic in a variety of ways, including parking it at VFW halls and other Veterans organizations to provide free services, as well as attend community outreach events throughout the country.

At La Boit Specialty Vehicles, we are humbled by the opportunity to work with an organization with such a unique and worthwhile mission. The strength of Paws of War is that it is able to connect two vulnerable groups together, disabled Veterans and shelter animals, so that they can support and help each other. And that, my friends, is a win win win if you ask us!

Thank you Paws of War for your great work! Best of luck with your “new” La Boit mobile veterinary clinic!


About La Boit Specialty Vehicles

La Boit Specialty Vehicles president Gil Blais first started La Boit in his garage, where he hand-made organizational boxes for traveling veterinarians. Fast forward 37 years, La Boit Specialty Vehicles is now a leader in specialty vehicle manufacturing for the Veterinary, Spay/Neuter/Adoption, Dental, Medical, Command, and Bloodmobile industries.

La Boit Specialty Vehicles offers a variety of vehicles to suit your needs, from 18ft pull-behind trailers to 40ft drivable coaches, none of which require a CDL to drive. Best of all, our vehicles are commercially-built from the chassis up for your specific needs, and are never converted RVs.

Mission Statement:

Helping professionals around the world confidently deliver a higher level of service to their local markets by providing the highest quality custom mobile units in the industry!

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