Destrehan woman helps shelter dog get surgery

Victoria is likely to be adopted by family

When Vicki Cain slips on her running shoes, she’s doing good things in her son’s memory.

And that’s why Victoria the dog won’t live in pain anymore.

“I try to give back to the community as much as I can,” said Cain, a Destrehan resident. “It’s something that helps me in my grieving process. Instead of being around the house and sad all of the time, I can do something to make my son proud.”

Victoria, a mixed breed canine and former resident of the St. Charles Parish Animal Shelter, had reached a roadblock in both her health and chances for adoption: two of her kneecaps had popped out of place, giving her a bow-legged appearance and making it painful for her to run or jump. The cost for an orthopedic veterinarian to perform surgery on both knees and her right hip for Victoria was $2,500.

And that’s where Cain came in.

The avid volunteer and local do-gooder established and organized the Run 4 the Paws 5K earlier this year as a fundraiser to cover medical costs for animals that may need it. Some $1,000 raised by the event went toward covering the surgical cost for Victoria, who underwent the procedure recently and should soon be good as new.

“I love helping out the shelter animals,” said Cain, who also created and organized the annual Run 4 the Blue in support of fallen officers. “I was able to walk (Victoria), and she’s such a precious little dog. I’m so glad to have helped her.”

According to Dr. Jena Troxler, Animal Shelter supervisor, Victoria should not only be cleared soon to resume a full and healthy life, but she’s also on the verge of being adopted by a new family.

“Without the surgery, for a young dog like Victoria to not be able to run or jump, it can’t be ignored,” Troxler said. “She would have been able to walk, but she would have been in pain. And for people interested in adopting, knowing they’ll have to immediately pay for a surgery is going to really reduce the chances they’re adopted. It’s why we always want to get them in the best condition before we adopt them out.”

Cain, a member of the Rescue Run Club and who is involved in several other volunteer efforts, is someone who goes “above and beyond,” Troxler said.

“She has a real passion for it,” Troxler added.

Cain loves to help people, but her drive to help others is fueled by much more than that. The death of her son, William, in 2014 motivated her to give back in his name—she calls her efforts “Running on WillPower” in his honor.

In addition to the two races, both of which she plans to continue to hold annually, Cain volunteered in a variety of ways following the flooding of Baton Rouge. She also regularly volunteers with Second Harvest to help feed families, is an organizer for the EZ Riders of St. Charles Parish cycling club and likes to utilize her days off of work to give back.

“I really discovered it’s something I like to do,” she said. “It’s helped me find meaning in my life and I love to help others.”

Every Thanksgiving, for example, she adopts a family in need to deliver a Thanksgiving meal to. This year, her delivery was to a single mother of three children who had another child on the way.

“I usually take it to them personally, tell them a little bit about why I’m doing what I do and ask them to light a candle for my son and say a prayer,” she said.

Her next project is a toy drive she’s organizing for patients at Children’s Hospital. She’s also organizing a bike ride for the Norco Parade, and soon it will be time to start putting everything together again for “Run for the Blue.”

“And I might decide to do something else between now and then,” she said. “You never know.”

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