Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Pine Harbor Animal Hospital, Lara Bailey, is the recipient of the Al Dohany Award for Community Service by the Georgia Public Health Association. Bailey was nominated for the award by McIntosh County Health Department Environmental Health Manager, Eric Rumer.
Established in 1999, the Al Dohany Award for Community Service honors public health leader, Al Dohany, who was highly respected among his peers and who made great contributions to the promotion of public health through his work with family connection and community groups at the local level. This award is presented annually to an individual who has made a positive contribution to community health through collaboration with the community and its leaders. This contribution involves encouraging a collaborative approach with existing community entities that is essential to realizing the long-term health outcomes of a community while recognizing the importance of communities and celebrating the diversity that makes a community vital.
Below is an excerpt from Dr. Bailey’s nomination:
Since 2003, Dr. Bailey has vaccinated more than 2,600 dogs and cats for rabies, a viral disease that is spread through the bite and sometimes scratches of infected animals. Rabies is deadly for both animals and humans. Although most pet owners get their pets vaccinated against rabies, some may not have the resources to pay for such vaccinations, especially in more rural parts of the state such as McIntosh County. That’s where Dr. Bailey holds her rabies vaccination clinics and provides – free of charge –rabies vaccinations for pets during Saturday clinics. She also amputates suspected rabid animals so that they can be processed to determine whether or not they have rabies. Testing suspected rabid animals helps us to alert and caution the public if there is an issue with rabies. Dr. Bailey also performs this service for the McIntosh County Health Department at no charge.
While Dr. Bailey does not charge for rabies vaccinations during the public clinics, she does take donations from those who can afford to pitch in. Over the years, she has collected $13,000 and donated it to local animal rescue programs such as the Humane Animal Resource Team of McIntosh County and McIntosh County Animal Control.
“Dr. Bailey has consistently been an invaluable asset to McIntosh County Animal Control and Animal Services,” said Marianna Hagan, Director of McIntosh County Animal Services. “She is a true humanitarian and animal lover. She has made a huge impact on McIntosh County’s human and animal population. McIntosh County is a better community because of her generous and selfless work.”
Every animal that is vaccinated against rabies is one less animal that is a threat to spread the deadly disease to residents in McIntosh County. Dr. Bailey never asks for recognition; doesn’t want anything in return for giving up her Saturdays, her vaccine, needles and other supplies; and would likely protest if she knew that this nomination was being submitted. But the truth is that even though “technically” Dr. Bailey is not a part of our public health family, she is very much a part of what we do and what we stand for when it comes to preventing illness and disease. Her efforts have had a tremendous impact on our community. Everybody knows “Doc Bailey” and appreciates not only the compassion she has for our animals but the dedication she shows to the improving the health of our small coastal community.