Vet gives Park Ridge family gift of life with dog’s surgery
Veterinarian Dr. Piotr Warcholek holds his dog, Kryspin, at Touhy Animal Hospital in Park Ridge on July 9. | Jennifer Johnson~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Dr. Piotr Warcholek.
BEST KNOWN AS: Park Ridge Animal Hospital veterinarian.
Updated: August 13, 2012 1:20PM
[Correction: The name of the animal hospital where Piotr Warcholek practices veterinary medicine was incorrectly listed when this story first appeared online. The correct name is Touhy Animal Hospital, 2311 W. Touhy Ave., Park Ridge.]
PARK RIDGE — The three cars that struck Goldy, a 1-year-old Goldendoodle with a sense of adventure, left the Higginson family’s pet with serious injuries requiring surgery.
The problem was the cost.
At $3,000, it wasn’t something the Park Ridge family could easily afford. Feeling compassion for Goldy’s owners, veterinarian Piotr Warcholek decided to see what he could do.
“Sometimes in this situation I just think that maybe someone will help me,” the doctor, based at Touhy Animal Hospital, said. “I did make a few phone calls to find the money. I was more than happy to offer them this help.”
Warcholek, a veterinarian for more than 30 years, managed to secure the $3,000 required for Goldy’s surgery, which took place at Veterinary Specialty Center in Buffalo Grove. Less than two months later Goldy is healing and doing well, his owner, Sophia Zaffer Higginson, reported.
“He has been weaned back to doing his daily activities slowly,” she said. “He seems to be doing really well. The prognosis seems excellent.”
Goldy was injured May 24 after escaping his yard near the busy intersection of Touhy and Dee, not far from Touhy Animal Hospital.
Higginson remains in awe of Warcholek’s efforts to cover the cost of Goldy’s surgery and recovery.
“He saved our dog’s life,” Higginson said. “There’s no way I can thank him besides telling everyone how awesome he is and what a kind man he is.”
For Warcholek, helping a pet is helping an entire family.
“The relationship between pet and owner is so strong, especially these days,” the soft-spoken doctor shared. “Thirty years ago it wasn’t like that at all.”
Warcholek, who shares his office with his own dog, a Maltese poodle named Kryspin, proudly showed thank-you cards he received from Higginson’s children, Meghan, 10, and Eddie, 13, as well as classmates of Meghan’s at Washington Elementary School in Park Ridge. The cards, both typed and handwritten, thank the doctor for helping Goldy after his accident, some sharing personal stories of their own pets being cared for by Warcholek and his staff at Touhy Animal Hospital, 2311 W. Touhy Ave.
“It was a very touching moment,” Warcholek said of receiving the cards.
In addition to treating cats and dogs Warcholek also sees his share of guinea pigs, hamsters and ferrets. A native of Krakow, Poland, he worked with horses and other farm animals during his early years as a veterinarian.
At Touhy Animal Hospital, Warcholek and his staff offer preventive care, full examinations, vaccinations, lab work, dental care, spaying and neutering, microchipping, common surgeries like foreign-object removal, eye care, laser therapy and a number of other services.
Helping out a patient’s financially strapped owners isn’t something Warcholek can do frequently, he acknowledges, though he dreams of establishing a fund that would be available to those who need it in the future.
“We’ve lost trust in other people, but once in a while something happens,” he said of his ability to secure financial help for Goldy’s care. “It’s most important for the kids to believe that something can happen, even the unexpected.”