High-Road-Artist Blog

The Miracle of Kathleen Ramsay, Part 2

Written on 11/27/2018
Jeane George Weigel

When asked what she thinks her biggest contribution is to her community, Kathleen Ramsay says that it is her Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Española, New Mexico. It’s a fairly rural area, and quite poor. She says, “Probably 60% of people living there make $10,000 per year." And she has personally seen to it that her community can afford the very best medical care for their animals no matter their status and means.

When asked what she thinks her biggest contribution is to her community, Kathleen Ramsay says, without hesitation, that it is her Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic in Española, New Mexico. It’s a fairly rural area, and quite poor. She says, “Probably 60% of people living there make $10,000 per year. What am I supposed to say—give me 6 months of your family’s food budget or I kill your pet?” Accordingly, she has priced her services well below other vets in the surrounding area.

And she has personally seen to it that her community, her clients, can afford the very best medical care for their animals no matter their status and means. If they can only afford $10 per month on their bill, so be it. She carries a considerable debt in order to accomplish this. When asked why she does it she says, “Because it’s whom I am. I have a big heart.” Let me just say I consider that to be a hefty understatement.

It is through the clinic that she mentors interns and volunteers, offering opportunities to local kids they simply wouldn’t get if not for her. It’s quite stunning to think of how many of them may be out there sewing their own versions of Ramsay’s training, across the state and beyond, and likely mentoring their own local kids.

National Geographic said it this way; “They repay her by taking a deeper understanding of American wildlife and respect for ecosystems back to their own neck of the woods.”

For her efforts, she was recognized by the city of Española with an appreciation award for both her Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic and her work with wildlife.

She was appointed by Governor Bill Richardson to the Board of Veterinary Medicine where she served almost 12 years. In that time, she helped codify many regulations for veterinarians around the state. She has also helped Game and Fish codify regulations on Wildlife Rehabilitators across New Mexico.

On July 15, 2012, she co-founded Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation (LEWF). Through this non-profit Ramsay offers her extensive knowledge of wildlife management, as well as hands-on help wherever needed, to other wildlife rescue programs across the state.

While this support focuses on rehabilitation and the construction of rehabilitation facilities[i], it also gives her the opportunity to award financial grants to her own and other wildlife operations for any needs[ii]. She will give whatever help is necessary, that is within her power to give[iii].

LEWF focuses as well on education and outreach[iv]. They are, “… open and willing to provide assistance and wildlife education throughout the state of New Mexico.”[v]

In 2016 she was one of five New Mexicans who received the Governor’s True Hero Award. She was recognized for her work to help low-income families care for their pets, and her training and mentoring of others, teaching them to care for New Mexico’s animals and wildlife.

It is still sometimes difficult for Kathleen to maneuver through all of the rules and protections set out by the different agencies. She must deal with all the counties, the state, the federal government, and Game and Fish, not to mention the several distinct Indian Nations we have here in New Mexico. It’s not easy to stay on the right side of things when there is an animal suffering, which Ramsay cannot tolerate. She will do what it takes, even if her license to practice is threatened.

To say that Dr. Kathleen Ramsay is a visionary is not enough. Simply put, she is irreplaceable. But she’s worked hard over the course of her career to be sure there will be many hands to take over for her when she retires.

But I was there when she handed over a Great Horned Owl to the man who’d saved it, rehabilitated and ready to be set free into its forest where it had been found…

I was present for the turning loose of three fat and healthy bears (I overheard one of the game and fish guys say with no small amount of satisfaction that Ramsay always releases fat bears)…

… and I was in attendance at the freeing of a screech-owl in my own small village that sits high up in the mountains of northern New Mexico.

And, personally, I can’t imagine any of us doing without her. Ever.

I’ve referred to her as a force of nature and I don’t think that’s far off. She certainly is enough to make me consider that the troubles of the world, as horrific as they can be, are being steadily chipped away at by people like Kathleen Ramsay. And maybe that’s almost enough.

Love to you all,

Jeane

[i] Assisted Santa Fe Raptor Center with the construction of two new flight cages,

Cottonwood Rehab (not to be confused with Cottonwood Veterinary Clinic)$6,000 for construction of new flight cage, New Mexico Wildlife Rescue Inc.-$5,160 toward the construction of a new cage, Santa Fe Raptor Center-$500 toward a new flight cage at Cottonwood Rehab.

[ii] Santa Fe Raptor Center-$5,400 toward the feeding and care of their patients, Hawks Aloft$4,000 toward the feeding and care of the patients, Best Rehab$500 in food for bobcats, Hawks Aloft-$500 in food for various raptors, Desert Willow Wildlife Rehabilitation Center– $400 in food for foxes.

[iii] Provided both social media and other communications assistance to Best Rehab and Cottonwood Rehab,

[iv] Has provided educational sessions at Bosque del Apache, the Los Alamos YMCA iCare Program, and the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) in Los Alamos

Past Events

AUG24Bear Festival 2018 –

Fri 4 PM · by Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation

PEEC Nature Center

Los Alamos, NM

APR8Pain and Wound Management – Albuquerque, NM

Sun 8:30 AM · 52 guests

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Albuquerque, NM

APR6Basic Wildlife Rehabilitation – Albuquerque, NM

Apr 6 – Apr 7 · 78 guests

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center

Albuquerque, NM

JUN26Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation night at Gordon’s

Fri 5 PM · by Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation

Ashley Pond

Los Alamos, NM

MAY26LEWF at LANC

Tue 7 PM · by Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation

Pajarito Environmental Education Center

Los Alamos, NM

APR25PEEC Earth Day Festival

Sat 10 AM · by Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation

Pajarito Environmental Education Center

Los Alamos, NM