Pet visits to cancer children abruptly cut by shutdown

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It wasn’t enough when the National Institutes of Health suspended started turning away cancer patients because Democrats refuse to work out a way to keep vital things going amid the government shutdown.

(Help kids with cancer? “Why would we want to do that?” Harry Reid asks.)

nihpets1008Now, the NIH has suspended a volunteer-run dog therapy program that uses pet visits to comfort dying children – because Democrats refuse to work out a way to keep vital things going amid the government shutdown.

According to the CNS News Service, the NIH’s explanation is that even though the program is run by volunteers, the dogs have to be evaluated by a veterinarian before they can make the hospital visit.

And since NIH veterinarians are federal employees affected by the shutdown, no veterinarians means no evaluations, and no evaluations means no friendly visits from a loving animal that might ease the day of some kid with cancer.

That’s the story, but is it true?

Could it be that a dog therapy program run by volunteers doesn’t have enough contacts among veterinarians to find volunteers to give the dogs a clean bill of health?

The unions that control the federal workforce – Democrats to a man, no doubt, and lefty ones at that – would frown on volunteer labor by NIH vets replacing paid labor by the same vets. And that’s their privilege.

But it’s simply not possible that there are not enough retired vets, part-time vets and new-graduate vets in a country of 300 million who would be willing to make sure those dogs can pass whatever minimal health standards there are. And the volunteers who run the dog therapy program almost certainly know who they are.

This administration has a documented record of trying to use government money woes to inflict as much pain as possible on the American public to put pressure on Republicans. (Remember the air traffic controllers in the early days of the sequester? Or the Washington Times story headlined “Email tells feds to make sequester as painful as promised”?)

Fair enough. Politics isn’t a game of bean bag.

But cancelling dog visits to kids with cancer?

And this is just how they’re running the National Institutes of Health.

Imagine how they’ll run things when the nation’s health is really in their hands.

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