A year ago, veterinarian Matthew Wheaton had to put down a black lab puppy that he would have otherwise operated on, because the owners couldn’t afford to pay the cost of the required surgery to save their pet. Since the heart-wrenching experience, he has made it his mission to ensure he will never face such a predicament again.
A lifelong Lagunan and veterinarian of 12 years who has managed his own practice since July 2000, Wheaton recently founded the Orange County Pet Rescue Center, a nonprofit organization that will help local pet rescue groups save adoptable cats and dogs from euthanasia in high-kill shelters by providing veterinary care while looking for loving families to adopt them.
“I want to make the rescue effort more efficient,” he said. “What our facility will provide is very unique.”
The idea occurred to Wheaton when his veterinary practice at the Alicia Pet Clinic outgrew the 2,000-square-foot space and was forced to upgrade to a much larger, 6,000 square foot space in Mission Viejo.