WILKES-BARRE — Dr. Inayatullah Kathio’s mission to give back started when he was a child.
Kathio recalled receiving a smallpox vaccination from the American Red Cross as a child that saved his life. He also remembered the massive libraries provided by the Pakistan American Cultural Center in his native land.
Kathio, of Yatesville and operates veterinary clinics in Wilkes-Barre and Pittston. That mission and generosity recently saved the lives of two animals.
Jax, a Dachshund, was struck by a car and had to live with his injuries for three weeks. Those injuries included broken and displaced bones, a ruptured knee joint and severe pain.
Kari Coble is the founder of One Dog at a Time, a volunteer humane rescue group based in Lewistown. She said Jax was surrendered to the organization, which then turned to Kathio for assistance with Jax’s injuries. Those injuries plagued the dog for some time, and Jax had to be transported from more than 100 miles away to the Wyoming Valley for help.
“The poor dog was living with that broken leg for at least three weeks,” Kathio said.
Jax needed surgery, an operation that cost over $7,000 — Kathio did the operation free of charge. Had Jax not received the surgery, Kathio said the dog would have easily lost his leg.
Jax wasn’t the only animal to be touched by Kathio’s generosity.
A stray male cat named Lucky was hit by a car in Hazleton on Aug. 24. Kathio said he was contacted by the Hazleton Police Department and asked to become involved. Kathio said a woman from Hazleton brought Lucky to his hospital, where he determined Lucky’s right eye was out of its socket, his nose was fractured, his tongue was badly cut and most of his jaw was dislocated.
The cat was brought to Kathio’s office at about midnight that night, and Kathio spent most of the night performing the procedures to treat Lucky’s injuries. According to Kathio, a previous injury probably contributed to Lucky being hit again.
“This poor cat had a three-month old fracture,” he said. “He could not cross the road, so he got hit.”
Kathio said he did the operation free of charge under the understanding that the woman would adopt the cat afterwards. He has not yet heard from the woman, but Kathio said Lucky got his life back by arriving when he did.
“The cat would have certainly died within hours,” Kathio said.
Since their respective operations, Jax and Lucky are on the mend. Coble said Jax will have some pins taken out of his leg soon, and will then be placed with an adoptive family.
“His owners are very anxious,” Coble said, adding that Jax will have a limp and require some special attention. “They love him already.”
Kathio said he would find Lucky a good home once he heals from his traumatic injury. Coble commended Kathio for his efforts, and called him “an absolute wonderful resource for rescues.”
If he could, Kathio said he would do every procedure free of charge to help his community and the country.
“It is very satisfying,” he said. “You feel you are here to make good changes in the world.”
In addition to his work as a veterinarian, Kathio serves as an honorary consular for Pakistan, the duties for which include working with local leaders to keep promote diplomatic relations between countries, as well as assisting Pakistanis visiting from abroad.
For Kathio, the life-saving smallpox vaccination and the libraries provided by PACC taught him an important lesson — to give back to the country that gave him so much.
“America gave so many things to the world that is not highlighted,” Kathio said. “This is a part of me that I learned from America — how to give.”