The Benefits of Companion Animals

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The author’s senior rescue dog. Photo by Karen Morrissette,

The Montanian


Not every pet is right for a particular person. For example, an elderly person prone to falling would not be a good match for a large breed, exuberant puppy. Some animals are better with children than others. Not all dogs don’t like cats and vice versa. Making the decision about what kind of pet to get is extremely important, but so is the decision to get a pet in the first place. Are you able to accept the responsibility, personally and financially, to care for an animal for the rest of its life? If you aren’t sure, it’s better to wait. Far too many animals are abandoned each year because someone changed their mind. If you are ready to add a pet to your family, please consider adopting one from a shelter or rescue. These animals have often had a hard life and are more than ready to experience a real home. It may take a bit longer for these animals to adjust, but be patient and you will usually find that they have love to spare.

Locally, Kootenai Pets for Life is a nonprofit, all volunteer, no-kill shelter in Libby. Their website is kootenaipetsforlife.com and the phone number is (406) 293-5735. The Tobacco Valley Animal Shelter is a nonprofit, no-kill shelter in Eureka. Their website is tobaccovaleyanimalshelter.com and the phone number is (406) 889-5457. If you happen to be looking specifically to provide a retirement home for an older dog that you can safeguard and love during its gold years, consider contacting Tails as Old as Time, a senior dog rescue in Lewistown. Tails as Old as Time works through a forever foster process in which animals are eligible for free veterinary care for the rest of their lives. Their website is tailsasoldastime.org and the phone number is (406) 366-3200. If you are looking to donate to a charity, all three of these organizations are in need of not only donations, but reliable volunteers.

Providing a forever home to an animal is not a choice to be made lightly, but shelter and rescue personnel can provide assistance in making the right decision, a decision which could be life-changing for both you and your new companion.

Rapid PCR Testing Now Available at the CARD Clinic

Submitted by CARD Clinic

Pam Martens, LPN and Clinical Supervisor poses with CARD’s new rapid PCR machine. The machine is not only capable of testing for COVID-19 but it includes rapid influenza and RSV (respiratory Synscytial Virus) testing as well. This will make it helpful for clinical diagnosis of CARD patients who are ill with acute respiratory symptoms as well.

Photo courtesy of CARD Clinic.


CARD has recently procured a Cepheid GeneXpert Xpress machine that is able to do rapid PCR COVID-19 testing.

What is PCR? Considered the gold standard, it stands for polymerase chain reaction and is able to detect genetic material in a sample specific to the virus, in this case COVID-19. Whereas many PCR tests are sent to outside labs and can take several days to return a result, rapid PCR tests can provide a result in around 35 minutes along with a printout of those results that is verifiable, with testing site information and patient demographics.

There are rapid antigen COVID-19 tests that use a different method where antibodies to the virus are used to detect specific viral proteins via color change. These are sometimes referred to as lateral flow tests, but they are not as sensitive as PCR.

If you have a negative lateral flow test, often a PCR is done at the same time to confirm those results. Certain situations require PCR testing. If you are traveling internationally, even across the border into Canada, a negative molecular COVID-19 test, of which PCR is the most common type, will often be required within a short window of the travel date. Rapid antigen, or lateral flow, tests do not meet those criteria. Some medical facilities, though not all, require PCR testing prior to surgical procedures.

If you find you need a PCR test for any reason within a short timeframe, CARD can now help. You will need to call the clinic at (406) 293-9274 to schedule your test Monday through Thursday. The cost is $150.

If the test is being done for diagnostic purposes, meaning you have symptoms, it may be covered by your insurance. Tests solely for travel purposes are not covered under insurance and cash payment is expected at the time of service. You do not have to be an established CARD patient to come in for a PCR test.