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Canyon Country veterinarian was friend to pets

Juan Bonavera was a hero to animals and people who love their pets

Posted: November 15, 2008 9:27 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2008 4:55 a.m.

Kelly Hopper, left, holds Shaggy, Juan Bonavera, DVM, holds Peggy and Suzy Ojeda holds Reba. Hopper and Ojeda of SAFE Animal Rescue presented Bonavera of Canyon Country Animal Hospital with a plaque of appreciation in October for his work with rescued and injured or ill animals.

Juan Bonavera, DVM, of Canyon Country Animal Hospital, died unexpectedly at his home last weekend. He was a veterinarian who cared deeply for his patients and was a hero to many in the Santa Clarita Valley.

"He was very dedicated and performed surgeries that no other veterinarian around the area would do and with miraculous results," said Suzy Ojeda, of Save Animals From Euthenesia Animal Rescue. "He treated almost any health issue we threw at him from severely broken legs to eye removals to mange."

SAFE presented Bonavera with a plaque of appreciation in October for his work with animals rescued by SAFE.

"We are a non-profit organization dedicated to rescuing animals most other people would consider ‘not adoptable' - animals with special medical needs," she said. "We are 100 percent donation funded."

Ojeda, of Canyon Country said Bonavera often performed vet services at a discounted rate for the animal rescue group.

"He was instrumental in finding these dogs homes that most people would overlook and without his help we wouldn't have been able to find them homes," Ojeda said.

SAFE was founded in 2007 by Kelli Hopper, of Thousand Oaks, Ojeda's sister.

"It's basically just us and a handful of dedicated volunteers and foster homes," Ojeda said. "Our rescues live in our homes with us until they are healthy enough to adopt out. They are treated like members of our family."

Every Saturday SAFE pets are up for adoption at the Petco store in Thousand Oaks. The animal rescue group has adopted out nearly 50 dogs in the past year.

Ojeda said with Bonavera's help many animals were returned to health and that allowed the animals to be placed in loving homes.

"We presented him with a ‘thank you plaque' because we felt it was very important to recognize his dedication and commitment to animal rescue and the community at large," she said. "We sincerely appreciated his efforts."

In addition to his medical services SAFE also found homes for their animals through his Canyon Country vet practice.

"Two of our dogs were adopted out from his office - while in the waiting room," Ojeda said.

Ojeda said Bonavera had seen nearly 20 animals with special problems from SAFE in the last year.

Services for Bonavera are pending.

For information on SAFE Animal Rescue visit


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