Turtles All the Way Down: Including Bike Repair & Leader Dogs for the Blind
How do you give back to others if you are retired, but still want to use the skills you’ve acquired throughout your adult life? If you are Dr. Pierre DePorre, DVM, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, you choose to do as much as humanly possible with numerous acts of kindness as a volunteer, including saving sea turtles in Mazunte, Mexico, repairing and building bicycles for kids and adults in Detroit, and assisting friends at Leader Dogs for the Blind with surgery and puppy adoption.
I was blown away when I talked to Pierre earlier this week and learned all that he is doing in his community to give back. His so-called Third Act is using the skills he has mastered as a veterinarian for over 30 years at Deporre Veterinary Hospital. Pierre retired from that family business in 2019 and as you will read has no plans to take it easy.
When he told me of his turtle saving venture down in Mazunte, Mexico, I immediately thought of this great Sturgill Simpson song, Turtles All the Way Down, as my header for his story. I know it is a little off-topic but I figured this might be my only opportunity to find a connection to this unusual country song I think is really cool. Pierre and a group of veterinarians headed south to Mazunte as volunteers to perform neutering and spaying surgeries on feral dogs roaming the coastal Mexican area and preying on newly hatched sea turtles. Pierre told me his trip in January 2020 was successful, but COVID-related issues have postponed a planned visit for this November.
Pierre typically leads a team from DePorre Veterinary Hospital, including students from Michigan State University, down to Oaxaca, Mexico, to perform surgeries in many small villages in the area. They have been participating in the project since 2006, largely driven by Pierre’s passion for this mission. The project has contributed to the preservation of sea turtles, has improved the overall health of the pet population, and has increased awareness of the ecosystem in the communities where he and the team serve.
Aside from treks to Mexico, Pierre keeps busy repairing and building bicycles as a volunteer for the nonprofit Holy Spokes in Lake Orion, Michigan. He splits time between their headquarters in Lake Orion and the Pope Francis Center in Detroit. Recently, he has moved his mobile repair shop of tools, racks and bicycle accessories, to Christ Church in Detroit for additional space. Pierre works with Holy Spokes in their Soul Trek Cycles - Outreach Program. The program partners with multiple organizations in Detroit to provide folks in need with bicycles and bicycle maintenance on a weekly basis. He also works closely with Free Bikes For Kids (FB4K) in Detroit. FB4K works with corporate sponsors like GM and Ford on team building activities and have done great work providing bikes to youth and adults. He recently refurbished 30 adult bikes for them at the Christ Church location. Pierre’s bike repair skills are not only put to good use in Detroit but you will also see him assisting Catholic Community Response Team in Pontiac.
Another favorite organization Pierre devotes time to is Leader Dogs for the Blind in Rochester Hills, Michigan. He, along with Dr. David Smith and Dr. Kelly Wilson perform surgeries on the dogs when needed. In addition, Pierre and his wife, Deb, go one step further by providing a home and raising leader dog puppies. He told me the puppy raising is fun and rewarding if you feel the urge to get involved. The organization has a great website that provides all the information needed to learn about training and ways to give.
They also have an informative newsletter that reviews
all of their programs and how they have been
dealing with the COVID pandemic.
I don’t know about you, but after seeing and reading about what Pierre is doing in retirement, I come away pumped up to do more to give back. Pierre is a great example of someone using his skills in a creative and worthy manner to help others.
You know I had to include the Sturgill Simpson video for
"Turtles All the Way Down"from his 2014 album
'Metamodern Sounds in Country Music'.
Let me know what you think?