***CAWL is heading back to Deer Trail for another spay/neuter/vaccination clinic on June 2nd, 2013! If you want to reserve a spot for spay or neuter (space is limited!) please email firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment ASAP.***
CAWL has a diverse group of volunteers, with many different interests and projects. This is one of the things I love most about our group- the ability to work together to see a bigger picture that includes ALL of our projects. I recently had a chance to go on my first spay and neuter trip with CAWL President Lisa Petri and her awesome team to a small town in eastern Colorado that is seriously lacking in low-cost vet care options. This is something she’s been doing for a long time, and I’m really glad I took her up on the invitation to tag along and see how it all works. I understand now, why she is so passionate about this and why she’s so invested in this cause.
Until a few months ago when I first took this phone call to help Deer Trail out, I didn’t really realize how hard it was to find low cost spay and neuter in the more rural areas. People who had brought several pets in for surgery told me that if it wasn’t for this clinic, they would never have been able to afford to fix ANY of their pets; and in one day, they were able to have ALL of theirs fixed and vaccinated as well!
Not only is cost a problem, places like this (not too far outside of the metro area) become sort of a dumping ground for people who don’t want to deal with their pets anymore. We met a couple that has been doing rescue out in that area for a long time to the best of their ability, taking in dogs and fixing them as they can afford, and rehoming them to good homes. Wonderful, kind people who would be able to do so much more if they had the support of low cost veterinary clinics. Needless to say, the need for help in this area is great, and I’m very thankful that we were able to get out and do some work there when we did.
One thing that really stuck out to me during this trip was that there’s a stigma that follows low-cost anything, really. An assumption that people only want to do something if it’s free or cheap. That people don’t care enough for their pets to take care of them and get them fixed, unless you’re just going to give it to them. THIS IS NOT TRUE! We met some of the most amazing clients in our time there- families who love their dogs dearly, just like I do, and only want the best for them. Some came back to the clinic much earlier than they were supposed to, because they were anxious to check in on their loved ones and make sure everything had gone well. We met a woman who has been trapping and rehabilitating feral cats, who brought in several to be fixed and vaccinated so they could have a better shot at a healthy life. She’s been paying out of pocket for years, on her own, to take care of these animals. We spent time with a lot of different people during that weekend and it was a wonderful experience for me to be able to talk to them and hear their stories.
Let me just say- to the two vets, the techs and the volunteers that do this regularly, I have so much respect for you! These women are so hardworking and seriously didn’t get any sort of real break for the two days that they were doing this clinic. There were so many unexpected things that come with a trip like this- animals with strange cysts and tumors, animals with some wild behavioral stuff (like the feral cat that managed to escape and had to be chased down… see the picture below!)- let’s just say it’s really hard to prepare for that kind of thing since you really have no clue what you’re in for until you’re standing right there. I’m so impressed with the caliber of work they all did. Very proud to work with you all!
When all was said and done, we were able to spay and neuter almost 100 animals with two vets doing surgery and the rest of us helping prep, clean, recover, and help out with the animals and supplies. Not bad for a group of hooligans like us. And I only broke one thing- very impressive for me, let’s be honest.
If you’re interested in supporting our spay and neuter project, please donate through our website. If you’d like information on volunteering, feel free to email us at email@example.com- we’re always looking for people interested in helping out, with a variety of skill levels! We’d love to have you along for the ride.