Rescue is hard, period. There are days when you feel like your little efforts to save one life at a time are adding up to something bigger. Then there are days when you feel like the stream of dogs needing help will always be endless because people just aren’t “getting it.”
We’re fortunate to be based out of Boulder, Colorado, where most people “get it.” We have one of the best shelters in the country, our population adopts more than they shop, and people parading their unaltered dogs around town quickly find that someone is interested in educating them around every corner. Life is good for most pets here, but leaving town can plunge a person “in the know” about dog rescue issues into a pit of despair.
I recently adopted a puppy who came into our rescue with parvo. She was adopted out and returned, so I figured it was meant to be. Two days ago I took her to the Longmont Humane Society Well Pet Clinic for her second set of shots. My vet would have charged me $65+ for Hillary’s shots. Longmont Humane charged me $25, and I got great service. The vet techs were very kind to Hillary, and we didn’t have to wait too long to be seen.
However, visiting the clinic was a painful experience for both human and animal. Hillary yelped a little from the prick of the needle. I wanted to yelp a lot when I realized that every dog who entered was unaltered… and was not there for a spay/neuter appointment. I felt deflated. At a clinic where a spay only cost $90 and a neuter $80 (very cheap for Colorado, and cats were even less expensive), there were still people going in and out who didn’t get the message, and the front desk staff was doing nothing to educate them.
Now, I understand the staff tiring of having the same argument over and over, and I understand them not wanting to turn people off because, of course, it’s a good thing that people are at least bringing their dogs in for shots and veterinary care. But why isn’t every person sent out of that clinic (or any clinic) with some kind of humane education pamphlet?
I’ve spent the past two days lamenting the ineffectiveness of our work because the visit made me realize how few people are getting the message about pet euthanization. But, as I always do, I’ve found a path out of my despair and a way to again stand up for our pets. Today I’m calling the clinic and offering to have our educational hand-outs printed up for them for free if they promise to encourage their front desk staff to include the appropriate ones in the paperwork of each person who leaves. This way, at least, I’m doing my part.
Is there a low-cost spay/neuter clinic in your area? Would your regular vet be receptive to providing this essential information to those who need a nudge? Please check out the handouts, print out a few, and take them to your vet to see if they would be willing to participate. If you can’t afford to have them printed, please contact us. We’d be happy to help.