As I sit down to write this blog post, I am very happy to be part of a team that loaded 35 cats and dogs onto the Spay4LA mobile clinic to be spayed and neutered this morning. My day did not start as planned as I overslept by an hour. I woke at 5:00 am thanks to Fender barking and wanting to go outside. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, rushing around and trying to do multiple things at once, I am at a place in my life where I can accept that this is what is happening now and all is well. I arrived at the clinic to see a line of cars parked down the street waiting for me to let them inside the gate. I have to admit, I felt a rush of anxiety seeing everyone waiting for me. I took a deep breath and remembered that all is well. Instead of feeling rushed and anxious, I was able to feel centered and greet the first pet owner waiting patiently to drive in with her cat (she listened to instructions and had him safe in a carrier). Then, it was on to the next car, truck, van, and so forth. The reality of the situation was that they were never waiting for “me”. The people in the line of cars were there because they could not afford to get their cats and dogs spayed or neutered.
As more families arrived and their pets checked in, it was clear to me that everyone was grateful for the free services DDR was providing. Some pet owners expressed how grateful they were for help from our counselors to obtain appointments. A few had no appointment but, amazingly, Spay4LA was able to accommodate all but one cat and one dog as there was no more space aboard the mobile clinic.
Most of the pet owners had been to DDR’s free drive-thru vaccination clinic last Sunday where we provided services to 138 pets. Today, some of those pet owners returned to get their pet sterilized. You might wonder, Why do they wait when there are so many free and low cost options to get pets spayed and neutered? While a percentage of our clients can go online using their phone or tablet to fill out applications, most do not own a computer or smart phone. The confusion of how to apply for a voucher, how to qualify, what a co-pay is, and not being able to prove they live in certain zip code, their ID was lost or stolen, their wages are paid in cash, or they do not have an income to document they are low income, are just some of the barriers to getting more pets spayed and neutered.
Today, we had a pet owner with two dogs who is part of the Project Room Key program. He and his dogs had to take two buses in the early morning hours to arrive at 6:00 am to get his male and female dogs sterilized. The […]