3390 Golden Gate Blvd W, Naples, FL
GOLDEN GATE ESTATES — Some of the animals didn’t seem as grateful as they should have.
Sure, they were getting pricked by a needle, but it was for their own good. Most, though, didn’t seem to notice at all when the syringe went in.
Local pet owners who wanted to pinch pennies, but still make sure their furry friends were safe from disease, showed up by the hundreds at Max Hasse Community Park in Golden Gate Estates on Saturday for the Low-Cost Shot Clinic for Dogs and Cats.
It was held by Volunteer Services for Animals Inc. and more than 500 animals were vaccinated.
Lee Moss brought Roscoe, her Boston terrier, to the clinic.
“We waited two hours, but it was well worth it,” she said. “Are you kidding? To get the rabies and 3-in-1 shot for $10 apiece? Of course,” she added, “Roscoe still has to go the vet in April. This is not a replacement, it’s a savings.”
“With the cost of an office visit, getting these shots from a veterinarian’s office would cost over $100,” said Phyllis Estes, president of Volunteer Services for Animals. “Our local vets do great work – what we’re doing is helping people who have trouble with the costs.
“Every person here is a volunteer. We’re not building any buildings. Every dollar goes to the animals,” she said.
With about 30 volunteers on duty, the shot clinic ran as smoothly as any operation that involves bringing hundreds of dogs and cats together in one place could. One team registered the pets and owners, another collected fees, and still others helped fill out the medical forms and move the four-legged patients through the process.
Catherine Kidon functioned as a self-described “traffic cop,” delivering a steady stream of cats and dogs to the two examination tables.
“I keep both tables full at all times, but we don’t want any extra dogs,” she said. “Everyone has their own space.”
After 10 times putting on the clinic, she said, they have never had an incidence of dogs fighting.
Dr. Mike Gordon, a Bonita Springs veterinarian, dispensed good cheer along with the meds, despite an unrelenting stream of patients and at least one clawing from an irate cat.
“She gave me some warning, but I didn’t listen to it,” he shrugged.
Gordon’s wife, Melinda, and “dog wrangler” Marco Espinoza assisted, holding the animals in position and handing Gordon the proper medications.
It took three people filling syringes to keep Gordon supplied.
Lisa Hatch is a nurse for the NCH Heathcare System; Karen Bird and Maura Fortin work there as ultrasound technicians. Volunteering their time at the clinic Saturday, all three worked steadily to mix the solutions and draw the syringes for the rabies and distemper injections.
While waiting for their number to be called, pet owners sat outside on dozens of folding chairs, under a blue sky and the shade of the park’s cypress trees.
The day brought a wide variety of dogs and cats, volunteer April Houle said.
“We’ve had three Maine coon cats, and some huge monster cats. One of them, Alvin, must weigh 20 pounds. We had a beautiful, long-haired Rottweiler who was jut a little angel,” Houle said.
Another patient, Diesel, a German shepherd, had only three legs, but still plays soccer and swims, said Sally Marhard, who brought him to the clinic.
The shot clinic is only one facet of the work that Volunteer Services for Animals does, president Estey said.
Established in 1982, the group operates a cat rescue, finding new families for homeless felines, and runs a low-cost spay and neuter voucher program to help reduce the number of stray or unwanted animals.
Volunteer Services for Animals, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) organization, so all donations are tax-deductible. Its programs are funded through donations from pet lovers.
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To learn more, call (239) 261-4768, or go online to volunteerservicesforanimals.com