A tail of two cities:Midwestern University teams with local animal advocates for mobile outreach
BULLHEAD CITY — In this season of light, Midwestern University veterinarians and technicians partnered with local animal organizations to bring the gift of no-cost care to local pets and their owners.
Over the weekend, We Care for Animals and Saving Animals In Need Together combined their efforts to assist MU College of Veterinary Medicine veterinarians and students in sterilizing, vaccinating, and micro-chipping 41 pets at no cost.
“WCFA and SAINT have the same goal, we want to humanely lower the population rather than unwanted litters ending up in the shelter,” said Rebecca Seefeld, WCFA president. “The benefit of this event is of course preventing unwanted litters, but the pets also receive core vaccines and microchips.”
Gail Moscato, SAINT president, said, “It’s a great partnership and this was just an incredible event. I was amazed at what the veterinarians and students did for free for pet owners here. Aside from the surgery, each pet got a health check and vaccines and after the surgery, the veterinarians and technicians came out and talked with the owners. I learned a lot and was totally impressed with the volunteers, the students and the veterinarians.”
The weekend’s event was offered to pet owners the organizations knew were in need of help with the cost of spay and neuter surgery, Moscato said.
“Through our low-cost spay and neuter voucher program, we have had contact with some pet owners who are unable to pay even their portion of the surgery,” Moscato said. “We looked for people in tremendous need of this service and offered them the opportunity. Most of them said yes.”
The mobile clinic provided spay and neutering surgeries for 23 dogs on Saturday and 18 cats on Sunday.
“People seemed aware of what a tremendous gift this was,” Moscato said, “They were very grateful.”
Seefeld said she contacted Midwestern University’s College of Veterinary Medicine about six months ago to host a local no-cost spay and neuter clinic.
“I had seen on the university’s social media page that they offer mobile units for underserved areas such as ours,” Seefeld said. “With limited resources in this area, I knew I had to reach out, spaying and neutering is extremely important to benefit and improve the life of the animals in our community.”
In 2012, the Glendale campus of the Chicago-area university, backed by Phoenix-based PetSmart Charities, developed a state of the art mobile clinic as a platform to provide hands-on shelter medicine experience for Midwestern’s Veterinary students while bringing surgical services and basic medical care to animals in remote locations and shelters.
Dr. Nellie Goetz, Midwestern University assistant veterinarian professor who led the weekend’s event, was unavailable for comment. According to the WUCVM website, the mobile clinic offers veterinary students first-hand, experiential education that otherwise might only be reviewable in textbook examples.
“Midwestern University has offered their no-cost services to our community on their scheduled rotation,” Seefeld said. “The mobile unit is also used as a traveling center for Trap-Neuter-Release events to spay and neuter stray cats.”
WCFA, along with Midwestern, are planning a TNR event in the spring, with another clinic for owned pets to follow, Seefeld added.
The weekend’s event also received support from the City of Bullhead City, which supplied space for the clinic, the Aquarius Hotel & Casino, which provided accommodations for the veterinary staff and from Safeway, Domino’s Pizza and Walmart, who supplied food and beverages.
“I am excited to build this partnership that benefits our community, as well as the students at Midwestern University,” Seefeld said. “It’s an important relationship and needs the support of our community.”