Spay Station stops by Arlington to care for cats, dogs
August 27, 2008 · Updated 5:01 PM
ARLINGTON The Arlington Safeway served as the pick-up and drop-off location for Pasados Safe Haven Spay Station mobile spaying and neutering clinic Jan. 31, but area residents will have another chance to bring in cats and dogs for spaying and neutering, at the same location, before the end of February.
Jennifer Harris showed up early with her Golden Retriever, Conni, in tow, just as Sandi Alexander and Christina Ely had their respective mixed breed cats, Sadie and Fallceta, on hand in time for the Spay Stations coordinator to check them in by 6:45 a.m., but Spay Station veterinary assistant Elizabeth Vidrine urged those who wish to present any pets or strays to do so as early as possible.
Its a first-come, first-serve basis, said Vidrine, who noted that those with dogs must be arrive no later than 6 a.m., and those with cats must arrive no later than 6:30 a.m. Weve had some folks come out and start waiting as early as 4:30 a.m. We have limited space, especially for large dogs.
Spay Station licensed veterinary technician Julie Brown, who joined Vidrine in collecting the mobile clinics patients for the day at 8 a.m., estimated that their vehicles cages could take in as many as two dozen animals at the same time, but she warned that they only have space enough to accommodate four large dogs at once.
As the Spay Station requires, all the dogs delivered to the mobile clinic were on leashes, just as all the cats they received were placed in carriers, although cats are also accepted in boxes and pillowcases. Because of the relatively light load of animals, Vidrine told the attendees that they could expect their dogs and cats to be returned to them by noon.
All the animals turned over to the Spay Station Jan. 31 were pets, but the mobile clinic also spays and neuters stray dogs and feral cats, and can even perform surgeries on animals that are pregnant or in heat, as long as their coordinator is informed ahead of time.
After they loaded up their collection of cats and dogs, Vidrine and Brown began preparing for the arrival of the Spay Stations licensed veterinarian at 9 a.m., by examining the animals to ensure that theyre healthy enough to be spayed or neutered. The mobile clinic soon fills with the smell of microwaved rice bags, which are used to keep the cats and dogs warm, along with the two towels per animal that customers are required to provide.
The rice bags are like heating pads, except safer, Brown said. Unlike heating pads, theres no risk that theyll burn the animals, because after theyre microwaved, they gradually cool down.
Brown reflected that the Spay Station is similar to a big camper, that needs some time and energy to warn up in the winter and cool down in the summer, and eagerly awaits the anticipated spring debut of the new truck, which will replace the current mobile clinic. She and Vidrine likewise reflected upon the years in the veterinary field as a whole, and with Pasados Safe Haven in particular.
Vidrine began working with Pasados as a college intern, who took part in animal activism in school and wanted to learn the medical aspects of veterinary care, while Brown has been involved in the veterinary field since the 80s, but both were inspired by the Spay Stations mission to provide low-or no-cost spaying and neutering, in an effort to reach higher volumes of pets and strays, thereby reducing animal overpopulation.
Vidrine pointed out that those with proof of participation in public assistance programs receive free surgery from the Spay Station for the cats and dogs they bring in, before she touted the extremely reduced prices for their other customers, especially since discounted microchipping, vaccinations and other medications are available to all animals already undergoing spaying or neutering at the mobile clinic.
The Spay Station will return to the parking lot of the Arlington Safeway at 20500 Olympic Place, on the corner of 204th and Highway 9, Feb. 28.