By RENEE FITE
Local pet enthusiasts and professionals donated time and talents Saturday to show “A Love for Pets.”
While the day began so chilly a camp fire was burning to keep everyone warm, by noon temperatures began to warm and the number visitors increased.
For donations or a low-cost, a pet could get nails trimmed or be spayed, neutered or vaccinated at the inaugural event held in the Briggs Community.
Organizer Annette Stinnett said she felt like there was a need for the spaying and neutering, getting shots and grooming.
“We thought having it here, there would be a good response, that people would be more apt to take advantage of these types of services if it was brought to them instead of them going to town,” said Stinnett.
She said the community has a pet overpopulation problem, and one way to curb it is to offer services to residents.
“[Pets] get abandoned and end up on your doorstep,” she said.
Stinnett would like to offer the event several times a year.
Dr. Kristie Plunkett brought her Mobile Veterinary Hospital of Tulsa in for the occasion. She opened the mobile truck in August and this is her second spay and neuter event, she said.
“We’re looking to help out in communities to lower the pet populations, so we’ve been contacting [branches of the] Humane Society, and they put us in touch with Annette,” Plunkett said.
On Saturday, they did about 10 spays and neuters, to mostly dogs and a few cats. The fee for cats was $40, and for dogs the cost was $50 to $70, based on the animal’s weight and size.
It was not her first trip to the Tahlequah area, though. Plunkett said she’s been here to float the river.
Seated near their sleeping dog, “Jessie,” in the mobile unit, Jeannie and daughter Holly Wallace watched for him to wake up from the anesthesia.
“We had a cat spade last week in Stilwell, and it was very expensive, about $95,” Jeannie said. “This was about half, $50, so we were excited to get this opportunity.”
The Wallaces are pet lovers.
“Jessie’s a sweet dog, just beginning to come into heat, so we wanted to take care of this now,” said Jeannie.
They also learned about a fatal disease – Leptospirosis – people who live in the rural areas can contract from wildlife urine.
“We vaccinate for it. If a dog walks through the urine and licks its paws, it can be fatal and for humans, too,” Plunkett said.
“We’re also finding pets here that aren’t on heart worm prevention medication. We prefer to put them on a monthly prevention regimen. Heart worms are treatable, but prevention is a lot more affordable.”
Dr. Amber Horn, DVM and owner of Lakeside Veterinary Clinic in Keys, volunteered with a low-cost vaccination clinic in the morning.
“We like to push rabies shots, getting all those dogs vaccinated that can be,” Horn said. “It’s contagious and can be deadly for people. It comes from skunks and bats, and we have a lot of those here.”
It’s the first year Horn has volunteered with this event.
“We do one at Tractor Supply in April or May,” she said.
Also from Keys was Brandi Walker, with All Paws Inn Pet Motel and Spa. She clipped a lot of nails and brushed canine teeth, with the assistance of Keisha O’Neal, then gave the toothbrushes to the pet owners.
“I want to give back; I’m an animal lover. And I wanted to get more involved with the Humane Society of Cherokee County,” Walker said. “We’re looking to organize one of these in Keys in the spring.”
Cherokee County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals member Gena Stretch brought five dogs, four of which were rescues from the shelter, to get nails trimmed. The dogs names are Bella, T-Bone, Ta-Shi, Pepsi and Pixel.
“I live in the Briggs community, so this is very convenient,” Stretch said. “I love animals, especially dogs.”
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