A veterinary clinic just for shelters and rescue groups? It sounds crazy, but Dr. Erin Shults and her team at Mazie’s Mission think they can make it work. If so, the entire animal welfare community stands to benefit.
For most rescue groups, the cost of veterinary care is by far the largest item in their budget. Spay/neuter clinics are a low-cost alternative for pet owners, but they don’t accept un-owned animals. So foster home based groups rely on the generosity of local vets, many of whom provide special “rescue discounts” for spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, blood tests, heartworm treatment, and even urgent care for sick or injured animals. But a for-profit vet clinic can only discount a limited amount of their fees and still stay in business.
That’s a problem Dr. Shults thinks she can avoid with a non-profit veterinary clinic just for rescues and shelters. She’ll combine an economical store-front, minimal staff (supplemented by volunteers), grant money for equipment, and contributions from local pet lovers to help with overhead. Marketing won’t be an issue – news travels fast through the rescue community and news of a rescue-only clinic will spread quickly.
Stacy Smith, Vice President of Animal Advocacy for the Humane Society of Flower Mound supports the idea, “It’s a wonderful and interesting idea. Dr. Shults is a veterinarian whose dedication to rescue is truly admirable. While most of us have existing relationships with vets who are very supportive in our own communities, it would be great to have a clinic devoted to the unique and often immediate needs of rescued animals.”
Plans are to open the doors in the next 60-90 days while working on funding for a 100-acre facility that would include the clinic and sheltering facilities for homeless animals. It’s a unique concept and it just might work. If it does, DFW area rescue groups and shelters and the animals they serve will all benefit.
You can help: Mazie’s Mission needs equipment, money and volunteers to get started. Specifically they are looking for cages, anesthesia machines, microscopes, an x-ray machine, a surgery table, and a blood analysis machine, plus skilled volunteers to help in the hospital, and cash contributions to buy supplies. They’re also looking for a cheap (or free) space for the clinic, somewhere in the Plano/Frisco/McKinney area.
Photo: “Dr. Shults and Mazie”, courtesy Mazie’s Mission
Copyright Rebecca Poling 2011. All rights reserved.