By Robin Russell
You’ve no doubt heard the term Solutions used at the Dumb Friends League. Rather than a place, the term refers to a “brand” applied to programs that work to prevent and alleviate suffering in pets whose caretakers would otherwise be unable to provide the care they need. The programs that fall under the Solutions name include the Solutions – Veterinary Hospital, Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic, Solutions – Mobile Units, and Solutions – Pet Resource Center. The VIP Winter 2018 issue included a comprehensive article on the Solutions – Veterinary Hospital that opened in October of that year. We’ll look at the great things they’ve done since then and learn more about the other programs.
Solutions – Veterinary Hospital is a full service low cost animal hospital located at 191 Yuma St. in Denver. In early 2019, the League began extensive renovations there including upgrading the dental suite, modernizing the treatment space and equipment and creating a more open floor plan to improve the workspace flow and efficiency. These renovations also provided a much more comfortable environment for staff and patients. In fiscal 2019, the team there performed 802 orthopedic, soft tissue and wound repair surgeries, 283 dental surgeries, 3,449 sick/injured examinations and provided 1,278 pets with vaccinations, grooming, spay/neuters or other resources. Note: some of these numbers include those from the Pet Resource Center.
Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic shares the same building space as the Veterinary Hospital. It offers spay/neuter surgeries and vaccines at no charge for owned, feral and community (i.e., unowned) cats. Actually, anyone can take a cat to the clinic. Among their community collaborations is working with Metro Denver Cats on a weekly basis spaying and neutering feral cats they trap and then release back to their colonies. They also help the Denver Animal Shelter “Pets for Life” team by spaying/neutering the cats in that program. Overall, in fiscal 2019, 11,691 cats were spayed or neutered at the Clinic.
Solutions – Mobile Units work in predetermined locations in underserved communities in Denver and Aurora. Pet owners can get free spay/neuter services for their cats or $50.00 services for their dogs (with income qualifications). Low cost vaccinations, subsidized by League donors, are also available. These services have been in place for many years and include the Lulu Mobile, which serves dogs and the Meow Mobile for cats. In fiscal year 2019, there were 3,491 Lulu Mobile surgeries and 1,691 on the Meow Mobile.
Solutions – Pet Resource Center was created in July of 2018 with a directive to fill the gaps in companion animal services in low income neighborhoods. “One of the most challenging aspects has been to decide which services to offer and how/where to offer them, said Kristine Clay, Solutions – Pet Resource Coordinator. “The first year of the Pet Resource Center was a nearly constant process of trial and adjustment. However, the experience and information gained was invaluable, and I think we now have a better sense of what is needed, where it’s needed and how best to offer it.”
“During the first year, we also met many owners who knew very little about pet care. It has been so rewarding to see these owners return to Pet Resource Center events for booster shots, spay/neuter surgeries, grooming classes and behavior consults. I love the opportunity to bring pet care education and resources to communities that are so open to the information.”
Since the start of the Pet Resource Center, 433 pets have been spayed or neutered through the program via referral to the Hospital and Clinic, 1499 pets overall, including 329 puppies and kittens have been vaccinated against serious, potentially fatal diseases and 73 pets have attended grooming classes with their owners. Kristine added, “In the second year of existence, the Pet Resource Center will bring its services to new communities in the Denver metro area in addition to continuing support for our current community partners. We look forward to helping more pets stay healthy, happy and in their homes!”
I’d like to add a personal note to this, having volunteered at several Pet Resource Center events this year. I found them to be some of my most rewarding DFL experiences. They gave me the opportunity to go places I’d not been and meet people I may not otherwise meet. These people were very grateful for what DFL offered them to help care for their beloved pets. It could be as simple as a collar or a behavior tip – things we may take for granted. Of course, meeting the pets was great too. I’ll never forget the Mendez “family” of seven dogs: mom, dad and their five grown offspring, most of which weren’t spayed or neutered. That was until they talked to Kristine, who scheduled them appointments at the Hospital. Best of all, they were back the next month for booster shots and to say hi!
Sources: Dumb Friends League “Closer View” newsletter: 2019 winter
Dumb Friends League 2019 Annual Report
Kristine Clay, Solutions – Pet Resource Center Coordinator wrote the Pet Resource Center section
Melissa Rice, Solutions – Public Spay/Neuter Manager
Sharon Thomas, Practice Manager – Solutions – Veterinary Hospital
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