By Katarina Wright
It is early morning as the Dumb Friends League Mobile Clinic team gathers at the Quebec Street Shelter before heading out to their location of the day. Each day, they park their mobile units, the Meow Mobile and the Lulu Mobile, at one of five different low-income areas around Denver. When they open the doors to the clinics at 7:30 a.m., there is already a line of people waiting with their cats and dogs. A long day awaits the team. They do not stop until owners return to pick up their discharged pets and they can return the units for cleaning at the Quebec Street Shelter.
The mobile units focus on helping pet owners keep their animals in their homes and aim to reduce pet overpopulation in the community. The teams here spay and neuter, provide vaccines, insert microchips and educate owners on dental care, food, skin conditions and more.
The Lulu Mobile cares for dogs. One veterinarian, one assistant and one veterinary technician work in the narrow space inside the van. The area is limited so dog size matters. If a dog is turned away due to space, the owner gets a priority pass and is guaranteed to get in the next day. The team has an efficient system in place and can conduct surgeries on up to 21 dogs per day. Compare this to a regular vet office that typically does 5-10 surgeries per day!
On the Meow Mobile, a similar team can take care of up to 40 cats in a single day. On this van, there is a little more room, as cat crates are smaller. The pace, however, is just as fast. The doctor stands between two opposite tables: while one cat is prepped on one table, the doctor is performing surgery on the other, then turns around to immediately work on the next prepped cat.
For cat owners, the mobile clinic offers fully subsidized spay/neuter surgeries and age-appropriate vaccinations. Qualifying dog owners pay only $50 for spay/neuter surgeries, including age-appropriate vaccinations. Between the two mobile clinics, the teams performed 8,297 surgeries in Fiscal Year 2017.
Local veterinarians help spread the word about the mobile clinics in their communities. Since these pet owners often cannot afford basic services at a regular veterinarian office, the veterinarians do not regard the mobile clinics as competition, but rather, as a resource to aid low-income families.
Once a month the mobile clinics are parked outside the Aurora Day Rescue Center. The service, which started in June 2017, is a collaboration with the City of Aurora to provide services to homeless pet owners.
The teams on the Lulu Mobile and the Meow Mobile rotate between units and also work at Solutions – Cat Spay/Neuter Clinic, a unique League-driven spay/neuter clinic in central Denver.
While we do have volunteers on both mobile units, there is a greater need for volunteers at Solutions. Thanks to all of the volunteers who help pet owners keep their beloved animals in their homes.
Have a story you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it, click here to share your story!