By Samar Fay
Courier Editor 

Pet Passion

Spay-Neuter Clinic Volunteers Care For Other Animals, Too


Samar Fay / The Courier

Cindy LaRoche comforts her terrier mix dog as it recovers from surgery at the spay-neuter clinic Tuesday.

Glasgow is hosting its third spay-neuter clinic for dogs and cats in the South Side fire hall. On Tuesday, the lawn was covered with Chinese Auction items under tents and groggy dogs under blankets. There were cats of all colors recovering on tables, being watched over by volunteers from various parts of the county and other states as well.

Patrick Johnson, a Florida teenager visiting family in Larslan, doesn’t even like cats, but after surgery they tuck into his arms and he strokes them while they wake up.

A couple of girls dropped by and stayed all day selling sheets of Chinese Auction tickets for $5.

People are marveling at the big raffle item, a concrete dog house made and donated by Valley County Commissioner Dave Reinhardt. It probably weighs more than one of his Percheron horses and might have to be moved by a crane, but once in place, it will keep a dog cool in the summer. And it is very safe in high winds.

The dog house idea might be the thing that keeps the spay-neuter clinic going after this year. The Montana Spay and Neuter Task Force, the organization that started the event here and in other places around the state, doesn’t fund the clinics past the first couple of years. They must become self-sustaining through donations and fundraisers.

The idea is to get a competition going among businesses or individuals making distinctive dog houses to raffle. In other places it has become a reliable source of funding for the program; maybe Glasgow can harness artistic originality in the cause of reducing the unwanted pet population.

Spaying a barn cat has a good chance of doubling its life span from the average 3.2 years to 6.4 years. Neutering a dog greatly reduces its propensity to roam, fight and get hit by cars.

Nancy Lattin of Lustre is repeating her role as head wrangler of this operation, having arranged the logistics, gathered donations for the surgery and the auction (contributing many of them herself) and enlisted volunteers. Dr. Jeff Young has returned from Denver to perform surgery, along with students from Yucatan, Czech Republic and Slovakia. They all camp out at Fort Peck and enjoy the lake after a day’s work.

In addition, there are two other vets, Dr. Al Dorsett of Kalispell and Dr. Craig Moore of Choteau, operating in the assembly-line fashion that these clinics have down to a science.

Dr. Young says offering low-cost or free clinics brings in people who couldn’t afford the neutering but will come in later for care for their pet. It’s good for the animal, it’s good for the community not to have feral strays and it’s good for quality of life of the human. He calls it “Spay it forward.”

The clinic saw about 90 animals on Tuesday and continues on Wednesday.


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