Routt County Humane Society adds community wellness clinic
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — The Routt County Humane Society is expanding its role in the community with a wellness clinic offering basic veterinary care for pet owners with financial need.
“This is something that’s been in the works since 2018,” said Executive Director Elain Hicks. “The Humane Society undertook a community-wide study to find out what the gaps in services were, and affordable veterinary care was pretty high on that list.”
Over the last two years, the humane society has worked to make space in its administrative offices for a surgical suite. In June, they hired their own veterinarian.
The clinic, located at 2645 Jacob Circle, will provide treatment of minor illnesses and injuries, dental procedures, spays and neuters as well as vaccinations.
“With evictions and people losing their jobs and the uncertainty of COVID-19, we want to create a safety net so people didn’t have to lose their pets in addition to everything else,” Hicks said.
In a collaboration with the Animal Assistance Foundation and the Colorado Pet Overpopulation Fund, the Routt County Humane Society has held subsidized spay/neuter clinics and will continue to do so. Additionally, the humane society will host low cost vaccination clinics from noon to 2 p.m. on the second Saturday of every month at the animal shelter at Critter Court.
To set up an appointment, contact the wellness clinic at 970-233-8740. Most services won’t require proof of income, but the subsidized spay/neuter clinics will require a verification of annual income under $40,000. Grant-funded services also require verification.
The next clinic will be Sept. 18. Appointments can be scheduled online at routthumane.org/resources/wellness-clinic.
“The folks that we are targeting for basic preventative and wellness care, these are people who don’t go to the vets regularly anyway,” Hicks said. “This provides an opportunity to keep the community healthy with the diseases that can spread through dog parks, parvo, kennel cough, that kind of stuff.”
Previously, the Routt County Humane Society used a contracted veterinarian, which provided limited services during limited hours. Having an in-house veterinarian opens so many doors for the nonprofit.
The wellness clinic will allow the humane society to vaccinate, fix or perform minor surgeries on shelter animals, drastically improving their health, well-being and adoptability. Waiting around for a procedure that could only be done on specific days increased how long the animal was at the shelter and how much energy, effort and money went into that animal.
“Last year, the average length of stay for a dog was 40-something days and cats were longer, 60 to 75 days,” Hicks said. “Now, we’re down to a length of stay of six days, which saves costs both operationally, and it keeps the animal healthier while they’re in the shelter. And they get out of the shelter much quicker.”
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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Large developments can take years to put together and sometimes figuring out publicly-funded infrastructure like roads and sewer lines can lead to everything falling apart — especially in a small town like Hayden.