*Leech Lake Legacy is a 501(c)3 tax exempt non-profit organization

Envisioning a world where every reservation dog and cat is well cared for

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Clinic and the Disease

It has been a very busy six weeks since our inaugural spay/neuter clinic on the Leech Lake Reservation (the reason why it has taken me six weeks to write about it).

Animals waiting for surgery
It is old news by now, but it was a very successful clinic.  A total of 91 dogs and cats were altered.  We also provided vaccinations and microchips for the 75 animals that were not able to be spayed/neutered because of space.  There were 49 cats and dogs surrendered to us during the two days of the Clinic.  All of the animals were taken in by Animal Humane Society (AHS) and transported to the Cities by Clinic volunteers.

Philomena - surrendered at Clinic
When I walked outside the first day of the Clinic at 5:00 a.m. to start setting up, there were already people waiting in line to have their pets altered and vaccinated.  It reminded me again how great the need is for vet care for the animals on the Reservation.

Lisa getting some exercise
Dr. Meghann Kruck and the staff of Kindest Cut along with Dr. Melanie Sharpe provided the vet services at the Clinic.  It was our first time working with these vets and their staff, and I think I speak for everyone involved that we very much look forward to our next time working together.

Heading in to Surgery
We also had more than 20 volunteers from the Cities who made the trek to Leech Lake, along with volunteers from Bemidji, Grand Rapids, the Reservation and even International Falls.

Teresa, Kathie, Heidi, Jenny
We made a lot of very positive contacts with the residents of Leech Lake – people who I imagine will continue to be involved in future clinics.  We also met a lot of amazing animals – animals who have been through a lot in their lives and yet still are happy and always ready with a lick and a wag.  The power of their spirits never ceases to amaze me.  Us humans could certainly learn something from them.

Panubis - surrendered at Clinic
Porter - surrendered at Clinic
Eleven semi-feral cats were surrendered by a woman who lives on the Reservation.  She had been feeding the cats and had named them all and they were obviously very important to her.  I could see the sadness in her eyes as she brought them in, one at a time, told them good-bye and handed them over to a volunteer.

After arriving at AHS, the cats were tested for Feline Leukemia.  Five of the cats tested positive.  Not having much previous experience with cats, I immediately reached out to my “cat people” to try and find a place for these cats to go.  I heard “no” again and again.  No one was able to take cats who were positive for FL.  During this time, I learned a lot about the disease.  I also discovered that there are rescues who will take them, but often, these rescues are full.  After days and days of trying to find a place for the cats, I made the difficult decision to have them euthanized.

We see so much disease in the animals on the Reservation - diseases that we can prevent.

Priscilla - surrendered at Clinic
It is one of the things that motivates me to work toward the day when every animal on the Rez is vaccinated and we no longer see so many animals infected with disease.

'Tis the Season for Picking Ticks
It is why we are working on a plan for monthly vaccination clinics on the Leech Lake Reservation.

It is why we are already working hard and fast on fund-raising for our second clinic – scheduled for the last weekend in June.

RIP Paxton, Peggy, Percy, Perry and Prince.  Know that your deaths have not been in vain.

Click here to watch a video of photos from the spay/neuter clinic.