*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

Sunday, September 15, 2013

August 2013 Spay/Neuter and Vaccination Clinic and Education Session

LLL volunteers Jenna and Shaldon helping a pup to the recovery room
It's been a month now since Leech Lake Legacy (in partnership with the Leech Lake Tribal Police) hosted our 5th spay/neuter and vaccination clinic at Leech Lake. At this clinic we also offered a kids educational session.

I thought I would share with you emails sent by Jenny and myself (Marilou) to our volunteers after the clinic, and an email written by Sally Thorton, an Animal Humane Society employee who volunteered at our August clinic.. It will shed some insight on just how much these clinics mean to us ...

Email from Jenny to LLL volunteers on 8/13/2013:

Hi everyone - I finally fell into bed on Sunday night around 10:30, completely exhausted but oh so very thankful for another great clinic.  I spent Monday relaxing and reflecting on how far Leech Lake Legacy has come in just over two years.  When Marilou and I first began the endeavor of transporting dogs and cats from the Leech Lake Impound, I had no idea what I was doing.  I simply answered an email from my friend Karen Good, telling her that yes, I would be happy to help transport animals from the Leech Lake Reservation.  Little did I know what the next two years would bring - heartache and worry and stress but also so much love and happiness and sometimes, even pure joy.
Before I started helping in Leech Lake, I had worked clinics in Red Lake and had some experience with coordinating them.  Our first Leech Lake clinic in March 2012 was a success but also full of chaos and a lot of "oh crap, how did I possibly forget that!".  I hardly slept at all that first clinic but it was a great experience and we learned a lot.  A large part of our success since our very first clinic has been the support of our tremendous contingent of volunteers who give their heart and soul to the animals and residents of Leech Lake Reservation.  This clinic was no exception.
Resident talks to volunteer vet at the wellness clinic

When I heard the news on Saturday that we had reached 100 spays/neuters, I could hardly believe it.  I have attended all of our clinics and this was, by far, the smoothest-running one we have hosted.  And the biggest reason it ran the way it did was all of you.  You are an amazing group of people with a depth of loyalty and compassion that never ends.  Your hard work this weekend impacted the lives of many animals and many people.

So thank you all again for spending this past weekend volunteering in Leech Lake.  You should be proud of what we were able to accomplish:

- 100 spay/neuter surgeries (this is the most we have ever done at a clinic!)
- 8 specialty surgeries (hernia repair, mass removal, eye enucleations and laceration repair)
- 58 wellness checks and vaccinations
- 29 surrenders
- Educational event for kids - here's a link to a video showing an activity at the event: http://youtu.be/uSYgPl8N2Nw
Education team with Ahnung who worked with the kids to demo rallying

Here are links to Marilou's Flicker site with lots and lots of pictures:

Day 2 photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mchanrasmi/sets/72157635043629435/

And I wanted to send a special thanks to Caitlin Miller and her mom who provided us with the delicious lunch on Saturday.
And my (Marilou's) email to the volunteers:
I echo everything Jenny says and would like to also extend a heartfelt thank you to each and every one of you!!

I am sure we all carry in our hearts, a moment (or several moments) that touched us deeply, whether it was an interaction with a fellow volunteer, or an interaction with a resident of Leech Lake, or both. 26 months ago, when Jenny and I met for the first time, and took our first baby steps into unknown territory, one thing we knew was that we were not alone. We were committed to building a community and walking side by side with the Tribal Police, with the community members of Leech Lake, with fellow friends in the animal welfare community ... Thank you for joining us in this journey.

I put together a video from photos I took at the clinic:

Every clinic reinforces for me the strength of our growing LLL community. Miigwech (thank you) for opening up your heart to a community in need of support and resources ... on the first day of the clinic, I got down on my knees so I could be at eye level with a woman seated, waiting in line to register her dog for spay surgery. With tears in her eyes, she said, 'thank you ... thank you for offering these services.' She held on tightly to her small terrier pup; it was clear there was a deep bond between the two; it was also clear there was hardship she had endured. She held back tears, as she held onto her dog who appeared to be her only source of comfort. There were no more words that came out of her lips but so much more came pouring out of her heart. I put my hand over her hand ... and slowly ... quietly ... whispered, "your welcome'. I thanked her for welcoming us into their community. She nodded as she continued to hold back tears. Her heart was full of gratitude. I have come to learn that often the most powerful messages are in the unspoken word. And over the course of the 2 day clinic I observed volunteers in kind, compassionate conversation with residents, or a reassuring arm wrapped around a resident ... those images are what resonate in my heart  .. thank you for caring .. thank you for your passion .. and thank you for opening up your heart, and listening with your heart.
with gratitude,


Cute husky pup came to our wellness clinic
And I wanted to share one more email ... this was written by Sally Thornton who works at the Animal Humane Society and volunteered at the August clinic:
This month, I had the honor of working at a two-day subsidized spay/neuter clinic held on the Leech Lake Reservation.  This was the fifth clinic held in Leech Lake and is collaboration between Animal Humane Society/Kindest Cut, Leech Lake Legacy, Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe and the tribal police. 

During the two-day clinic, Kindest Cut performed 100 spay/neuter surgeries with an additional eight specialty surgeries and 58 pets were seen for wellness checks and vaccinations.  Spay/neuter surgery with vaccinations cost just $15 and a vaccination/wellness exam was $10.  Thirty volunteers and four veterinarians helped out. 

I worked at the vaccination/wellness desk and registered owners and their animals.  One couple in particular stood out to me during this experience.  Jolayne and her husband, Tom, came to have their three cats (Sabrina, Tasha and Maya) vaccinated.  I explained to them the cost would be $30 and, with concern, they said they didn’t realize there was a charge.  I asked them what they could afford and Tom said he had $6.   I said, “How about we do this for $6?”  They were so pleased.  During this effort we turn no one away for inability to pay.

As we visited, I learned Jolayne and Tom had lost their home of 13 years to foreclosure in July and they were homeless.  They were staying with relatives or sleeping in their truck, which had a topper so they could let the cats out of their carriers.  I gave them their $6 back and offered to provide the vaccinations and exams for free.  They mentioned how they wanted to save up and come back to the October clinic to have all three cats spayed.  I said, “Let’s take care of everything for you today at no charge.”  Jolayne accepted with a smile; and tears in her eyes.

The three cats spent the night at the clinic and the next day Jolayne and Tom came back to pick them up.  Jolayne told me how she missed the girls so much during the night.  We also had donated food at the clinic and I supplied them with bags of dry food and canned food.  Jolayne hugged me, three times!  Jolayne told me since her husband just turned 62 some housing opportunities may become available to them – they were hopeful.

As I watched them walk away, I thought, they were going through such an incredibly difficult time yet the care of their cats was foremost.  The strength of the human/animal bond is so strong and when we talk about how much we love our pets it brings us all together.

 We are gearing up for our next clinic on October 11-12 ... stay tuned for more info! Miigwech ...

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