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Cheap Shots for Blog the Change

Blog the ChangeBeTheChangeForAnimals.com hosts a Blog the Change event each quarter. It’s an opportunity for bloggers to report on their experiences helping animals, request support from their readers, and inspire others get out there and make a difference.

January’s Blog the Change found Karen at DoggieStylish questioning the impact we can make by blogging about animal causes. She was frustrated by her efforts to educate people about puppy mills, only to have them proceed with their ill-conceived plans to purchase a pet store puppy. Her post motivated Mel at No Dog about It to drop what she was doing that day and join a protest at the a Petland selling puppies. After reading both their posts, I committed to finding a local cause at least once a quarter and spend a day volunteering. (Thanks the push, Karen and Mel!)

Volunteering requires a bit of research on  my part because we travel full-time, without a schedule – so I never know where I’m going to be a week or two in advance. Last weekend we were in Little Rock, Arkansas and a few minutes on the Internet uncovered a great cause – a Cheap Shots clinic hosted by the Humane Society of Saline County.

These drive-thru events offer rabies and annual boosters vaccinations for dogs and cats and bordetella vaccinations for dogs at just $10 per shot. I arrived shortly after noon, when the event was scheduled to begin, and the cars were already wrapping around the stadium parking lot and into the street! I introduced myself and asked one of the volunteers what I could do to help. She pointed me to Ann Sanders, the event’s coordinator, who pointed me in the right direction and I jumped in pre-filling forms, directing traffic, and answering any questions I could.

Cars as Shot Clinic

We were supposed to be done at 4pm, but the lines were still so long! At 5:15 we’d finally gotten the paperwork for the pets in the last car. They were likely waiting for another 45 minutes before they reached the front of the line where the veterinarian, Stacy Johnson, DVM, was administering the shots.

I spoke to Ann after the event and she estimated that more than 400 animals had been vaccinated and around 1,000 shots had been given. WOW – I knew we were busy, but that’s a lot of dogs and cats! Ann said that the bad economy and the power of Facebook had combined to make the event so successful. Most of the cars contained multiple pets – some as many as ten. Ann said it’s likely these animals don’t see a veterinarian regularly and many of these people may not otherwise have been able to afford to have their pets vaccinated.

Two things struck me during the afternoon:

  1. People are dedicated to the well-being of their pets. It was a hot afternoon with temperatures in the high 80s. The asphalt parking lot had to be over 100 degrees, and yet folks waited patiently for the better part of an afternoon to get their pets vaccinated. That says a lot about our commitment, even in tough times, to our companions.
  2. We need more education on the importance of properly securing pets in vehicles. Very few of the pets that I saw were restrained at all – one dog even jumped out an open window! Luckily, his owner was able to retrieve him before he got hurt.

My message to you is don’t be afraid to get involved – even at the last minute. I was warmly welcomed and thanked many times for coming to help out. If you’re in the area, the Humane Society of Saline County will be offering another Cheap Shots clinic on May 14th at their facility in Bauxite, AR. If you’re not in Arkansas, perhaps you can help organize this type of event for your community. Whatever you do, don’t wait – it feels GREAT to get out and help!

BUT FIRST – check out the links below and see what other bloggers have been doing to Be the Change for Animals!

Planning a pet friendly trip of your own? We’ll make it easy:
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  • I love this- especially your “get out there and DO something!” message. I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately… bringing all this knowlege offline and into our every day (every single day!) lives.

    Great post- thank you! :)

  • Kudos to you for finding a way to volunteer while you are travelling! The drive thru idea is fab! It keeps people in a somewhat comfortable environment while they are waiting and keep the dogs and cats separated so that no accidental fights will break out.

  • Pup Fan says:

    Great post! And I agree about the need for education about buckling up your pet in the car. So many people don’t think about this!

  • Pat says:

    What an excellent idea, especially in these difficult economic times.

  • MelsPetPals says:

    I am so thoroughly impressed Amy. Wow.

    When I first saw your tantalizing tweet about your BtC4A post I thought “Now how in the heck were they able to find an opportunity to volunteer when they are so clearly on the road and in a new place so often?” Well, you just proved that opportunities are everywhere! You just have to look for them! [Glad I was able to offer some inspiration. :) ]

    I actually took my dogs to a low-cost vaccination clinic this year (the money went to support Hearing and Service Dogs – the ones who cared for Daisy before she came to me). I was in awe of the wonderful volunteers. They were wonderful. I was the first one there that day, but by the time we left the place was hopping. You are right – it is so needed, especially with so many people out of work.

    Now I am feeling guilty for not having done my BtC4A work this quarter! It’s been a little crazy around Casa del Mel lately. Oy!

    • No, no, no – that wasn’t my intention at all! So, you’re not allowed to feel guilty! Guilt is a waste of energy – and I know things have really been hopping for you. Indirectly, you volunteered at the shot clinic, since I likely wouldn’t have done it without your inspiration. =)

  • maria says:

    You’re absolutely right it does feel good to help out and spread the word by the way your site is so cool its so hard to travel to pet friendly places

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