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Every year we have a free spay and neuter clinic that comes to each of the reservations. This helps substantially when it comes to the pets here.
Usually every year we have 13+ cats that we need fixed. And it’s always so much easier to find them forever homes when they have been altered.
This year we took exactly 13 cats and 1 puppy. But unfortanately we were only able to get in 4 of the cats and the puppy. However, I did take my grandmas two dogs, and I also wanted to see if they would neuter my rabbit, so he got to come too. However, he didn’t get his chance.
All of the people who work at the RAVS Clinic each year are volunteers who apply early the previous year. I myself tried to apply but I knew I was too late and my application was denied.
I promise I will get myself in to apply much sooner for the next year!
RAVS stands for Rural Area Veterinary Services. They come down once a year to each of South Dakota’s reservations and offer free spay and neuter services, as well as free wellfare check ups.
Even though I work at a “Pet” store, we are the closest thing to a rescue in about 200 miles each way. The amount of stray cats that come through our doors each year is beyond belief. But we manage them, vaccinate them and give them a warm home until someone comes to adopt them.
And each year, we take our rescues to RAVS for their services.
This year they started taking in animals at 8 am Mountain Time. I knew to go early so I left at 6:30 Central Time (we go by Central Time and where RAVS was set up was across the bridge which is Mountain Time). That was 5:30 Mountain Time.
I loaded up my grandma’s two dogs, our rescue puppy, my rabbit and 13 cats. You could imagine the back seat of an Equinox. Now, this is a 30 minute drive one way, with that many animals. What a ride.
However, when I pulled in they had already quite a few cars in the parking lot of the gym they had set up in. They had decided to take in clients earlier cause people started showing up.
I was lucky to get in. But, they only took 4 of our cats and the 3 dogs. Mainly because they wanted the rest of the community to have a chance to get their own pet altered. Which is so understandable.
We did have to sit and wait a little longer outside before they came and took our information. I was glad that I brought Bacardi’s harness and leash with me so he could get out of the car and have some air. He loved every minute and didn’t even mind the passing strays.
If anyone has been to McLaughlin, SD they will know that there are strays living there. Well we got to meet one! I do believe though that she belonged to someone. She wasn’t skinny, looked healthy and was very friendly.
I would have taken her in a heart beat but deep in my heart, I knew she was someone’s pet.
When we finally got into the clinic to start paper work it was mind-blowing.
I was in awe at their set-up inside and so wished my application would have been accepted. But there is next year.
We got all the pets that they accepted signed in and given their vaccinations to get set up for surgery. They gave me a time to come back in which they all might be done, which was 7pm.
I hauled all the cats that didn’t get in back to the store and got them all situated back into their crates. They were happy to be home.
And so was I, since one of the cats decided to take a doo-doo halfway back home. Unpleasant.
Well, 7pm came around after a long day at work.
I traveled back with an empty car. It was about 7:20pm when I reached the gym set up. They had told me they weren’t done yet and just waiting for some to wake up.
I didn’t mind though, I had a good time talking with the volunteers and got a website for people to donate to their cause. You can find it at the end of this post.
All of their work is actually supported by donations from all over the world.
When they were finished we made the trek back home, got everyone back into their crates, checked over and fed before leaving for the night.
It takes a lot of effort and organization to set this up and I applaud the people who made this happen. It’s great for the community and great for the pets who live there. I wish more of this would happen more often.
Overall, our trip to RAVS this year wasn’t all that boring! I got some interesting details about applying this next year, which I definately will!