First Spay/Neuter Clinic of 2014! By Suzan Thompson

The Ketchikan Humane Society's latest low-cost spay/neuter clinic this past weekend was a huge success. It wouldn't have happened without the generosity of the community, both in volunteering to help, and in donating so freely when you attend our fundraisers. What you do makes such a difference; we wish you all could see and truly understand how important your donations of time and money are in easing the suffering of the unwanted and abandoned animals of our area, and how much good you do.

Every animal we spay or neuter represents hundreds of unwanted offspring. Imagine a beautiful dog who gives birth to a litter of eight puppies, three males and five females. By the time it is eight months old, each male puppy is capable of impregnating any number of unspayed females. By the time it's two, one single male dog could easily be responsible for a hundred new pups. Each female puppy, if she goes into heat at six months and produces two litters of eight puppies each year, none of which are altered when they are acquired by their new owners, can produce hundreds more. This is not the place to go into what happens to these babies, many of whom do not find good homes. Do the math. It's sufficient to say that Saturday's clinic prevented a lot of future sadness. There are already too many animals and not enough homes.

In the past six weeks, the Ketchikan Humane Society has taken in three senior dogs, sixteen unwanted puppies, and several cats and kittens. Finding foster homes for sixteen puppies is no easy task. Puppies are rambunctious. They poop! Potty training and cleaning up after a kennel full of happy-go-lucky pups is a HUGE job. Likewise, finding homes for kittens is slightly easier than finding homes for full-grown cats, who need loving forever homes just as much as the babies do. The volunteers and board members sometimes put in as much as 30 hours a week, and bless them to the moon and back for what they do.

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Stephanie Hughes, who shows up at these clinics before anyone else to work her magic to make sure everything runs smoothly.  We want to thank Selena Willard, Abby Bradberry, and Abby Kraft of Island to Island Veterinary Clinic, who gave up their day off on Saturday to come in and help us. Likewise, to Dr. Marna Hall and Dr. Susie Crawford, who spent the day under hot lights bent over surgery tables, when they could have been outside enjoying a beautiful day. There is no way any of this could have happened without the skill and professionalism of these women, who take so seriously the job of monitoring the health and well-being of the animals they care for. Without the assistance of Island to Island Veterinary Clinic, none of this would have been possible.

Gretchen Moore of Groomingdales Pet Resort has continually donated kennel space she could easily have reserved for paying clients, and she pays her employee well to help with KHS animals. Gretchen provides top-quality food, toys, litter, blankets, and love to our rescues. They romp around her pet store and charm the customers. Even though they occasionally forget where they are in the midst of their playing and stop to piddle on her floor, she takes it in stride because she has a huge heart for rescue and knows what a difference she makes.

First Bank employees Kim Whalen and Michelle Jackson arrive early and stay late whenever the KHS has a fundraiser or a low-cost clinic. They pitch in at these clinics and do everything from tracking drug dosages to cleaning kennels and walking dogs. The job would be fifty times harder without them.

Kristen Seley and Deanna Tipton were dynamos, right from their efforts to identify families in need of low-cost services, to transporting animals back and forth, to lying full-length on a cold floor next to a warming pad to monitor the recovery of a sleepy dog. They stayed late and got up early. They cleaned kennels, took temperatures, walked, watered, and fed their charges. These two women are amazing, with the tender hearts and willing hands it takes to do rescue and to alleviate so much suffering. We want to thank the volunteers on Prince of Wales Island who are trying so hard to form their own rescue group so that all the abandoned and unwanted animals in their area can be saved.

Our young helpers Haley, Kali, Teiara, and Henri volunteered to recover animals after surgery. They kept warm blankets turning in the dryer, took temperatures (the icky way) and got a glimpse into what it might be like to work in veterinary medicine. Thanks also to Janet Hanna, who supervised in the lobby.

Thank you Eric Muench for always being there to help, no matter what we ask, even on your birthday.