Shortly before noon this Sunday a pet owner will come to the check-in desk at the Healthy Pet Clinic on Syracuse's north side. They will be holding the leash of their dog or their cat carrier. They will have ten dollars in their pocket and some paperwork in hand to prove residency and financial need. That pet will mark the 2,000th to come through the doors of the Clinic since it started nearly three years ago.
That's 2,000 pets getting vaccinations, examinations and other care from a team of volunteer veterinarians, technicians and other community members. That is a lot of paperwork, rabies certificates and poop bags. That is a lot of donations of food, collars and leashes. That is a lot of smiles, hugs and gratitude from pet owners who would otherwise have to go without.
There is a core group of lead volunteers that have been there since the beginning of the clinics in 2011 when the CNY Animal Welfare Coalition was meeting and figuring out the best way to proceed. Cornell University's Veterinary College has been a key resource of staffing, veterinary knowledge and clinic expertise. The Shamrock Animal Fund has kept the paperwork and publicity flowing along with coordinating supplies and staffing. You might be surprised that all that goes into the Clinics before the doors ever open on a Sunday.
The work does come with substantial rewards. The warm smiles from senior citizens with a limited budget, but an unlimited heart when it comes to their pet. The bright eyes of children who closely watch the veterinarians go through their professional procedures. The hugs from grateful pet owners who we have come to know over the three year run.
I nearly forgot - there's also all through handsome dogs and purring cats, plus a good dose of wide eyed puppies and sleeping kittens. Sunday we will celebrate helping our 2,000th pet to come through the door.