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      Healthy Pet Clinic serves needy animal owners in Syracuse

      I stepped out from the dimly lit gym at Syracuse's St. Lucy's church into the fresh sunshine of a perfect late summer day in Central New York. Volunteers wearing red t-shirts and carrying clipboards chatted with owners of all kinds of cats and dogs. People were lined up ten deep waiting for their turn to go inside, make their ten dollar donation and get their pet examined and vaccinated. One woman approached. She knew me from the news and for being one of the event organizers. She thanked me for making this first of its kind Healthy Pet Clinic. Her appreciation for our volunteer effort meant more at that moment than any paycheck could.

      Catrina Dodrill had lost her job not too long ago. Her pit bull named Magenta needed shots so she could get properly licensed. After she made it through the line her smile stretched from cheek to cheek. "Sometimes when you lose your job you can't afford the regular vet. This really helped," said Catrina. "We got parvo, rabies we can go to City Hall and get our license again. We're happy. Thank you so much!"

      The CNY Animal Welfare Coalition and the Shamrock Animal Fund organized the clinic. On Sunday afternoon we helped more than 60 animals from 40 families with the aid of more than 30 volunteers. The volunteers included veterinarians from across the Syracuse area and from Cornell's University's Hospital for Animals. My wife Jamie Pomilio-Mulcahy deserves much of the credit for the perseverance and organizational skills to make the clinic happen.

      Our team of volunteers did amazing work. The rush of adrenalin from a first time event had our many hands making for easy work when it came to setting up tables, distributing supplies and later cleaning up. This was a get your hands dirty effort. We all interacted directly with the pet owners and the animals. The warmth of the dogs and cats and the smiles on the faces of children were part of the reward. Young Anyla McMahon held her four month old puppy named Princess and said, "I love her I wouldn't give her up for the world. I love her so much." Another young girl named Gwen Matthews said about her cat named Remy, "she's loveable she's nice and she don't scratch nobody."

      This was an opportunity to send home happier and healthier animals while taking a financial burden off the shoulders of these households in need. We'll return again to St. Lucy's in October and November to serve neighbors in that Syracuse community. We all look forward to another pay day of gratitude and appreciation for lending a hand.

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      The opinions expressed in this blog are the sole responsibility of the author and are not reflective of the views or opinions of Barrington Broadcasting, WSTM-NBC3, its management or employees.