Effort speaks volumes about commitment. Shortly after we had closed off the list for clients at the Healthy Pet Clinic Sunday a man walked up with his black lab mix on a leash. It was just after 1:30 pm. I had to tell him we were not taking any more names for the day. It would take our best effort to finish with vaccinations and exams for the 100 plus pets still waiting to be seen by a veterinarian.
The man was disappointed to hear the news. He asked again if he could be seen. I said no. He then explained he walked to St. Lucy's Church on Gifford Street. He doesn't live down the street. He walked more than two miles from Syracuse's north side. Our negotiation to a solution was underway.
I explained he could wait until 4:00 pm which is technically our closing time, but I could not guarantee he would be seen. He cordially accepted the offer. I told him it was too soon to fill out paperwork. He said he still would wait.
He was one of dozens of pet owners who waited for two hours or more for a chance to receive vaccinations, an exam, flea or tick treatment and whatever other care our volunteer veterinarians chose to offer. By the end of the day we approached 150 animals vaccinated and examined.
This was the last of the fall season of clinics organized by our Shamrock Animal Fund with dedicated volunteers from multiple animal helping agencies. It becomes more understandable that pet owners patiently wait when you consider they pay only $10 per animal to receive care from some of Central New York's best veterinarians and a team from Cornell University's Veterinary College Shelter Medicine program.
Over the three years we have held the Clinic we truly have been blessed with having great weather. Yesterday was one of the first where we had a mix of cold, rainy and sleet. That forced more adults, children, cats and dogs to take shelter inside the gym and entrances. They were packed tightly. They waited and waited. Yet, they did so patiently.
Remember the guy who walked across town. As 4:00 pm approached the end of the line was in sight. We got him the paperwork. He paid his fee. He got his dog his shots and an exam. Considering he is unemployed the discounted care meant the world to him. He thanked us and then began the reverse walk home. Effort speaks volumes about commitment.
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