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Wednesday, December 13, 2017, 5:26 a.m.

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Fixed for the Holiday

Fundraising campaign helps Spay Arkansas

By Laurinda Joenks

This article was published December 7, 2017 at 5:00 a.m.

nwa-democrat-gazettedavid-gottschalk-a-dog-rests-on-a-mattress-following-a-spay-procedure-nov-28-at-spay-arkansas-in-springdale-spay-arkansas-provides-affordable-quality-spay-and-neuter-services-to-qualifying-low-income-clients-they-serve-residents-of-washington-benton-madison-and-carroll-counties-as-well-as-southern-missouri-and-eastern-oklahoma-as-of-november-the-clinic-staff-and-volutneers-have-performed-4298-procedures-in-110-days

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK A dog rests on a mattress following a spay procedure Nov. 28 at Spay Arkansas in Springdale. Spay Arkansas provides affordable, quality spay and neuter services to qualifying low-income clients. They serve residents of Washington, Benton, Madison and Carroll counties, as well as southern Missouri and eastern Oklahoma. As of November, the clinic staff and volutneers have performed 4298 procedures in 110 days.

By the numbers

Number of surgeries by November: 4,298

Number of clinic days: 110

Number of days with more than 42 surgeries: 31

Expected total for 2017:

Source: Spay Arkansas

Spay Arkansas

Clinic days: Dec. 13-14, Dec. 20-21. Call to schedule surgery.

Vaccine clinics: 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Jan. 6

Where: 1909 W. Hunstville Ave., Springdale

Information: 756-1100, spayarkansas.org

Top reasons to spay or neuter

• Pets will live a longer, healthier life. Spaying females helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors. Neutering a male animal prevents testicular cancer and some prostate problems.

• A spayed female pet won’t go into heat. In an effort to advertise for mates, cats, for example will, yowl and urinate more frequently — sometimes all over the house.

• A male dog will be less likely to roam away from home, looking for a mat. While roaming, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other male animals.

• A neutered male might be better behaved. They are less likely to mark their territory, mount other dogs, people and inanimate objects. Some aggression problems might be avoided by early neutering.

• Spaying and neuteringpets is also highly cost-effective. The cost of a pet’s surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter.

SOURCE: ASPCA

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Veterinarian Eric Jayne performs a spay procedure. "It's not just population control," Jayne said. "Dogs are a l...

NWA Democrat-Gazette/DAVID GOTTSCHALK Romaine Kobilsek cuddles a kitten before a procedure at Spay Arkansas in Springdale. She was one of the founders...

Grace is a sweet black cat, literally thrown from a car when the feline was just 4 1/2 weeks old, said Grace's owner, Kim Lanier of Booneville.

"When I first saw her, I fell in love with her. We adopted her and took care of her and thought it was a girl. But surprise ..." Grace is boy, Lanier said.

Lanier and her 8-year-old daughter Penelope came to Springdale last week to get Grace neutered at the nonprofit Spay Arkansas.

"We live on a farm, and I stay home and home school," Lanier said. "We don't have a lot of money. But I wanted to get the cat fixed. When I thought it was a girl, I didn't want kittens. And when I found out it was a boy, I didn't want him to run off [and bother her milking goats]."

Lanier explained their area is overrun with cats, who rip open bags of garbage as soon as they are set out on the curb.

"I couldn't justify not doing it. It's the right thing to do."

A GIFT

Spay Arkansas offers low-cost spay and neuter surgeries for pet owners who meet income guidelines, explained Romaine Koblisek, a board member and one of the founders of the nonprofit agency.

The organization was founded six years ago as a way to reduce the number of animals entering area animal shelters. "By spaying and neutering, we hope there's less overall population," Koblisek said. "With less pressure on the shelter, it gives more time for those animals in the shelter to be adopted."

Typically, the spaying and neutering services of Spay Arkansas are $30 for a cat, $50 for a dog weighing less than 50 pounds and more for larger dogs. Additional services like a rabies vaccination, microchipping, flea control and more are available for additional fees.

Spay Arkansas currently promotes its "Fixed for the Holidays" fundraising campaign. Money earned will provide pet owners living on an income of less than $20,000 a year spay-neuter services for just $10 per dog and $5 per cat.

"When people make the decision they want to spay or neuter, if we don't schedule them for an appointment, we'll never see them," Koblisek said. "We don't want them to refuse, because they won't be back. If we hear the hesitation in their voice when they hear $30, we can give it to them for $10 as a gift.

"We want to keep the animal in the home. We want a healthy community. Every family deserves to have an animal, if they desire one." Koblisek also noted that the clinic also can provide a family with pet food to keep them going for a little while.

And if money remains after the "Fixed for the Holidays" campaign is over Dec. 31, the special rate will be extended until money runs out, Koblisek said.

"'Fixed for the Holidays' is so important," she said. "It's a gift to the animal, a gift to the people who own the animals and a gift to the community."

ON THE RUNWAY

By 9 a.m. Nov. 28, Eric Jayne, the volunteer veterinarian of the day, had sterilized 27 cats, who were recovering in their crates in an anteroom. Koblisek compared the operation to a same-day surgery clinic for humans.

One puppy laid in a baby crib and another on a mattress on the floor as they woke from anesthesia. Veterinary technicians and assistants prepared two more dogs for surgery -- giving them anesthesia, cutting their toenails and shaving their bellies where the veterinarian would make an incision. In total, Jayne performed the surgery on 13 dogs that day.

Operating like a runway at an airport, Jayne worked at one operating table, as the techs set the stage on another. Jayne said the neutering process for male animals takes just 2 to 3 minutes, while the spay surgery for females takes 8 to 10 minutes. Larger dogs, overweight dogs and older dogs might take longer.

"It's not just population control," Jayne said. "Dogs are a lot healthier when they're spayed. The live a lot longer, boys and girls."

Spay Arkansas does turn away some animals if they are too old, too young or have health problems. "The doctor makes the final decision," Koblisek said. "If the animal has any other condition that would prevent us from completing the surgery, we send them to a full-service vet and fix that first. We are, above all, a safe clinic."

Running such a veterinary clinic is expensive, Koblisek said. For example, the two operating tables require two anesthesia machines.

She opened a drawer full of surgical instruments and pulled out a pair of forceps, called a carmalt, she said. Just one carmalt costs $58. To get eight more would cost $464.

The clinic operates with just six employees and a host of volunteers, including Koblisek. Several women arrive at the clinic each day it is open to wash towels, sterilize instruments and roll instrument packs.

Generally, the clinic operates two days a week, but Koblisek's goal is three."We have the capability to do 44 animals a day, and we want to get them in here."

Those clinic days vary to fit everyone's schedule. "And on the days off, still lots goes on," Koblisek said, listing transporting rescue animals, operating a pet food pantry, obtaining bedding and more.

Once a month, Spay Arkansas offers a vaccine clinic open to general public. And staff will microchip an animal at any time for $20. Through this process, they have found several dogs who gone missing from their families.

Koblisek's goal for 2018 is to enclose part of the back yard of the property as a place for public pet adoptions.

NAN Our Town on 12/07/2017

Print Headline: Fixed for the Holiday

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