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Dane County Humane Society: A Shot at Life Vaccination Grant Report

How did this grant help your organization and the pets in your care?

With much gratitude for the Shot at Life vaccination program, we received vaccines to administer to neighborhood dogs at our Community Dog Day event. During Community Dog Day, after a brief veterinarian exam, we administer free lifesaving vaccines, free flea treatments, and free microchips to dogs; we also give out free engraved dog tags and we have a huge selection of free gently-used dog supplies and free dog food available for dog owners to pick up for their canine family members. We also share information about our services at Dane County Humane Society and local resources and encourage spaying and neutering.

The grant helped us tremendously by supplying the vaccines for the event. In addition to there being a lot of puppies at the event who had yet to see a veterinarian, more than a third of the dogs that were brought to the event had also never seen a veterinarian previously. Many of these dogs were in great need for the vaccines.

How many pets did this grant help?

102 dogs arrived to Community Dog Day; 88 of them received vaccines.

Please provide a story of one or more specific pets this grant helped.

There are so many stories to be told from the event. One that sticks in the mind is of Nick and his dog, Lady. Nick had heard in the neighborhood of a dog that needed to be rehomed because her family was moving into an apartment that didn’t take dogs. He didn’t know the people personally, but he wanted to help the dog and as he loves dogs, Nick wanted to open his home to her. He had just acquired Lady shortly before Community Dog Day, so he was happy that he could bring her to the event to get the necessary vaccines. Lady is a mixed-breed dog; Nick thought there is possibly some golden retriever in her, as she looks like a very short, Chihuahua-sized golden retriever. At the event, a tattered and knotted leash was replaced with a much better functioning one in pink. He also found a collar for her, fulfilling an important need and place to hang a dog tag. Nick said that he couldn’t afford the annual fees to utilize the city dog parks. Every morning at 6 a.m., never mind what the weather might be, he has a complete exercise regime in place which involves him taking out his bike for a bike ride with Lady through one of the many public parks that Madison, WI, has. Lady is truly his companion and brings much joy to this life.

During the event, one of the event participants thought of his friend who has six dogs and called him to advise him of the event. Just as we were about to pack everything up, the friend arrives with only two dogs — since that was all the room he had in his car with other human passengers. He opened the door to his car and out came a pit bull terrier and a brindle mastiff — with no leashes! We were all shocked and also happy that it was after the event, and asked him where were his leashes — which he replied that he lived in the country and didn’t need any. For such country dogs, 007 (the pit bull terrier) and Big Girl (the mastiff), were completely friendly and well socialized. They both received vaccines. Big Girl was already spayed when Valentino got her from a friend, but 007 wasn’t neutered, and unfortunately we couldn’t convince him to consider neutering. But the good thing is that 007 and Big Girl were able to receive lifesaving vaccines, as well as goodie bags containing two leashes. We are not sure if the leashes will ever be used, but if Valentino needs them, he will have them.

We had repeat customers from past Community Dog Day events, one of which had six puppies between this year’s event and last year’s event! Fortunately, the owner was able to find homes for the puppies. We signed her up for a spay/neuter appointment at our shelter. It was also very surprising to see teenagers bringing in their dogs. One young person had trained his German Shepherd puppy to do beautiful “sits.” It was very impressive.

On a sad note, a dog had arrived panting and wheezing terribly. The veterinarians deemed it unsafe to vaccinate with the dog in such a state. We couldn’t understand why the dog was wheezing so much. It was not exactly an overly-hot day. Some people thought the dog was over-heated. The person bringing the dog was unsure, as well. The veterinarian advised him that the dog needed immediate attention at a vet’s office that would be better equipped to assess the situation. Later, I called to schedule a time for the dog to be brought to the shelter to receive her vaccines, and then I learned that the dog had passed away. Princess had belonged to the person’s girlfriend who did not take the time to care for her, and so these duties fell on the boyfriend who did not want the dog but cared enough to take her to Community Dog Day. In retrospect, it is possible that Princess had heartworm, as we are presently seeing many heartworm cases at the shelter. Next time, we will be better prepared for such circumstances and have volunteers ready to drive dogs over to an emergency vet clinic so that a ride to an emergency vet clinic can be guaranteed.

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