I remember when I started working for Dr. Brown; I was thirteen, green, and had no idea that one day I would be running the practice. Dr. Brown cares about our community; he always cared just as deeply about his people as he did their animals. If there was an event needing a sponsor, you could turn to doc, and if there was a public service board that needed his direction, he was there to give it. I remember scheduling our appointments around health board meetings, water district trips, and pennyrile electric sessions. No matter the need, Dr. Brown tried to help the members of this community.
When we met with the Browns in March, 2013, we knew we wanted to emulate the community service they provided for years. Within weeks after our meeting, we began laying the groundwork for the new Todd County Animal Clinic. Our first priority was to come up with a mission statement, to declaratively state our directives in re-opening the practice. After much discussion and several failed statements, we came up with one that made sense to us.
Our mission was to provide” excellence in service, excellence in medicine, and impact in our community”.
The first part of our mission is always service. Without good service, medicine is meaningless. Quality medicine is a must, and with top notch veterinarians in our area, good medicine is mandatory. The part of the mission that has been fluid is, “impact in our community.” How would we provide true impact in our hometown? We aren’t on a mission to change the world; we are on a mission to help our people, the people of Todd County. In the beginning, we couldn’t have known that the most fun and rewarding part of our practice has been the “impact” part.
Because of our practice, we have been able to sponsor a scholarship for local seniors, sponsor sporting events from elementary to high school levels, help with a movie night for children and young families, and probably most importantly, help with Todd County TNR.
Our clinic has been approached several times to help form an animal shelter for local pets. I still feel there is need for an animal shelter in this area, but for now, financials, findings employees, animal care, state regulations, and funding are all limiting factors in the development of Todd County’s own animal shelter. When the May family approached us with a trap, neuter, and release concept for feral cat colonies, we knew this was an opportunity to help.
There are a few key reasons we help with Todd County TNR, and these are the same reasons you all should help advance our mission if possible.
1. Rabies is real:
Every TNR cat that is captured, sterilized, and released receives a rabies shot. Rabies is a serious threat to people in our community; rabies is carried by skunks, raccoons, bats, and other small mammals. Rabies is diagnosed yearly in counties around the state, and Todd County has hosted a few rabies cases of its own. As veterinarians, it is our job to protect the community from rabies by any means necessary, and the opportunity to vaccinate the feral cat population, is a key way to reduce the chance of animal and human exposure.
2. Reducing the feral cat population:
Female cats can easily have 8-12 kittens per year; over time, these colonies become so overpopulated, that many will starve to death from poor food sources. These colonies also serve as vectors for diseases like leukemia and fiv (feline aids), which can impact our cats by bites and shared saliva. By spaying a female, we take her out of the breeding pool, by neutering a male, we can prevent hundreds of kittens, destined for starvation, from being born.
3. It’s the right thing to do.
In closing, the biggest reason we support and partner with Todd County TNR, is because we believe in what they are doing. We feel that stray animals are a major issue in our area, and if we can reduce human exposure to disease, help animals, and reduce strays from being born, it’s the right thing to do. I hope you will join us in our mission to control and vaccinate the feral cats in our community.
How can you help:
1. donate to the cause; food and live traps can be accepted at the veterinary clinic.
2. Contribute financially:
100% of the donations go directly to veterinary care of these stray animals. You can donate online at, www.toddcountyanimal.com, or in person at our small animal office. If making a donation in person, please speak with Mindy so that she can get all of your information together for the donation. Thanks for reading.
John Laster, DVM
Todd County Animal Clinic, INC.