The beginning of a new year is always a chance to reflect on where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going. And with 2020 being a year of big changes for us (just you wait!), we wanted to take stock of our impact.
Let’s start with a big number: 26,590. That’s the number of pets we impacted in 2019. How does it break down?
Wellness Care Clinic
Our walk-in Wellness Care Clinic saw 13,527 pets in 2019. To put that in perspective, our clinic is open 5 days a week: 9 am to 3 pm Tuesday through Friday and 9 am to noon on Saturday. In total, we were open for business 261 days last year. The math works out to a little over 51 pets per day in for vaccinations, and considering the longest we’re open in a single day is six hours, that’s a LOT of pets in a relatively short period of time.
We also did 9,444 heartworm tests. Why is this important to us? A couple of reasons. A few years ago we noticed that a lot of people weren’t getting heartworm tests, even when we made them more affordable. Heartworm is so preventable that it was breaking our hearts to know that so many dogs that came through our clinic weren’t getting tested, and could have heartworms at that very moment and we wouldn’t be able to tell without that test. So we started including them with the vaccination bundles; that way they were necessary. We also started partnering with Bayer to help subsidize heartworm tests for struggling clients, and to help us to treat pets that turned out to be heartworm positive.
The result? We’ve been able to save lives, in a very real and literal way. Having funding for prevention, testing, and treatment has helped us keep dozens of pets alive, and get them heartworm free.
Spay and Neuter Clinic
We did 10,989 spay/neuter surgeries. We do surgery four days a week; that puts us at about 52 surgeries per day. For a lot of places, that would be beyond what’s possible. For us, that’s right where we want to be. We want to keep the schedule as full as possible so we can fix as many pets as possible.
We’ve got an amazing team back in surgery, with some wonderful new additions to the staff. The surgery room is like a different universe; everything moves like clockwork. That they can work so hard and be so dedicated while still treating everybody’s pet like their own is always amazing to me.
Something else that’s pretty amazing is our call center team, which took a total of 41,105 calls. Can you believe that number? And it’s not like we have a huge bank of people working the phones; it’s usually between two and four people back there. Our call center folks are quick and efficient; not only do they handle the scheduling of spay/neuter surgeries, but they answer questions about vaccinations and pet health, get requests for referrals, and requests for records from clients and other clinics alike. They get calls from people who need help paying for services, people who want to relinquish pets because they’ve fallen on hard times. They sign people up for dog training classes and tell them about our pet food pantry. They do a lot, and they work hard. We’re really proud of the sheer number of calls they’ve taken over the past year.
We upped the number of community pet clinics we held in areas around KCMO, KCKS, Independence, and beyond. Are we where we’d like to be? Not quite. There are still so many areas that are vet deserts, and as our goal is to vaccinate as many pets as possible, we’ll always keep pushing.
With our extra efforts this year, we saw 3,328 pets at our community pet clinics. It doesn’t seem like an impressive number when you compare it to the number of pets we saw in Wellness Care Clinic, until you realize that we only did 22 clinics in 2019, giving us an average of over 150 pets per clinic, which is amazing. We’ve worked hard to make our community clinics fast and efficient, because they’re always well-attended and we often have hard deadlines for when we need to vacate the space we’re using. And we’ll keep improving community clinics so that we can see as many pets and people as possible.
Last but definitely not least, we gave out 26,000 pounds of pet food in 2019. That’s 13 tons of food! Not only did we provide food to hundreds of pet owners via our pet food pantry partnership with Great Plains SPCA, but we also provided food to rescues and shelters throughout our region. Our outreach team has been doing everything they can to get as much food as we can, so we can be a resource for everyone. We may not have the reach that we’d like in some of the outlying areas, but the good-hearted folks that run rescues in those areas do; and while they have access to those hard-to-reach clients, they don’t always have the connections to get and store large donations of food. That’s why our partnerships with these rescues are so important. It’s only together that we can make the biggest impact.
Onward and Upward
One of the biggest takeaways comes from what we’ve learned via our pet food pantry. When we open ourselves up, take bigger risks, form stronger partnerships with the community, everybody benefits.
So, moving forward, that’s how we want to be: more open to change, to growth, to partnering with more organizations. More recognizing the great work that other organizations are doing. More community clinics. More love, more compassion. More, more, more!
What’s that phrase? “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose?” Yeah, that sounds just about right. Onward and upward.