GSHS receives grant for low-cost mobile clinics
Good Shepherd Humane Society is hitting the road to help the cats and dogs of Carroll County.
Cole Wakefield, director of animal services, said Good Shepherd received an $18,500 grant from the Northwest Arkansas Partnership for Animal Welfare to offer mobile clinics throughout the county year-round. Good Shepherd also received a “great deal” on one of Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge’s old shuttle buses, Wakefield said, so the clinics can take place anywhere in the county.
“We’re going to do several clinics all around the county. We will do one in Berryville and Eureka,” Wakefield said. “We’re hoping to get one in Green Forest. Our first one was in Alpena.”
Mobile clinics are so important, Wakefield said, because low-income pet owners don’t always have reliable transportation to travel to Berryville or Eureka Springs to get their pets vaccinated.
“We want to make it to where whatever your financial situation, whatever your living situation — you’ll be able to access this service,” Wakefield said. “The clinics are aimed at people of limited income to make it convenient and accessible for all citizens of Carroll County.”
Wakefield said it costs $10 to get your pet a rabies vaccine, core vaccinations, a microchip and an engraved tag.
“It’s significantly less than what it was when we did clinics before,” Wakefield said. “You’re not going to find that deal anywhere and, to be honest, we’re not going to turn anyone away for inability to pay.”
Each vaccine is important, Wakefield said, especially the rabies vaccine. He said the rabies vaccine is vital for the health of the animal as well as public health. In fact, Wakefield said, state law requires that every dog and cat has a rabies vaccine.
“There are also other things we recommend that dogs and cats get vaccinated for just for general health of the animal,” Wakefield said.
Wakefield said all pets should get microchipped and wear a tag at all times.
“Microchips are a great identification tool because they’re always with the animal,” Wakefield said. “Even if they have microchips, we recommend to put a tag on them. If your pet has a tag, it’ll be easy for anybody to return them home.”
Good Shepherd is working on making flea and tick preventatives more accessible, too. Wakefield said that’s especially important during summer months.
“We are seeing tick-borne diseases in dogs and cats. The rates of those are increasing every year,” Wakefield said. “This year, we’re already seeing cats that are passing away from Bobcat Fever.”
The mobile clinics should help keep pets in their homes, Wakefield said, so Good Shepherd can focus on helping animals that have no other place to go.
“We believe the people in this county are good people in general and are good pet owners in general and want to do the right thing,” Wakefield said. “They just need to know what the right thing is and be empowered to do that, and that’s what this whole thing is about.”
Jackie Roach, senior programs manager of the Northwest Arkansas Best Friends Animal Society, said she’s appreciative of the leadership and spirit at Good Shepherd.
“Cole and his team are very focused on saving lives in Northwest Arkansas and underserved communities with the greatest need,” Roach said. “I’m so excited to see the impact that this project will have on the people and pets in the region.”
Wakefield encouraged everyone to be on the lookout for the dates of future clinics and thanked the community for all its support.
“Without the community’s support, we would not be in the position to take on a grant like this,” Wakefield said.
For more information on Good Shepherd, visit www.Facebook.com/GoodShepherdHumaneSociety.