Hooked at the Community Cat Clinic

Hooked at the Community Cat Clinic
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The preparation room.

5:30 AM and it’s time to order the donuts. As the Staffing Coordinator for the monthly Community Cat spay and neuter clinics at Cummings School, part of my job is keeping volunteers fueled for the day ahead. One Sunday a month, the Lerner Spay and Neuter clinic and HLA wet lab are transformed into a high-volume clinic for up to 100 homeless cats who receive free spay, neuter, exam, and vaccinations.

Students have the opportunity to help cats while moving through a series of stations and gaining hands-on technical and clinical experience and the opportunity to ultimately spay 2-4 cats under the supervision of veterinarians.

I got involved in the clinics in 2008. I was working in the Dean’s Office when I saw a campus email requesting volunteers for the clinics, including

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The operating room.

administrative help. I volunteered and was hooked. There is great energy at high-volume clinics. The fact that almost everyone there is a volunteer adds to the sense of shared mission. I have made friends and met real-life heroes disguised as DVMs, CVTs, veterinary and master students, and community volunteers. Through the clinic I’ve also become involved in fostering for a local rescue organization, but that is another story.

I’ve stayed involved through returning to school and a job change to working in the Webster Library. The volunteer gig eventually became part of my paid work. As a sidebar,

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The recovery room.

Since 2008, the clinics have sterilized thousands of cats and saved countless generations from suffering.  More than 540 graduate and DVM students have volunteered their precious time to trap, admit, anesthetize, examine, prep, sterilize, vaccinate, recover and discharge cats and gained confidence and experience while doing good.  That’s a lot of learning, and a lot of donuts!

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