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Do you need assistance with free roaming cats in Mendocino County, CA?

LOW COST/SHARE OF COST spay & neuter

Don't wait until you see kittens....
Contact 707.621.2912 for voucher and program details.
Together we can help cats live a happier, healthier life & reduce pet overpopulation.


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Come visit the cats at:

Mendocino County Farm Supply
303 Talmage Rd.
Ukiah, CA 95482

Rainbow Agricultural Services
235 E Perkins St.
Ukiah, CA 95482

Farm Yard Feed
27705 Dutcher Creek Road
Cloverdale, CA 95425

Also, you can visit us every Saturday
Noon - 4pm
Petco in Santa Rosa
2765 Santa Rosa Ave
Santa Rosa, CA 95407
Where you can find your next dog, puppy, cat or kitten :)

Monday, June 13, 2011

Mobile Veterinary Medical Clinic visits Covelo

Not being familiar with Covelo, my first clue that I was in the right place was a row of cars with the letters RAVS (Rural Area Veterinary Services), written in white shoe polish across the back window of the line of cars, with license plates from states like, Idaho, Florida, Colorado, Arizona, and Washington.  In the middle of a remote town that has only one long treacherous road in or out,  is an international group of young professional people all there to help make life better for the animals of an area with no veterinary services. The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Field Services (HSVMA-FS) has two groups of approximately 50 volunteers each, one group that travels the US and the other that travels internationally. They spend one week a year in Covelo working as much as 16 hour days doing medical examinations, performing close to 50 spay and neuter surgeries daily, vaccinations, heartworm testing and treatment, and anything else that may come through the door, all free of charge. The clients are taken on a first come first served basis so people with their pets start lining up outside the door of the Recreation Center as early as 5:30 AM.

The Recreation Center in Covelo is an aging community center that, for this week only, has been turned into a medical clinic with 5 operating rooms, a recovery room, dorm room, and dining room. In this cavernous room, two large screened tents are erected to provide for the safety of the cats, one for medical exams and the other for a post operative recovery room. The dogs, all sizes and colors, are held in a long row of cages, some waiting for their surgery and others waiting to go home. In a storage room, several people are monitoring the dogs immediately after their surgeries and providing them every bit of professional medical care that they would receive at any veterinary office.

Just beyond all this activity is a row of sagging cots with sleeping bags on the stage area of the room where these hard working volunteers get to sleep after the last animal goes home at the end of the day.  In the kitchen area is an incredible array of food provided by the citizens of Covelo.  Behind all the food sits a pressure cooker type autoclave on the propane fired stove that sterilizes the instruments, busily being run by a volunteer husband and wife team from Portland.  The cost of feeding 55 people for a week is close to $1000 which is mostly paid for by BONES Animal Rescue of Covelo and Barbara Thrasher, founder.  Barbara and her helpers, Bev Marshman and Sam House, are tireless workers and advocates for the Round Valley animals. The community center is provided at no cost but BONES must pay for the utilities which run close to $700 for the week.

The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association Field Services staff and volunteers are an inspiring group of young people who assemble from all over the country and Canada for the chance to experience real life down and dirty veterinary work that they don’t get in school.  They bring with them 8 veterinarians, 7 veterinary technicians, 33 veterinary students and 2 support staff who do the paperwork and registration.  There are three paid staff workers and the rest are volunteers taking two weeks out of their lives to live in primitive conditions to gain invaluable experience.

I spoke with Kate from Boston, a vet who works in a specialized neurological practice; Shirley from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada who flew to SFO with 4 other vet students, Chelsea a 3rd year student from Colorado, Melodie a 2nd year student from Seattle who drove 36 hours with two other students, Katie who grew up in Kentucky but is going to vet school in Philadelphia, and Susie a vet tech who drove alone from British Columbia. All these volunteers not only work for nothing, but must pay their own expenses to get here.  Windi from Santa Cruz is one of the few paid staff and her full time job is planning the logistics of not only their visit to Covelo, but as they continue on to Hoopa, CA, South Dakota, North Dakota and Washington in addition to the international crew who is now in Mexico but will soon be traveling to Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, and Ethiopia.  They all say they do this for the experience they can’t get from any other program.

It was an inspiring and humbling experience to watch the long line of dogs and cats come in who may never have had the opportunity to see a vet before, each one receiving compassionate and encompassing medical care usually reserved for those animals with easily accessible veterinary services. To learn more about this program, go to

If you would like to make a donation to BONES Animal Rescue of Covelo to help defray the expenses of this clinic, checks can be sent to PO Box 1009, Covelo, CA 95428. All donations are tax deductible. 

submitted by: Julie Knudsen, AVAnimal Rescue Volunteer Extraordinaire!!

Published in the Ukiah Daily Journal

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