To ready shelter animals for adoption, medical services are often needed. Some animals come to Sacramento County’s Bradshaw Animal Shelter with abscessed teeth, skin conditions and are badly in need of grooming, while others may have internal medical conditions or have been hurt and need surgery, and still others just need some “manners” or a bit of TLC at a foster home. These are just some of the things Sacramento County does daily to prepare the roughly 15,000 animals for adoption that come annually.
Shelter Veterinarian Jean Rabinowitz said, “Who would adopt a pet that needs hundreds of dollars in veterinarian services right off the bat? The answer is, not many. We need to address the health issues of our shelter animals in order to get these perfectly wonderful animals into permanent homes.”
The County’s Bradshaw Shelter has been awarded grants and donations for specialized medical equipment which helps provide enhanced veterinary services to more effectively treat the shelter animals. Whether it’s to perform diagnostics or surgery, the state-of-the-art equipment, like the digital X-ray machine, orthopedic power equipment, anesthesia delivery system and the new dental unit enables County veterinarians to quickly assess, make diagnoses and treat the animals that are on a journey to find new homes.
Department Director Dave Dickinson said, “Having this equipment at the shelter eliminates stressful offsite transport, speeds care and gets us to our goal of increasing adoptability of our animals, and simultaneously reduces the shelter’s population. We will always have animals in need of life-saving medical services and community donations and volunteering can help the Shelter continue to offer these vital services to shelter animals.”
In fact, the donation by Sacramento County residents, Jack and Kathleen Sellers of nearly $8,000 for a Veterinary Dental Unit with Compressor ($5,995) and Dental Scaler ($1,795) has already increased the adoptability of the Shelter animals.
“Something as simple as poor dental health can be the door to other detrimental and expensive medical issues” said Dr. Rabinowitz. “That’s why this new dental equipment is so important. Through the generous donation from the Sellers, we can now treat the animals that come through our Shelter, get them healthy, and ultimately to their new families.”
Kathleen Sellers came to know Dr. Rabinowitz through her work to help senior and special needs Chihuahuas. At any one time, Jack and Kathleen have several of these senior citizen dogs in foster care on their ranch. While fostering a senior Chihuahua named Autumn from the Animal Shelter, Kathleen brought her to Dr. Rabinowitz for surgery. Unfortunately, due to her age, Autumn was in advanced kidney failure and couldn’t have the surgery. Kathleen, committed to her mission to help other Chihuahuas, was interested in fostering Pepper, another of Bradshaw’s Shelter animals. Dr. Rabinowitz explained that, unfortunately, Pepper needed extensive dental work, and that’s when Kathleen and her husband saw an opportunity to do even more to help shelter animals by donating the money needed for the Dental Unit.
Kathleen Sellers said, “We made this donation in memory of Autumn and Pepper and also sponsored a Habitat Room
at the Bradshaw Animal Shelter. Without the teamwork of the vets and the dental technicians who volunteer their time this wouldn’t have been made possible. I appreciate all the Shelter staff and volunteers for what they do to help these animals get forever homes.”
When the public makes Special Medical Needs Donations those contributions are earmarked for medical procedures for the County’s shelter animals or for needed surgical equipment, supplies and medications.
In addition to donating medical funds, the community can help in other ways to help get shelter animals adopted. The Shelter’s volunteers and foster providers help shelter animals to brush-up on their manners and provide consistency and behavioral training; while other animals can get stressed out at the shelter and need a home environment with a foster care provider. A little one-on-one TLC by volunteers and foster providers often is the solution that gets a skittish animal – or one that is acting out – on the right track to adoption.
Meghan Ramczyk, Rescue/Foster Coordinator said, “I liken the shelter to city living, and just like people, city living can stress them out; that’s where foster providers are truly life savers and can help an animal decompress in a home environment. I’ve seen remarkable transformations in animals with just a couple weeks offsite. When potential adopters see a happy animal they are more apt to adopt them.”
Find out about our happy and healthy animals available for adoption, as well as opportunities to volunteer or donate on the Animal Care website. The Bradshaw Shelter has arranged a “Furever Love Adoption Special,” and all adoptions are $14 throughout February.
Writer: Brenda Bongiorno, Communication and Media Officer