We’re In This Together

Categories: Clinic, Community Support

Running a business under normal circumstances is never easy. But it’s harder than ever right now – worrying about your employees, loss of income and donations, and having to navigate through the unknowns of what each day brings… but the saddest part for me is not being able to do the prevention work that I know is so important for our community’s companion animals and their people.

More than a week before the Napa County Shelter-In-Place Order, we took steps to ensure the safety of our staff and community members visiting our Clinic as per CDC guidelines and recommendations by UC Davis – limiting the number of pets and their owners in our lobby at a time, handing out forms to owners to complete in their cars before entering our clinic, and upping sanitizing procedures from our already rigorous standards.

We continued to monitor the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, and as it continued to spread, we made the very difficult decision to cancel our Sunday, March 15th Wellness Clinic. This event was intended to provide low-income families with basic pet wellness exams, treatment for infections, vaccines, and flea and tick treatments, along with pet supplies like leashes, carriers, food, and collars. However, we knew that cancellation would be in the best health interest for these pet owners, many of whom are older adults, and their families.

When the Shelter-In-Place Order for Napa County began on Friday, March 20th, I fully planned to keep open our Spay/Neuter Clinic – the only low-cost, high-quality, high-volume clinic in Napa County – so we could continue providing this life-saving surgery for our community’s pets. However, over the weekend, the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Veterinary Board, and the UC Davis Shelter Medicine Program (along with many other experts in the veterinary medical field) stated that while spay/neuter is essential during normal circumstances, these surgeries should be suspended at this time.  While I believe that spay/neuter is the single most important way to end unnecessary suffering of companion animals and reduce the number of puppies, kittens, and rabbits entering our shelter and local rescues, some of the supplies necessary for these life-saving surgeries are the same supplies our healthcare professionals desperately need right now to treat patients with COVID-19.

There is immense concern locally and around the world about the adequacy of personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies for healthcare workers on the frontlines of this pandemic. Our spay/neuter surgeries utilize some of these same PPE items. It would be irresponsible for any medical facility to conduct non-emergency procedures utilizing equipment that may be needed to save lives now. Following the guidelines for managing COVID-19 pandemic as set forth by experts in the field, I had to make the heart-wrenching decision to suspend services for our Spay/Neuter Clinic.

Like you and many others in our incredibly resilient community, I am hunkered down at home with my family (humans and pets). I’m trying to manage my kids’ virtual education, family time, my Napa Humane work and my role on the Napa Valley COAD (Community Organizations Active in Disaster) which is in full disaster response mode for our community. Crisis response is something we happen to have a lot of practice at, thanks to fires, PSPS events, more fires, and now a pandemic.

I know these are strange, scary, and sometimes challenging times our community is navigating through right now. But if we all do our part to flatten the curve (stay at home and wash those hands!), offer kindness and compassion to anyone we interact with (from 6 feet away, of course…), and try to make the best of this difficult situation, we will get through this together!

Take care and be well,

Wendi

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