I arrived at the Meigs County fairgrounds on June 10, in my white pick-up, with my large Great Dane riding shotgun.
His name is Robin — and no I am not Batwoman.
I was a little wary of what I would find while in line for the Ohio River Medical Mission’s free spay/neuter clinic. Would it be isolated and dangerous to stay there overnight so Robin would get to be one of the early birds for surgery the next morning?
There were already six vehicles ahead of us when we arrived, probably because it was the night before the last day of the clinic and, like me, many had tried and failed to make the cut of 10 to 12 dogs per day for the special surgery.
A couple of kind, cute and funny teenage girls were strolling with popcorn and already had an insider scoop. I was told by them upon arrival that, in fact, we would make the cut the next morning.
The wait was actually pleasant, and a kind of shared camaraderie grew among us as the quiet cool evening stretched out. Everybody was well-behaved, including the dogs.
The next day, Robin was lucky enough to receive his neuter for free. It went well, thanks to the tremendous kindness of the amazing team of angels who ran the gamut from effective and efficient managers, dedicated and caring volunteers, conscientious and talented medical staff, to trainees learning from the skills, savvy and tremendous expertise of the whole team as they cared for a deluge of animals from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m..
Many of the volunteers, including the vet, did not take a break. But for those who did — and for the public as well — the Coonhunters Clubhouse was open and serving food at a reasonable price. Much of the food was catered by the local elders group. Penny manned the fort, with an assist from Bill; they are seriously nice people.
The clinic provided quality care to hundreds of animals that day alone. These precious animals received shots, exams and assessments of conditions, as well as treatment and recommendations for any needed follow-up care.
In the end, what impressed me most was the state-of-the-art recovery practices for elective surgery demonstrated by the medical teams of professionals and volunteers. Each dog recovering from surgery was stroked gently and watched vigilantly until conscious. Each critter post-surgery was gently encouraged with kindness from being sound asleep to standing and walking. This is cutting-edge care. The compassionate touch has a “pawsitive” effect on the immune system and helps to ensure good recovery from the surgery.
It was also a privilege to see such collaborative action for the community helping people and animals on both sides of the river, provided by discrete agencies that cooperated with verve and mutual respect.
In particular, I would like to acknowledge Lt. Col. Dr. Julie Koupal, who is one gifted, meticulous veterinarian — a lion-hearted worker — and the consummately professional but warm and approachable Colleen Smith, who seemed to be everywhere at once helping coordinate the entire M.A.S.H. “tent “and the general public en masse, into running like a well-wound clock.
I know there are so many people who deserve mention, and I apologize for not being able to name them all. I also know that many people have already had a shout-out in event news articles. But, in any case it was clear from the enthusiasm of the entire crew that they were there to do all they could to help the animals — which is the best reason of all, and not for renown. Bless every one of you for making such a difference, so beautifully.
So many agencies who made this possible; including Buckeye Hills-Hocking Valley Regional Development, U.S. Army, U.S. Marine Corps, U.S. Navy, Meigs County Public Health Department, Meigs County Council on Aging, Meigs County Sheriffs’s Office and the Coonhunters Club of Meigs County.
Aminah Carrollis a resident of Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va.
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