Photo: Dr. Darren Lynde with one of his patients
(Gillette, Wyo.) Animal Medical Center of Wyoming decided in June that there was a need for a year-round low-cost clinic for cats and dogs in Campbell County. They opened an expansion of their services, called the Community Clinic, on June 27th, next to Good Times on South Douglas Highway.
The clinic offers vet services at a lower cost than the Animal Shelter in Gillette, effectively making the shelter's Spring-and-Fall vaccination and spaying events obsolete. The shelter's low-cost services were only twice a year, and people would have to wait in long lines to take advantage of $7 shots. In fact, this past Saturday's rabies clinic will be the last one held by the Campbell County Animal Shelter, since the new Community Vet Clinic can serve anyone in need, Monday through Friday, for $6.
"Because of the economic downturn, some people and their animals need a little extra help, and we want to provide that," said Dr. Darren Lynde. "After 25 years of practice at the main Animal Medical Center, the community has been wonderful to us, and we felt like this was our opportunity to give back."
Veterinarians and other staff from the AMC rotate their shifts so that someone trusted from their organization is always on-site at the clinic. With less than two months in operation, it's estimated that thousands of unwanted puppies and kittens have been prevented. Every un-spayed or -neutered cat can produce a dozen kittens every year. The numbers grow exponentially from there.
"If you see a male and female running around town and do nothing about it, there's potentially 382 little ones produced in three years."
This was the opportunity the Animal Medical Center had been waiting for to get the animal community the help it needed. They've been thinking about opening a low-cost clinic for a while, but it wasn't until recently that they put plans in to motion to go ahead and do it. The timing was just right, Lynde said. Even relying just on word of mouth, hundreds of people have already taken advantage of their services, with an average of 15-20 pets a day being seen by the clinic.
"The response has been amazing," Dr. Lynde said. "Every day there seems to be more and more animals, every day we always have several animals here."
Lynde says it's been eye opening to how many animals are out in the county that weren't being treated because of cost. About half the animals they see every day are strays that are being spayed for Animal Control, about to be adopted out to new homes. Unlike some of the spay and neuter events that come to town and do a couple hundred procedures in one weekend, the Community Clinic is available for followups for people with concerns, which are free.
"There's always someone available to answer questions," said Dr. Lynde. "This is always an option for an animal to get the basic health needs that they have."
The plan is for the Community Clinic to be a permanent part of Gillette. Not only are they keeping the animal population in check, they're keeping it disease-free. Lynde says it's as fun for the staff as it is beneficial for residents.
"We love coming here. Everyone loves rotating through here and knowing that they're making a difference."
If you find a stray that you don't plan to keep, the Animal Shelter on Warlow Drive is still the place to go. But if you're in need of treatment for your furry friend, the Community Vet Clinic is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., on 2701 South Douglas Highway. You do not need an appointment.