Coastal Humane Society in Brunswick and Lincoln County Animal Shelter in Edgecomb are the proud owners of a new state-of-the-art mobile surgery unit, made possible through a $50,000 grant from Petco Foundation, an anonymous matching gift donation, and many additional donations from shelter supporters.
As one organization, the two shelters care for and find homes for 3,500 stray and surrendered animals per year across 40 towns, from Falmouth to Somerville. The organization assists an additional 1,500 pets through low-cost clinics and pet assistance programs.
Until now, the shelters’ veterinary team would perform from 12-30 surgeries a day in a tiny, outdated 6-by-8-foot space at the Range Road building in Brunswick, primarily spay/neuter surgeries. Dogs and cats at the Edgecomb location would have to be transported to and from Range Road to receive treatment.
Dr. Mandie Wehr, director of shelter operations and veterinarian for the shelters, handpicked the features of the new unit, a La Boit 26-foot spay/neuter mobile clinic, dramatically improving the shelters’ veterinary equipment.
“Transportation between facilities is a stressful ordeal for our animals,” said Wehr. “Stress isn’t good for healing, and adds to recovery time. What’s more, our facilities lacked space for animals to recuperate after surgery. Our ‘recovery ward’ for animals that have received care was no more than blankets on the floor of our small clinic.”
Because it lacked some key pieces of modern veterinary equipment, the shelter outsourced some surgeries to local veterinary clinics, incurring added costs.
Building new clinics in two locations, one at Range Road in Brunswick and one in Edgecomb, would be costly, so Wehr and shelter staff identified the solution: veterinary care on wheels that travels to the animals, and not the other way around.
The top-of-the-line model for Wehr and her veterinary team cost $238,000, which was “a bargain when compared to building two surgery suites,” she said.
The Petco Foundation awarded Coastal Humane Society and Lincoln County Animal Shelter a $50,000 grant to be used toward the purchase of the mobile surgery unit. Then, this spring, an anonymous donor promised to match every gift toward the unit up to $90,000. The support for the campaign that followed was huge – and the campaign was completed weeks ahead of the shelter’s goal.
The mobile surgery unit features everything Wehr and her team need and then some. Among the features are two surgery tables, an anesthesiology machine, diagnostic hardware, a “wet table,” and an X-ray machine.
“We are beyond excited,” said Wehr. “The (mobile surgery unit) will dramatically improve the efficiency of our clinical work and afford us the opportunity to provide the highest quality of care to our animals, more so than ever before.”
A video tour of the unit is posted at facebook.com/coastalhumanesociety. Donations to the mobile surgery unit campaign are still encouraged and will help the shelter pay for upkeep and maintenance of the unit. One can donate at coastlahumanesociety.org or mail donations to Coastal Humane Society, Mobile Surgery Unit, 190 Pleasant St., Brunswick, ME 04011. Checks should be made out to Coastal Humane Society.