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The objective of SPAY Montana is to reach those individuals and families that would not otherwise be able to afford this surgical proceedure through their local veterinarian. If you can afford this procedure, please do not take up a place that would otherwise go to someone in need. The majority of our clinics around the state have very large waiting lists.


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Tookie and the SPAY Montana team would like to send puppy kisses to 11 year old Caleb Hagestad for the time he spent and care he took to help a lost dog, and help us track down Tookie’s owner. Caleb made sure that Tookie was safe and secure. Tookie is an 8 month old Pit-bull. It seems that Tookie managed to lose himself in Billings, but was found by a very caring young man.
Caleb found Tookie around 2:00 o’clock or so on Thursday afternoon. He noticed that Tookie had a rabies tag on his collar, but first he had to make sure that Tookie was secure in his yard. As Caleb later explained to me on one of our phone conversations “he tied him up so he had lots of room to walk around and gave him fresh water”. He took down the phone number on the tag and phoned the Lewis & Clark Humane Society in Helena. A staff member at the shelter referred him to my phone number as I have spreadsheets for every community we partner with that includes tag numbers of the animals we vaccinate. Caleb phoned my number right away; however, I was in a meeting in Helena and had my cell phone off. Caleb left a message regarding the dog he had found. My meeting was rather long so I didn’t get back to Caleb until around 4:00 pm. He quickly explained the situation and gave me the tag number. I was on my way home when I returned his phone call and explained it would take me awhile to get the information and I would phone him back. Caleb said he would wait for my call and make sure the dog was safe. By this time I am thinking that the owner of the dog must be frantic.
As soon as I arrived home I phoned Caleb then dashed to my computer to look at the Billings spreadsheet for the tag number that would correlate with the owner’s name and contact information. What I thought was going to be a very quick “fix”, was now going to turn into a saga. The tag number was not on the spreadsheet. Apparently when Tookie went through check-out at the clinic after his neuter and recovery, someone at the check-out table failed to record the number on the surgery form…yikes this never happens! Back on the phone to Caleb, who reassured me that the dog was ok and he would wait for my next phone call. After getting a pretty good description of the dog I phoned our “records volunteer” Penny Tushingham who records and prepares all our spreadsheets after each clinic. She keeps the original forms once they have been recorded. We are now getting into the evening. Penny was on it right away. This is not an easy task I was asking. We did over 250 surgeries at that clinic and all we had was a description of the dog. Miracle….. the third sheet she read was a perfect match…and it did have a rabies sticker on the form without a tag number…this just had to be the right dog. Penny immediately phoned me with all the information. I phoned Tookie’s owner and sure enough….this was the dog that Caleb was taking care of. I phoned Caleb with the owners phone number and he took it from there….Happy ending for everyone thanks to this caring young man and our dedicated records volunteer Penny….Thanks again Caleb…hope you can come to our next clinic in Billings April 20th-22nd….we would really like to meet you in person!


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2011 has been a wonderful year for our furry friends and concerned owners. As I look back on 2011, there are some wonderful stories to share, stories that pulled our heart strings and I am sure will also pull yours. The story below is just one example of our journey through 2011.

We arrived in Billings last spring late in the afternoon. The plan was to set-up the clinic Friday evening so we would be ready for an early start on Saturday morning. As we all converged on the Metra I noticed a small camp trailer parked nearby the building.

As we begin the task of unloading a lady approached me holding a large box. She had three small children with her. She explained that she had seven six week old kittens in the box and she and her children were staying in the little camp trailer next to our truck. She had heard that we were doing a spay and neuter clinic that weekend but didn’t have a phone to call for an appointment. She decided to move her little trailer to the Metra and see if we could spay and neuter her kittens and mom. She needed to find homes for the kittens but she didn’t want to give them away until they were “fixed”. She further explained that she had fallen on hard times, lost her home and job and was awaiting money so she could move back to North Dakota where she had some family. The kittens now needed something other then “mothers milk” and she could barely feed herself , the children and Twinkle (her momma kitty).

We were really touched by the caring this woman demonstrated for these little kittens. She had so many obstacles to overcome, yet she wanted to make sure her kittens went to loving homes and wouldn’t be producing more kittens.

Happy ending for all. The five female kittens were spayed and the two male kittens were neutered as well as Twinkle. All the kittens found great homes with the various volunteers at the clinic. Twinkle was presented with a 20 pound bag of kitty food and mom and the children were given food vouchers. After an additional week in the trailer mom and the kids managed to get to their family in North Dakota. All are well.

We are seeing more and more stories like this one. More people are having to make choices between feeding their children or giving their beloved pet away. Shelters all over the state are feeling this influx due to the economy. We are seeing more people that once could afford to have this procedure done at their local veterinary office but no longer have the funds or means to do so.

If you would like to help, we have the “Sponsor A Spay” program. $25.00 will spay or neuter one cat or $35.00 a dog. If you would like to donate to “Sponsor A Spay” go to the LCHS website. Be sure and note that it is for spay and neuter as all spay neuter funds for our program are dedicated.

Thanks you all for your support this year! Happy New Year.

In Memory of Brian Anderson

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SPAY Montana lost a cherished member of our family on November 18th. Many of you know Brian Anderson as one of our Lead Veterinary Technicians. His cheerful, contagious smile, enthusiasm and out-going personality will be sadly missed by our community volunteers and his team mates.

Brian’s love for animal welfare and spay and neuter started many years ago. I first met Brian when I was the Clinic Director for the Montana Spay Neuter Task Force. I was struck by his compassion, kind and gentle nature, knowledge and sense of humor. Brian left his profession as a registered nurse in order to follow his dream into animal welfare.

Brian was like a bright light and magnet to the children who often times came to the clinics with their pets. He loved to teach and educate the youngsters and engage them in the process of their pet’s welfare. He was full of praises for their courage to “do the right thing” for their beloved pet.

Brian jumped on the train when SPAY Montana was formed. His demonstrations took giant leaps forward. Now Brian had not only the children but an entire audience as well. He would show them how to clip their pets nails and remove mats as well as grooming techniques to make their pet comfortable, and explain why that was a necessary part of responsible pet-ownership.

Through Brian, we begin training our other technicians how to do a quick dental check-up, remove tarter and teeth that were rotting or,on the verge of abscess, treat wounds, clean ears and a sufficient supply of antibiotics when needed. The mass majority of our clients have never seen a veterinarian or had any type of veterinary care and are unlikely to do so in the near future, so this is a one shot way of making sure our clients are comfortable and pain free for an extended period of time, or at least until the owners are in a financial position to find a local veterinarian for the lifetime care of their pet.
We know that Brian had a very large crowd waiting for him on the Rainbow Bridge, although that doesn’t dull the pain of his loss or heal the wound in our hearts it is comforting to know that Brian left a legacy that will continue to grow for many years to come.
We will miss you bro.

2011 “Blitz” Stories and Photographs

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The 2011 “Blitz” came off without a hitch. This 8-week-old puppy was one of 13 living under a building. She and the rest of her brothers and sisters were all spayed and neutered and have been adopted into their forever homes. Mom was a little more difficult to find but we did, and she will live out the remainder of her life free of pups and in foster care awaiting her forever home.

The photo below is mom just before her surgery! She had most likely lived on the streets for the majority of her life, if not all. We figured she is around 5 or 6 years old. A little girl that had many, many litters.

It was a harsh winter in Blackfeet Country and very difficult for the street dogs. Many had perished, however, we still had very full clinic days. Lot’s of puppies.

This next photo below is another dog who was tired of roaming and running so he and his volunteer are checking in for his neuter.

The two check-in volunteers were delighted to see their new customer. Of course they had to help him fill out his paper work.

The next photograph is a 6-week-old pup grabbing a quick drink from mom before surgery. She is one of 10 puppies, along with her mom that we brought back to Helena for adoption after surgery. She and her pups are doing great and they are permanently off the streets. Mom and her 10 puppies were found in an abandoned gas station, huddled around, and in old tires. After 6 hot dogs mom thought we were pretty cool so she finally let us put a leash around her and gather the pups. Three adult people trying to gather 10 wild as march hare pups must have been quite a sight. They were like little rockets and as we were getting them into kennels they were slipping out faster then greased pigs.
After 45 minutes of wrangling and chasing pups we were exhausted in 90 plus degree temperatures. As we were unloading the pups we noticed they were all in heaps in their kennels sound to sleep without a worry in the world. We were ready to nap with them.

This next photograph is of a lady that found a ride from Heart Butte with her 7 pups. The mother of the pups had been killed when the pups were 6 days old. She bottle fed them for the first 4 weeks then started feeding them some gruel. She cares for and feeds many of the street dogs in the Heart Butte area. The pups were a little over 5 weeks old when she came in. All 7 pups were spayed and neutered (5 females and 2 males) and returned to Heart Butte with their adopted mom in tow.

The photograph below is Dr. Kappas, one of our veterinarians speaking with one of the owners who brought his dog into the clinic. He was explaining that his dog was almost ten years old and had never had less then 11 puppies each time she gave birth. Many of the puppies ended up on the streets because he couldn’t find homes for them or afford to feed them. I had visited with him during my house to house visit prior to the “Blitz”. He said he knew about all the previous clinics but wasn’t sure if the risk might be too great for her. After much discussion he decided to take the plunge and come in. He was so relieved and I am sure his beloved dog was as well. As he was checking out he signed up to volunteer at the October clinic. His only regret was not doing this sooner. He was elated and in his words “has never seen anything like this”.

In the next couple of photographs you will see a few kitties. Nobody is turned away even at the “Blitz”. Unless cats and kittens are house kitties, rarely do they survive outdoors. In the first photograph we have a mom with her only surviving kitten. Unfortunately she had her kittens outside and all but one kitten survived. The second photograph is how a kitty arrived at the clinic. Very creative and it worked

Below is a photo of some of our great volunteers from the Global Volunteer Organization. The Global group of volunteers travel all over the United States. Last year during the “Blitz” they just happened to be doing a week in Browning. Early one morning two of them came to the clinic and volunteered. The following morning they were joined by the whole group. We were delighted to have them back again this year…. They are totally hooked. They have signed on for next years Blitz!

The next two photographs are young pups in various parts of surgery. In the first photograph a puppy had been prepped and is awaiting surgery. In the second photograph a litter of older pups that had been given a pre-anesthetic drug prior to going to the prep table. They are huddled together sound to sleep without a care in the world.

This takes us to our wrap up of the 2011 Blitz and final photograph.

It was a very successful clinic. Hundreds of dogs spayed or neutered, vaccinated, treated for wounds, dental problems and some for mange. This was also a wonderful opportunity to bring more public awareness and gather more volunteers then ever.

The City of Browning participated by donating their conference room and City Shop. The new Animal Control Officer was on hand to help recover dogs and trip after trip to the shelter. Aaron LaFromboise, Darrell Kipp, Denise Salois, Georgianna Horn and many, many others too numerous to name, worked very hard to prepare for a clinic this size. It takes a lot of manpower and planning when you have so many people descending on your community, housing to provide and meals to prepare. I would like to thank all of you on behalf of the SPAY Montana team for your courage to take this on, and perseverance to see it though.

We will be back in Browning for our usual two day fall clinic. By the end of this year we will have performed nearly 900 surgeries in Browning in 2011. This problem didn’t happen over night and it isn’t going to be manageable for a few more years, but we are making headway, one dog at a time.

If you would like to contribute financially to the “Blitz” please go to the link. All donations are tax deductible and any donation to one of the Browning clinics, the “Blitz” or any other community is dedicated money and will only go to the project that is designated. Over $7000.00 in donations were dedicated to the Blitz in 2011. I will leave you with this final image and a huge thank you for your support of the Browning Blitz. Sandy