The society has been performing spay and neuter operations on adopted pets at its own facility since 2005, but beginning Jan. 31, it will hand the bulk of the surgeries to Coalition: HUMAnE.
Lorrie Kalmbach-Ehlers, executive director for Coalition: HUMAnE, said the partnership makes sense.
“Overall, we’ll be doing 99 percent of the surgeries for them,” she said. “We are the experts in the field. If you need heart surgery, you go to a heart surgeon. But this is what we do — we’re the experts on spay and neuter. We have top-quality anesthesia and top-quality everything.”
The Humane Society will focuse on enhancing its cat adoption program and free up its surgical facility to provide better care for sick or injured animals.
The Coalition, Humans United to Minimize Animal Euthanasia, will forge ahead with its goal to eliminate the euthanization of homeless animals due to overpopulation.
The organizations often work hand-in-hand.
“We help them out in different ways,” Kalmbach-Ehlers said. “For one, we are reducing the number of homeless animals, so they have less animals going into their doors. We do some fundraising with the Humane Society for those who can’t even afford our modest fees.”
One of those events is “Whiskers Wine & Dine,” a dinner and auction which will be held in March at Clover Park Technical College in Lakewood.
The coalition serves Puget Sound. Some even travel to the facility from across the state, Kalmbach-Ehlers said.
“Overall, it’s through sheer numbers that we remain so affordable,” she said. “The more you do, the less each one costs, but we never skimp.”
Kalmbach-Ehlers said the average surgical procedure is between 58 and 60 per day, but they have the capacity to perform 62 a day.
The staff’s biggest reward is seeing that their efforts are not in vain.
“What we’re doing here is making a difference,” Kalmbach-Ehlers said. “There’s been a drastic reduction (in euthanasias). The year after we opened was the first year that (the Humane Society) had no dogs that were euthanized for the lack of homes.”
Last year, the coalition celebrated its 10,000th surgery by offering the procedure for free. Last Wednesday, a striped cat named Bada Bing got her surgery for free — she was the 15,000th patient. Her owner, Tom Frattini, received a gift basket.
“I was really surprised,” Frattini said. “I got a basket full of cat treats and a lot of toys. She loves these little things.”
Bada Bing’s visit was not the first one that brought Frattini to the clinic. He has trapped several feral cats in his neighborhood and brought them in.
But Bada Bing is his baby.
“They’re really doing something that changes this area,” he said of the coalition. “We’re really fortunate to have them. I can’t say enough about the service they provide.
“They’re genuine, and you can tell they care.”
Whiskers Wine & Dine
The seventh annual “Whiskers Wine & Dine” will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. March 12 at Clover Park Technical College, 4650 Steilacoom Blvd. SW in Lakewood. Reservations are $50 per person and include dinner as well as silent, live and dessert auctions. To purchase a ticket, call 253-265-2290 or visitwww.coalitionhumane.org.
Reach Lifestyles Coordinator and reporter Susan Schell at 253-853-9240 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.