Humane Society Sweats It Out
“Whoa! This one’s a biter- he gets sedated,” says visiting veterinarian Dr Brian Baumgard as he yanks his hand away from the gnashing teeth of a dog with a stick lodged in its upper throat. “I don’t need a dog bite to compound this heat exhaustion.”
Dr Baumgard is one of three animal doctors- the others being Dr Eileen Nauman and veterinary student Leticia Lopez- who were visiting the island as part of the Molokai Humane Society’s monthly veterinary clinic at their makeshift facility in Julie Cohelo’s house. Over 30 pets were brought to see the two vets on a sweltering thursday, who worked tirelessly to spay, neuter, and perform necessary operations and checkups on the rising tide of feral cats and unfixed dogs which have accumulated on Molokai this year.
Molokai Humane Society has a problem, unfortunately; their status is dropping to ‘homeless’ from it’s current toehold on ‘couch surfer’ because they are losing their makeshift facility at the Cohelo residence in September.
“Julie has been very generous for donating her home and time over the years and really, the community has been quite supportive whenever we have asked for anything,” says Humane Society volunteer Don Hill, “which gets me thinking- maybe we should ask for more stuff!”
That the Molokai Humane Society is not loudly demanding ‘more stuff’- a permanent facility and funding for a veterinarian, for example- is really a credit to their ‘can-do attitude’. The weekly clinic operates off of the Humane Society’s regular budget and a sporadic influx of donated money, medicine, syringes and other tools, and volunteer time. Since Dr Nauman began making her weekly visits in November 2005, the Molokai Humane Society has been able to perform over 250 sterilizations (spaying or neutering), which includes an 8 week period when Nauman broke her leg and was unable to visit.
“(A sterilization) costs the pet owner $10, the Humane Society pays about $70 or $80 per pet, so we think it’s a worthwhile service”, says Hill, grateful for a break on a hot day. “These are domestic animals- they are only here because we want them around. We’d like a permanent home (for the Humane Society) but that’s out of my hands.”