Today celebrates 20 years of service at the Friends of Animals Low-Cost Spaying Clinic at Cedar Creek Lake in Gun Barrel City. On July 30, 2002 when the clinic opened they performed 27 surgeries including 16 cats and 11 dogs and now they average 50 every Tuesday they are open.
Alongside a team of “the best volunteers in the world,” founder Sydney Busch and Dr. Glen Campbell have been able to perform over 50,000 surgeries on cats and dogs and provide affordable basic services like vaccinations.
When the Busch Clinic Director and her husband, Ed, moved to the Cedar Creek Lake area after being heavily involved with the Texas SPCA in Dallas, they recognized there was a cat and dog problem. wanderers. Instead of opening a shelter, they were told that the best thing to do would be to open a low-cost sterilization clinic.
The Busches, along with Sandy Ward, spent a year and a half securing the proper property, volunteers and equipment. When it came time to find a vet, Ed went to the Texas A&M Veterinary website where he found Dr. Glen Campbell who was looking to work at a clinic like theirs.
It takes an amazing vet to perform 50-60 surgeries every day the clinic is open, but Dr. Campbell does it brilliantly. Each operation takes about 10 minutes. Once, when a vet replaced Dr. Campbell, he was exhausted after just four surgeries. Dr. Campbell’s speed is one of the reasons he is appreciated, but his compassion for volunteers and animals is the main one.
Dr. Campbell only performs spaying surgeries, but if an animal has a hernia or other issues near the site of surgery, they will be corrected as well. He sold his veterinary practice to Garland a few years ago and he now assists Animal Friends and other spaying clinics full time.
The clinic is not large and the volunteers have a nice symphony of routine and gentleness in terms of surgery. There is a specific place for each helper and the volunteers take their responsibilities very seriously.
Some volunteers haven’t been at the clinic long, but there are those like Leslie Kelly, Holly Press, Janice Hunt, Lou Wiley, Joy Simmons and Sandy Ward who have been with them the whole time.
Dr. Robert Garcia and Vet Tech Holly Press are instrumental in monitoring animals as they arrive and provide services to them. Joy Simmons and Debbie Starr tirelessly help with administrative tasks.
About 30 volunteers are needed to run the clinic each day it is open, which is every Tuesday by appointment and the second Saturday of the month for vaccination clinics. Not only are these special volunteers the first face a family sees when they walk through the door, but they are also the ones whose faces are never seen because they are at the back making sure the surgical tools are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized and animals are comfortable after surgery.
All animals must have an appointment unless you bring a feral cat, in which they can be brought in early Tuesday morning. Each animal is weighed, their temperature is taken and they receive a fast acting flea treatment for 24 hours so that the animals go home flea free and there are no fleas present in the clinic.
According to Busch, they are the only spay/neuter clinic in the world that performs a thorough checkup on every operated cat. After the operation is complete, the cats are brought in for a cuts and abrasions inspection and ear cleaning as most of them are outdoor or feral cats.
Join Friends of Animals, Athens Animal Shelter and The Humane Society of Cedar Creek for their Whiskers & Wags Oscars Night Fundraising Gala on September 10 at the Cain Center.
There are always needs for the clinic and monetary donations are the most useful. For more information on how you can help the clinic, volunteer or to book an appointment, visit www.friendsoftheanimals.org or call 903-887-7387. The clinic is located at 122 Old Gun Barrel Lane in Gun Barrel City.