HSPPR program brings low-cost veterinary care to community critters

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region’s Wellness Waggin’ brings low-cost routine veterinary care, such as vaccines and microchipping, to neighborhoods in need.

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region(HSPPR) offers low-cost veterinary care to residents of Southeast Colorado Springs through its mobile veterinary clinic, the Wellness Waggin’. The pop-up facility offers preventative care, such as wellness exams and vaccinations.

Commonly required vaccinations, such as the distemper and parvovirus combo, bordatella, which prevents kennel cough, feline distemper combo and rabies, are $10 each. Other services, like microchipping and licensing, are also available.

“We’re doing our best but there is a high demand for vet services,” said Gretchen Pressley, HSPPR’s community relations manager, “so we do ask that people make an appointment on our website.”

The appointment-only model not only helps HSPPR provide timely and efficient veterinary care, but it also limits the number of human interactions and keeps customers safe from COVID-19 exposure.

Wellness Waggin’ events help residents keep their pets healthy in areas that don’t have local veterinary providers. 

“We’re trying to reach the underserved portions of our communities,” said Pressley. “Communities that don’t have as many veterinary clinics in their region or maybe have a large number of people who don’t see a veterinarian and they’re in need of those services. … We’re targeting specifically community centers, YMCAs, just trying to reach [the] public that does not have access to veterinary care. 

“We did only start this program last September, and then we had to stop for a bit for COVID, so we’re always looking for new locations and new partners, and how to get those services as far as possible in our community.”

The mobile veterinary services have been very successful.

 “All of our August events were completely booked up, which is wonderful to see, and the YMCA location is no exception,” said Pressley. “We are having some no-shows, so we’re asking everyone if you believe you aren’t going to be able to make your appointment time [to] please cancel 24 hours in advance so we can give your spot to others in need.”

HSPPR has also been helping Southeast Colorado Springs manage its feral cat population, which has grown during the pandemic. Cats are independent animals and do well on their own, hunting rodents and birds that can cause problems in an urban setting. 

Additionally, spring and summer is considered “kitten season,” with female cats going into heat and delivering litters. Cats raised by stray mothers are usually not socialized with humans, which means they are often not adoption candidates. 

Instead of euthanizing feral or undersocialized cats, HSPPR offers barn cat adoptions, placing the feral cats with families in rural areas who have rodent problems in outbuildings. HSPPR also has a Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program that works with local “colony managers” to trap feral cats. The animals are then sterilized and vaccinated by HSPPR, and returned to the community. Their left ear is also “tipped,” so people encountering them in the wild can tell they’ve already been sterilized. 

HSPPR program brings low-cost veterinary care to community critters

Loki the cat peers out of its crate Aug. 13, while waiting to receive veterinary care at the Wellness Waggin’.

Cats are territorial, so the TNR cats help keep other strays out of the neighborhood without creating any more kittens.

“We do have resources on our website if cats are becoming a nuisance and you would like tips on how to keep them out of your yard,” said Pressley. “If you’d like to be part of our community cat program and help cut down on the cat population in your neighborhood, you can send a message to our TNR coordinator.”

Disclosure: Heidi Beedle is former HSPPR employee and current volunteer.

This had no impact on our editorial coverage or decisions.