Dakota Foley, a West Virginia native, has always enjoyed working with animals and volunteering at shelters and clinics serving pets and wildlife. But since attending Mississippi State University as a veterinary science student in 2021, she hasn’t had much time to do what she loves.
On Saturday morning, she got that opportunity. Foley was one of about 20 volunteers at the Oktibbeha County Humane Society’s rabies vaccine and microchip drive for area pet owners at Rick’s Cafe.
“It’s definitely nice to get hands-on experience,” Foley said. “Especially right before I go to clinics in like six months, I really like getting hands-on experience and knowledge, especially when you get one-on-one with doctors.”
Humane Society vice-president Ardra Morgan said the drive served almost double its usual intake from previous years on Saturday, bringing in 186 pets. Before, it was usually between 80 and 100.
“If an animal were to contract rabies, it’s a death sentence for them,” Morgan said. “There are so many people that, especially now, are having problems putting food on the table and keeping the heat going. So it’s even more important that Oktibbeha County Humane Society supports our community by providing this.”
The chips, she said, help owners find their pets if they ever run away.
Humane Society board member Meg Gibbons told The Dispatch the drive provides a cheaper option for the vaccine and chip, only costing $5 for the shot and $15 for the chip, as those services would typically cost upwards of $50 or more plus the cost to see the veterinarian.
“It’s an effort to just keep our pet population rabies free and make it an affordable vaccine for everyone,” Gibbons said. “We had people pre-register their animals for either the vaccine, a microchip or both.”
Morgan said besides the importance of vaccinating your pets, the chips will help prevent the shelter from reaching capacity with lost pets. The clinic has filled up its 100 spaces for animals several times this year.
“We have been at above max capacity at the shelter constantly,” Morgan said. “When one animal goes out, sometimes we get two and three that come in. It will help us reunite animals that come in. If an animal comes in and does not have a chip, after five days, we can’t just continue to hold the animal without putting it up for adoption.”
Sandra Woolfolk brought her dog Meeka to the drive after seeing it advertised on social media.
“Meeka likes to run around, so it was probably about time to get her chipped,” she said.
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