Last night the s.o. told me that he had noticed some changes in Gracie—symptoms that might indicate the onset of her first heat. This was very bad news, since the appointment we had made with the low-cost spay clinic wasn't until July. They were booked solid and couldn't manage it any sooner.
There were many reasons we were anxious to get Gracie fixed ASAP. One was that we were less than eager to have male feral dogs climbing our dog-pen fence or breaking into our screened porch to try to get at her. A second was that the risk of various "female" cancers in dogs climbs precipitously if they are allowed to go into heat even once or twice. A third was our stance against pet overpopulation; we feel it is irresponsible to keep a dog intact if it is not top showdog breeding stock. And of course the fourth reason was that we are trying to find her a new home. It would make her a lot more marketable.
With reasons #1 and #2 especially in mind, I got up bright and early this morning and made some phone calls. The vet clinic that boarded Gracie when we first found her didn't have any openings, and at any rate their price was twice what the low-cost spay clinic charged.
Then I called our regular vet--the somewhat fancy and expensive clinic where we take Silver, Cairo, and Taxi.* I explained our situation. Out of the blue, the vet tech offered to do a charity spay on Gracie this very day, for a third of their usual cost. The discounted rate turned out to be five dollars cheaper than the low-cost spay clinic's price. This wasn't something they advertised, she explained, but they would be glad to do it for us because we were established customers and we were fostering Gracie and trying to do the right thing.
A couple of hours ago we got a call from one of the vets, letting us know that Gracie had done great in surgery and was waking up nicely. We're going to pick her up as soon as I finish my last appointment of the day.
What great people. I can't begin to say how grateful I am. Like the time the veterinary orthopedic surgeon gave us a "Good Samaritan" discount on Cairo's amputation, this is an example of how supportive the veterinary community around here can be. Animal lovers unite!
* This isn't some kind of doggie/kittie favoritism. When we adopted Silver from the pound, the Animal Control folks sent her there to be spayed because that was the place that had an appointment available. It was luck of the draw. But we turned out to like the place so much that we stuck with them.