WATSONVILLE — Two colorful tree murals greet people and their pets when first stepping into the Spay and Neuter Clinic of the Pajaro Valley in Watsonville.
The murals, explained veterinarian technician Shannon Henderson, are dedicated to Ruth Nielson and Beverly Pini, who both left their estates to the Friends of the Watsonville Animal Shelter, a nonprofit organization that has been operating in the city since 2002.
“We really do owe them so much,” Henderson said.
Friends of the Watsonville Animal Shelter (FOWAS) expanded its reach last year further into South Santa Cruz County and North Monterey County when it relinquished spay and neuter operations to the new Spay and Neuter Clinic of the Pajaro Valley. The new low-cost clinic has been at its location on Pennsylvania Drive since October 2018 and has garnered a good deal of interest since.
“It’s been great,” said owner Melissa Allen. “People just stop in after walking or driving by to see what we do. We’ve been getting the word out.”
Henderson, a FOWAS volunteer, works alongside Allen and a small team of veterinarian technicians and other staff. The low-cost spay and neuter surgeries are subsidized by FOWAS, but as the clinic is now privately run, it also has flexibility in how it is managed.
“South County is such a different entity to the rest of the county,” Henderson said. “Having our own space gives us the ability to do things our own way.”
Years ago, an ordinance was secured in Santa Cruz County that legally, every pet had to be spay or neutered. Watsonville, explained Henderson, was the last to join in fully.
“A big issue here is that some people just can’t afford it,” she said. “They want to do the right thing. They just don’t have the means to.”
This is why it was important for the clinic to keep costs as low as possible. Currently, all cats can undergo surgery for $49, and most dogs for $199. A special price is offered for Chihuahuas and Pit Bulls at $75. Rabbits are $125 for spays and $75 for neuters. Free DA2PP and FVRCP vaccines are included.
ABOVE: Moorea Lippert (left) and her dog Louie listen as veterinarian technician Shannon Henderson explains post-surgery procedures at the Spay and Netuer Clinic of the Pajaro Valley. (Johanna Miller/Register-Pajaronian)
The clinic also works alongside FOWAS in promoting pet education in schools and in the public.
“There are some people out there who don’t think their animal needs the procedure,” Allen said. “We want to get people more knowledgable about that.”
Additionally, FOWAS helps the clinic in buying supplies and supporting the 2nd Chance Fund — which funds animals who need more than the usual amount of care.
“It’s just so nice to see how much people care,” said volunteer Joanne Allen. “You can see how much they love their pets. They worry, and they want things explained in detail. It’s really touching.”
To make an appointment and for information about the Spay and Neuter Clinic of the Pajaro Valley, call 818-5007 or visit thespayandneuterclinicofpv.com.