Just on the edge of Checotah, where US 69 crosses old 69 highway, Checotah’s no-kill animal shelter sits beside the Smart Choices Low-cost Spay and Neuter Clinic. And every Thursday, an assembly line of volunteers springs into action to get as many dogs and cats spayed and neutered as possible.
Yesterday, the clinic set a new record: 126 spays and neuters and one emergency C-section. The clinic is funded in part Checotah native country music superstar Carrie Underwood, who keeps the place in equipment and supplies.
Every Thursday, Dr. Brady Robbins travels from his Ark Clinic in Claremore to perform the spays and neuters in Checotah, and he’s performed 15,000 operations in the little town since 2013.
“It’s about as many as we send on transport out of state,” Robbins said. “A lot of those pets would otherwise be put to sleep. We are giving them a new life to be with new families, not out reproducing, starving or running in packs. Carrie’s support here lets me do surgeries for lower cost than other clinics.”
Out-of-state pet transports crave animals for adoption in other states so they’re not put to sleep here, but they won’t accept pets that aren’t spayed or neutered.
Kate Paris, director of the shelter, said volunteers are just as important as the financial support from Underwood. Volunteers prep the animals for surgery, clean and sanitize the equipment and make sure the clinic and all its kennels stay clean from week to week. And with 126 surgeries, that organization is more important than ever.
“I don’t know whether it’s the full moon, income taxes coming in or just nice weather,” she said. “I’m just so thankful that so many in the surrounding communities are caring to take responsibility for their pets.”
The clinic is only open on Thursdays. It charges $30 for a cat spay or neuter, $35 for male dogs, $40 for female dogs and $50 for pregnant dogs. Rabies vaccinations are included with all surgeries. Be sure your pet has no food or water after midnight the night before you bring them in, and the clinic asks that all animals be there by 8:30 a.m. the day of surgery. You can reach the clinic here.