Videos of kittens, puppies, sugar gliders and other varieties of small, fluffy critters fill our social media newsfeeds every day (or is that just me?). We love the thought of fuzzy creatures running around doing cute things, but a surprisingly few people like the thought of caring for them as adults. This is evidenced by the overabundance of cats and dogs running loose, suffering in captivity, or sadly awaiting their turn to face the back room.
Dr. Stacy Steele and her team at Ocean Shores Animal Hospital take the care and keeping of four-footed creatures very seriously. Their method of care includes population control, community education, partnership with non-profit shelters and organizations, worldwide volunteerism, and of course quality medical treatment. Dr. Steele struck out on her own eight years ago in Ocean Shores after years of being an associate veterinarian. Her mission is to advocate for those who can’t speak for themselves.
Her care team’s involvement in various projects and missions takes them around the globe to countries like Romania and Cambodia. Hospital team members volunteer to attend with Dr. Steele once or twice a year. According to office manager, Linda Thornton, Dr. Steele is a much appreciated surgeon in the World Vets Organization. Overseas, Dr. Steele performs dozens of spay and neuter surgeries and helps educate communities on parasite control.
Closer to home, the efforts are direct and consistent with the hospital hosting free spay and neuter clinics in partnership with North Beach PAWS and working with other rescue organizations, like Old Dog Haven, a group that pulls senior dogs from shelters and places them with foster homes. Ocean Shores Animal Hospital not only helps provide medical care for some of these senior rescue dogs, but their staff members also have personally volunteered their homes. Dr. Steele has adopted two dogs while Linda has adopted one and fostered 12 over the last five years.
Linda’s favorite story of adoption was when fostering an emaciated and pregnant chihuahua with a severe heart-murmur. “Little Miss,” despite the odds, gave birth to one healthy pup named Gigi. Through sponsorship and donations, Gigi received the care she needed and was eventually adopted. Her mama, Little Miss, was also adopted by an elderly woman who also had heart problems. “
It’s so awesome to see rescue dogs happy and healthy,” says Linda. “It sounds odd, but my favorite thing is rehoming a dog that I fostered, have them come into the clinic with their owners, and see that they aren’t running to see me. It means they have settled in their new home and are happy.”
“We promote spaying and neutering pets, rescue, and foster care. The idea is that if you spay and neuter your pets, then you don’t need rescue homes. Sure, kittens are cute. But every time another cat has a litter and those kittens find homes, they keep a cat who was already homeless from getting adopted. There are far more pets and strays out there than there are potential owners,” explains Linda. “Besides the problem of overpopulation, 75% of roadkill pets are unneutered males and more than 90% of fatalities to humans are done by unneutered males.”
The hospital believes in finding forever homes for young and old pets alike and in achieving the best possible health for those pets. “We want the best level of health for animals and the community as a whole,” says Linda. Not just physical health either – the clinic is practicing a concept called the “fear-free protocol.” The care team is trained to interact with animals in a way that reduces stress, rather than increase it, making your vet visit far more relaxed and simple. Cardboard boxes are saved for cats to sit in while calming pheromones are sprayed on blankets and in kennels. Pets are encouraged to sit in windowsills and given delicious treats to help build trust.
A great way to meet the Ocean Shores Animal Hospital care team or learn more about adoption and pet foster care would be to attend the upcoming birthday party for Sammy. Sammy is a dog who has been rescued through Old Dog Haven and is turning 21. This birthday party will be hosted at the Pirate’s Cove Pub next door to the hospital on October 2. This party will double as a fundraiser for Old Dog Haven and the whole Ocean Shores community is invited.
Check out the hospital’s Facebook Page for more information and details about pets, adoption, and local ways you can help promote healthy animals and a healthy community.
Ocean Shores Animal Hospital
800 Ocean Shores Blvd NW
Ocean Shores, WA 98569