Starting April 24, the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) will open the doors to a brand new pet clinic on its property on West Ridge Road in Gainesville.
While HSNEGA has been offering basic wellness services for pets since 2010, the new Christian-David Healthy Pet Clinic will allow more people to take advantage of the lower-cost services, according to Executive Director Julie Edwards.
"A lot of people were having to decide between food for themselves and food for their pets or medications for themselves and medication for their pets, and we don't think people should have to make those choices," Edwards said. "Over the last eight years, we've seen it [the need] grow exponentially, so we introduced the idea for a healthy pet clinic."
That idea became a reality after Murray and Daphne David heard about the plans. The Davids, who three years ago gave the signature gift for a pet park at Gainesville's Northeast Georgia Medical Center, made a significant donation to HSNEGA for the facility now known as the Christian-David Healthy Pet Clinic.
"[We did it] so that more people can have the joy of having animals," said Daphne David. "Also, it's better for the community if all animals are rabies-vaccined and spayed and neutered. It's gives more people the chance to get those puppy licks and kitten purrs."
Edwards said the clinic is located in an area that had been once been occupied by Hall County Animal Control. Since that time, HSNEGA had used it for storage, so the space was perfect for the new clinic.
"The biggest thing we're going to be able to offer is time with a vet," Edwards said. "Up until now, we've just had one full-time vet and if they were in surgery, our staff have had to run pets back and forth to surgery so the vet could give shots there and then bring the pets back to clients.
Now, Edwards said, there are examination rooms for the clients and pets to have some one-on-one time with a vet. She noted that a second vet is now on staff - Dr. Summer Andersen joined the team last month - and that will help with additional clients. Edwards estimated that HSNEGA serves more than 10,000 pets annually for wellness services.
Edwards said the Healthy Pet Clinic offers preventative care, the services needed to keep pets "healthy and happy," as Edwards put it. She said while the clinic is designed to be low-cost, there's no income restriction for clients.
"You can come from anywhere - there's no residency restriction, there's no income restriction - but there are no appointments, so depending on the day, it could be rather busy," Edwards said.
The Christian-David Healthy Pet Clinic will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., plus one Saturday clinic per month.
Again, while the ribbon cutting for the new clinic was held this past Friday, the clinic will not be open for services until April 24.