Whitehall senior Andrew Barrett tightly cradled his dog Raven for more than a half hour as he waited patiently out in the cold to get his pooch her rabies vaccination.
Rabies vaccinations were available to pet owners for $10 at the Rabies and Licensing Clinic held for two hours Thursday at the Isabella County Animal Shelter, located at 1105 S. Isabella Road.
Barrett, who adopted Raven from the shelter a few years ago, did not let the freezing temperatures keep him from standing in line.
“The vaccination is important enough to stay here and wait through the cold,” Barrett said as he held his dog in a blanket. “I don’t mind the wait because the shelter does a great job taking care of the animals.”
The shelter was scheduled to have its rabies and licensing clinic last week, but had to reschedule for Thursday due to poor weather conditions.
Chelsea Tenwalde, the canine care supervisor at the shelter, explained the need for rabies shots as well as what students should do if they find stray dogs.
“Rabies shots are especially important because they are required in the state of Michigan,” Tenwalde said. “If a student finds a stray dog in Isabella County, it’s best to just bring it in to the shelter, or else call Central Dispatch.”
When the clinic opened at 5 p.m., a lengthy line of more than 60 pet owners and their dogs formed outside the shelter, almost reaching the road. Many customers were forced to park on Isabella Road and walk through the thick snow just to get in line, due to the cluttered parking lot.
Michigan State Police showed up as well, after the number of cars parked on Isabella Road caused traffic backups.
Shepherd resident Kelly Oshay stressed the responsibility dog owners have when it comes to their pets’ health, as he waited in line with his dog Jack.
“It’s very important to get your dog checked at least twice a year,” Oshay said. “Stray dogs should be taken to the shelter as well, so they can be checked on – it can save their lives.”