The phone team at Texas Coalition for Animal Protection was stunned as the surge of calls rolled in one after the other. It’s not like they weren’t used to getting inquiries about low-cost pet services such as vaccinations and spay and neuter services — after all, that’s what TCAP is known for. But these calls were different and far more urgent.
COVID-19 was hitting families throughout Denton County extremely hard. Some were sick. Others were healthy but had been laid off from work. In some cases, people couldn’t find a low-cost clinic that was still open amid the pandemic that could help provide basic wellness services to keep their pet safe and healthy.
In every case, callers were struggling to find the means to pay for the care their pets desperately needed.
“If you don’t have a job, you may find yourself making the decision to put food on the table for your family or take care of your pet’s basic wellness needs,” said Tiffany Ditto, TCAP’s marketing coordinator. “We don’t want to see pets end up in shelters. Our mission is to save lives, and we want to keep families and their pets together as much as possible.”
In non-pandemic times, TCAP is a low-cost alternative that partners with full-service veterinary clinics and animal shelters to fill a void for animals that deserve quality care at a price their owners can afford. That’s what they’ve been doing for 19 years, and we’d venture to say no one does it better. During the coronavirus crisis — which is now stretching into year two —TCAP’s work has shifted significantly. Last year alone, TCAP spayed and neutered 63,410 animals. Of those, they sterilized 15,224 cats and dogs at no cost to the pet owner.
The numbers are truly staggering. In May, they spayed and neutered 3,015 cats across what was seven clinics at the time. In July, they helped 3,293 cats, and 3,186 feline sterilizations in September.
Those numbers don’t include numerous free vaccine events TCAP hosted throughout the year.
All totaled, TCAP provided $1.4 million in free pet services in 2020.
“We acknowledged that COVID-19 was hitting people hard,” Ditto said. “We made a point to continue providing lifesaving, vital services. Our mission is to save lives, so we needed to stay open — not just for our staff so that they could have a job but also for the people who have fewer resources for their pets.”
Schumacher agreed, adding, “What overwhelms most pet owners is the cost factor,” she said. “They love their animals, but the cost is sometimes unattainable. “Our focus is to provide services at the lowest cost and with the best care. We focus on customer service from a very compassionate, caring veterinary team.”
That’s the way TCAP has always been, though. Schumacher started the non-profit with one location in 2002 and has proudly watched it grow to include eight locations. Since being founded, TCAP has sterilized more than 550,000 North Texas animals and vaccinated more than 1 million against the deadly rabies virus.
What they do in terms of services is very limited. They specialize only in spay and neuter services, vaccinations, heartworm testing and prevention, microchipping services, and dental care. While their services are limited, much of the care is both affordable and offered on a walk-in basis. For example, a full set of vaccines could cost a pet owner as little as $25. Spay and neuter services are offered by appointment and range between $35-
$65, which is roughly 70-80 percent cheaper than a full-service vet clinic.
They offer wellness kits for puppies where customers can have all shots, microchipping, and spay and neuter services for as little as $150. For a kitten, the same wellness kit can run as low as $130. Both kits essentially cover everything a puppy or kitten would need in its first year of life. TCAP also works with several animal shelters in the area to provide spay and neuter services onsite to help service pets owned by customers who are unable to transport their pets to a TCAP location.
With a pandemic raging on, pet services are equally important to so many families.
TCAP continues to answer their call.
940.566.5551 | TexasForThem.org | 713 Sunset St. Denton, TX 76201
photography by Your Candid Memories (YourCandidMemories.com)