Happy Healthy

Happy Healthy

By: Judy Hamontre, AVHS Board Member & Volunteer

A healthy animal is a happy animal, and the animals at Ark-Valley Humane Society (AVHS) receive the very best medical care to keep them happy.

All staff members are trained to do initial health exams on each animal that comes into the shelter.  If a staff member notices anything of concern during this exam, then the animal is referred to veterinarian, Dr. Annie Schultz-Cordova, DVM.

Animals that appear healthy, are up to date on rabies vaccines, and are already spayed/neutered, may not see Dr. Annie who is at the facility on a part-time, as is needed basis.

She is always there on Tuesdays, surgery day.  Most of those surgeries are spays/neuters for animals entering the shelter.  Occasionally other surgical procedures for shelter animals, such as correction for cherry eye or mass removal are done as well as doggy and kitty dentals.

Assisting her in surgery and keeping the medical aspect of AVHS running is Medical Coordinator, Nikki Ritter.  Her job is a full one.

Nikki’s medical duties include: keeping medical inventory stocked; deep cleaning and sterilizing for surgery; prepping animals for surgery and monitoring them during and after surgery; supervising isolation area animal care, blood draws, vaccinations; and seeing that all animals are healthy and receiving any necessary medications or special diets.

Of course, detailed medical records are maintained for all animals and require time to enter into computer programs. Also, the job requires coordination with Dr. Annie and all staff who lovingly tend to animals.

Surgery day is particularly long and exhausting, especially when several young animals are being spayed or neutered.  Prepping and monitoring wiggly, scared puppies and kittens while reassuring with extra TLC is no easy task.  Then after surgery is post-op pain care and administering antibiotics.

Nikki’s day ends late, as she is certain all sweet fluff balls are ok before tucking them in for the night.

The next day she is back on the job monitoring, double checking, restocking, and, along with the assistance of AVHS staff, filling prescriptions, and completing tons of paperwork so animals will be ready for adoption.

Nikki, Dr. Annie, and all staff are grateful for their new surgical suite.  It is much larger than the old suite which allows room for floor and wall cabinets that provide ample space to store all surgery items, including back stock of items.  There also is more counter space and most importantly, more room to move around.

A new LED light will soon make the room brighter and give off less heat, so standing underneath it for hours at a time will be more bearable.

Definitely medical care for animals at AVHS is top notch, and that along with their socialization and enrichment plus lots of attentive, loving care from staff and volunteers make the cats and dogs healthy and happy.

They are ready for you to adopt and promise to make you happier and healthier.  Go to ark-valley.org or call

(719) 395-2737.


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