By Rae Arnett
Wendy Turner is dedicated to helping area residents find their lost pets and has even made a Facebook page to assist in these efforts. Turner was inspired to go even further and organize a microchip clinic on Sunday for area residents.
Turner has always had a heart for pets and keeping them in good homes.
“I started out with rescue and I still do rescue on my own. I see so many animals that their owners are missing,” said Turner, who is the Communicative Disorders Department secretary at Eastern New Mexico University.
People in Clovis and Portales submit photos of pets to Turner’s Facebook, “Wendy’s page for Lost Pets of Clovis and Portales,” that they found and pets that they have lost in hopes of getting them back to their homes.
Turner’s Facebook page has almost 500 likes.
One dog that appeared on Turner’s Facebook page and had been successfully returned to its owners was microchipped on Sunday.
This was the first time Turner has done a microchip clinic, but she hopes to make it a semi-annual event. “I want to do it every six to eight months and maybe get it into a spring-fall rotation so that is not as hot,” said Turner.
Approximately 125 pets were microchipped on Sunday afternoon, which was a much larger turnout than Turner expected.
“I only expected about 50 people to come out, and to more than double that number is great,” said Turner.
The people who attended had to pay a $20 fee. Of that price $10 had to be paid up front for the microchip.
Turner said almost everyone who registered showed up and those that missed the clinic would have the ability to use those microchips during the next clinic.
Many pets in the Clovis and Portales area end up at the area animal shelters, so microchips will help both the owners and the burden on the cities’ animal services.
“As soon as a pet comes into the pound they are scanned so the owners can be contacted,” said Turner.
Cindy Wilcox has been a Portales resident for more than 10 years and has noticed there is a need for animals to be microchipped in this area, even though she does not own pets herself since she is allergic to both dogs and cats.
“There are so many stolen and runaway animals in this area,” Wilcox said. “If they are chipped, they are able to be found in a timely manner.”
Turner is also registering the microchipped pets herself, as well as being listed as a secondary contact for the pets, unless the owners change it on their paperwork.
“The biggest mistake that happens when pet owners get microchips is they forget to register them online, so I am doing it for the owners to help them even more,” said Turner.
Although Turner’s efforts are strong to fix the stray and lost animal problem in the area, she felt she needed help from friends and family.
“I could not have done it without the help from my friends, mother, and (veterinarian) Consuela Conley” said Turner.
Conley is a certified veterinarian from Albuquerque who came down to Portales specifically for the clinic. Conley microchipped all the dogs for free and on her own time.
Turner hopes to find a business in Portales to house the clinic in next time so that they can stay out of the heat.