Owners can take advantage of a discounted cargo rate to send pets into Anchorage for veterinary care.
DILLINGHAM: Dan Boyd is the Animal Control Officer in Dillingham, one of many rural communities without a veterinarian. Boyd says he fields a lot of phone calls from pet owners asking when the next mobile vet clinic will come to town.
"I've been getting calls left and right," says Boyd, "but it doesn't look the a mobile clinic will be here until maybe late August."
Mobile vet clinics give owners a chance to have pets seen by a vet without footing the bill for flying the pet to Anchorage. Getting pets to Anchorage is tricky, and can get pricey, as they often travel as excess baggage on a passenger flight or as air cargo.
Three years on the job, Boyd has often worked with air cargo companies to ship to Anchorage animals he feels may get adopted in a larger market. He approached the companies about offering a discounted rate for all animals needing a trip to the vet, and found an empathetic ear with Everts Air Cargo Marketing and Sales Executive Jill Bingman.
"Jill's originally from Dillingham herself," said Boyd. "She's seen the need here and other places for getting dogs and cats to Anchorage for vet care. She approached her bosses about doing a really discounted airfare for pets, and her program has just been put in place."
Known as the Everts Animal Care Program, owners can now ship an animal from any Everts station to Anchorage for just $50.
"Everts Air Cargo is very committed to our communities," said Bingman, "and we're all a bunch of pet lovers, so we're proud of this new program. Through our scheduled service, animals can travel to veterinary appointments, including spay and neuter, vaccinations, emergencies, and so on, for the $50 roundtrip ticket."
In addition, Bingman said Everts will provide free transport for animals being put up for adoption through local law enforcement and animal control officers.
"Hopefully this will help," said Boyd, who too often sees the effects of pets who don't receive treatment. "It's not the same as having a vet here, but it is better access to a vet at a lower cost."
To take advantage of the reduced price, pets need to have a vet appointment and travel in a suitable kennel. Owners need to make a prepaid reservation with any Everts station. On the receiving end, it's important that someone pick up the animal within two hours of arriving at the airport.
"This program may go away real fast if the animals, when they get to Anchorage, aren't picked up in a timely matter," said Boyd.
Several veterinarians and some third parties offer a pick-up and drop-off service. Boyd is checking to see if those services or other non-profits can develop a reduced rate for the ground transport in Anchorage.
Any of Everts 13 stations can take reservations for pets. Boyd says he has a limited number of city-owned kennels he can lend for the transport.