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Sputer Van
The back of the Spay/Neuter Van provided by Companion Animal Clinic. Note the personalized license plate!

This is the 2nd in a series of blog posts about efforts to help the animals of Montgomery County, NC:

(Special Thanks to Stephanie Franklin & Teresa Bruton for providing all photos in the blog post)



They ARE the “somebody”: 

How many of us have identified a problem somewhere and said to ourselves, “somebody should do something about that…” but yet never stepped up to address it ourselves.  Four women in Montgomery and neighboring Moore County not only saw the problem of pet overpopulation in Montgomery County but stepped up to be the “somebody” to help.    Two of these ladies, Pat Parrish and Teresa Bruton, are retired Special Education teachers.  The need for more affordable and accessible Spay/Neuter services in Montgomery County was made obvious to the Montgomery County Spay/Neuter Van Program founder, Pat Parrish, during her teaching career.  Ms Parrish notes, “I was very close to my kids and you get to know them very well.”   Many of the students were aware of Ms Parrish’s involvement in animal rescue work and so would mention to her that their dog had had puppies.  Oftentimes, Parrish would offer to find those puppies a good home/rescue, usually with a No-Kill shelter with whom she works in Raeford NC.  Going the extra mile and wanting a permanent solution to a problem, Parrish would also offer to take the family’s dog to the Spay/Neuter Clinic in Vass NC (neighboring Moore County) to have it spayed.  This experience is the seed that has blossomed into the Montgomery County Spay/Neuter Van Program. 

Stephanie Franklin & Teresa Bruton at early morning van loadup
Stephanie Franklin & Teresa Bruton at early morning van loadup



The beauty and purpose of the Montgomery County Spay/Neuter Van Program is that it enables many, many more people to take advantage of a very discounted spay/neuter program in neighboring Moore County.  This program is located at Companion Animal Clinic of the Sandhills in Vass NC, a 45-60 minute drive one-way from most parts of Montgomery County.   As animals have to be there early in the morning of their surgery date, getting there to take advantage of the discounted spay/neuter prices can be quite a chore if you work the standard 8 AM-5 PM workday or other shifts.  The Clinic actually owns the van that is used for the Montgomery County program (it’s actually available to several other neighboring counties as well) but these 4 ladies in Montgomery County are the ones really putting it to great use!  The Clinic takes care of van maintenance and insurance but funds for gas money currently come straight out of the pockets of the team that runs the Montgomery County program, except for the occasional donation of gas money by a grateful pet owner.


Teresa Bruton & Linda Bittner at an early morning van loadup
Teresa Bruton & Linda Bittner at an early morning van loadup

Pat Parrish is joined in her efforts by 3 other women,  (Teresa Bruton, Linda Bittner, and Stephanie Franklin)who each play an integral role.  Teresa serves as the scheduler.  The Veterinary Clinic gives the Montgomery County group dates and time slots.  These are publicized via newspaper posting and flyers in the post office and other locations around the county.   One of the ladies also volunteers for “Meals on Wheels” and spreads the word about the program while making deliveries.  The Department of Social Services is also letting their clients know about this valuable service.   Teresa then fields phone calls and emails from interested parties and coordinates the client meeting the Van.  To show you the level of dedication of this team, I should note that Teresa actually continued as the scheduler while recovering from a fractured leg earlier this year.  Linda serves as driver of the Van getting up before sunrise to get the Van to that week’s meeting spot around 6-6:30 AM!  Stephanie helps load and unload the animals, has personally sponsored several animals’ spay or neuter and helps spread the word about the program.

After the dogs & cats are loaded into crates in the Van, they are driven to the Companion Animal Clinic of the Sandhills where they receive their surgery.  If needed, discounted Rabies vaccines can be given.  After a period of recovery from anesthesia, the furry passengers are then returned to their owners at the same meeting spot at around 6-630 PM. 

Making it easy and accessible is key!

Having a discounted spay/neuter program or ANY spay/neuter program in the region has no value or positive effect unless pet owners can access it.  That is the thinking behind the provision of the Van and the Montgomery County teams use of it!  They not only make their meeting times early enough to get the animals to the clinic before time for surgery prep but the hours are usually early enough that someone can drop off their pet BEFORE work and pick them up AFTERWARDS with minimal interruption in their schedule or loss of income.  This is a hugely valuable service for those of ALL income brackets.  Pet owners do NOT have to be of a certain income level to have access to the Van transport!  To make the service even MORE accessible, the meeting points (usually well-known shopping center/business parking lots) are rotated to all corners of the 502 square mile, 27,000+ population County.  Pet owners who have mobility or transport issues making it impossible for them to meet the Van can arrange with the Montgomery County team to have their animal picked up at and returned to their home on a case-by-case basis.  Taking spay/neuter services “to the people” like this truly removes most all obstacles to getting the procedures performed.

Pat Parrish & Teresa Bruton load up a cat headed to the Spay/Neuter Clinic!
Pat Parrish & Teresa Bruton load up a cat headed to the Spay/Neuter Clinic!

 Just the Stats!

As you read these stats, I want you to keep in mind that the program has been going ONLY since March 2013!  To quote Ms Parrish, “we’re really JUST getting started….”:

Number of pets spayed/neutered as a direct result of the program between March-December 2013:  300

Number of passengers in the Van on a weekly basis:  12-20 (the assumption is that this number will grow and grow as the word spreads about the program)

Approximate costs for Spay/Neuter can be found here.   Pet owners in need can also apply for financial assistance which may bring the already deeply discounted prices down by $20-30!


Loading up the crates containing the furry passengers heading to their spay/neuter surgeries!
Neither rain nor shine deters the Montgomery County Spay/Neuter Van!

How You Can Help

SEND A GAS CARD:  All gas is paid for out-of-pocket by the ladies of the Van Program

RECYCLE:  Donations of crates, new or gently-used clean towels and blankets, cleaning supplies

REACH OUT:  Whether you’re located nearby or far away, if you would like to help these ladies do more,  please contact Teresa Bruton of the Montgomery County Spay/Neuter Van Program at about their needs

LIKE the group on their Facebook page to keep updated about their progress and their most current needs!

DONATE to help make more discounted spay/neuters available to citizens-in-need of Montgomery County at Companion Animal Clinic of the Sandhills (a 501c3 organization).  Please note that this clinic serves at least 4 rural counties so you can ask that your donation go to help Montgomery County specifically or to the general fund.

LIVE IN CHARLOTTE (NC) METRO AREA?  If you’re in the Charlotte Metro area and have donations, Fabulous McGrady and Friends Foundation (FMFF) will gladly pick them up and get them to Montgomery County.  We can be contacted at

In sharing the story of this fabulous team, we hope to inspire you to be THAT someone the next time you say to yourself “someone should do something about this.”  Positive change starts with YOU!  We’d love to hear YOUR stories of grassroots animal welfare efforts that you’ve started or of which you’re a part.

Crates loaded into the Van
Passengers ready to roll to their Spay/Neuter surgeries!
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