On Jan. 28, 2011, Animal Rescue Friends of Idyllwild (ARF) opened the doors of Sadie’s Clinic for Pet Wellness to meet the basic medical needs of Idyllwild’s animal population. Since that time, Dr. Michael Nastro has been coming to the clinic in Oakwood Village on alternating Fridays and has seen more than 300 clients and their 420 cats and dogs.

For many, this has meant not having to make an uncomfortable drive down the mountain for routine veterinary care. For others, it has meant having any care for their animals.

The clinic was able to open thanks to funding mostly from three local benefactors. It does not make any profit. Since all client fees go directly to the vet, the clinic does not share in or benefit from that income. Once the clinic was set up with basic maintenance supplies and equipment, its operating expenses have been the minimal ongoing rent, electricity, insurance and advertising.

After proving itself for nearly a year, the clinic hoped it would fill such a need in the community that it would become self-supporting through individual donations. The clinic does not receive donations sent to ARF unless the donor so specifies.

The organization is committed to keeping its prices low. Office visits are only $20; heartworm prevention is sold at cost. Clinic staff is hoping the community will respond by collectively pledging at least $300 a month to support its operation. Twelve individuals or groups could sponsor expenses for one month, or partially fund a month.

Because our benefactors will no longer be providing financial support, six months worth of pledges will be needed to reopen the clinic after the first of the year, as we certainly hope to do.

Most clients express sincere and enthusiastic support for the presence of vet services on the Hill. It saves them time, money, and eliminates some of the stress to their pets. They appreciate the staff’s time to respond quickly to phone calls, make confirmation calls the day before scheduled clinic appointments, and follow-up to see how patients are progressing. Some clients have benefited from clinic volunteers providing transportation.

The last clinic of the year was Friday, Nov. 11. However, heartworm prevention medication can still be obtained. Call 659-1122 at any time and leave a message.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to ARF at P.O. Box 719, with a notation that the funds are for Sadie’s Clinic. The staff welcomes any suggestions for improving the services it has been offering as they continue to listen and learn from clients and patients. We are grateful to all who have trusted us with the care of their cats and dogs.