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Hundreds line up to get rabies shots for pets

POSTED: April 2, 2008 5:01 a.m.
ROBIN MICHENER NATHAN/The Times

Sandy Jordan holds her dog, Sadie, as Dr. Doug Tanner gives her a rabies shot Saturday morning at the rabies clinic at the Humane Society of Hall County.

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Dr. Doug Tanner has a simple technique for vaccinating a long, tail-wagging line of furry, four-legged animals for rabies: "Hurry."

Dog after dog, the retired veterinarian inserted fresh needles into hindquarters of varying colors, shapes and sizes and injected 1 cc of Rabdomun 1, a rabies vaccine. Some took it with barely a whimper, others with a growl.

"Every dog is different," said Tanner, who injected close to 500 in less than four hours Saturday during a vaccination drive held by the Humane Society of Hall County. "Some are bad and some are not. Sometimes the needle stings and sometimes it doesn’t. Some don’t care and some do."

Volunteer Sandy Taylor was one of two Humane Society workers bitten during the parade of pets. She shrugged off the flesh wound on her right hand, which was quickly patched up with a Band-Aid.

"It happens," she said. "They get frightened."

Saturday’s turnout was high, with cars backed up on Ridge Road for the $10 vaccinations.

"It’s much larger than normal," Humane Society president Rick Aiken said.

The reason for the vaccination clinic was a rash of rabies cases involving wild animals in Hall County, with 12 confirmed rabid raccoons or skunks found since the beginning of the year.

"It made people aware," said Aiken, who added that annual vaccinations are a state law and county ordinance. "Normally we don’t see this many (rabies cases) in a year."

The large gathering of dogs waiting on their masters’ leashes in the Humane Society parking lot made for some interesting moments.

Rickey and Claudia Baugh’s treeing walker coonhound, Candy, didn’t handle the scene well.

"She’s just a puppy," Claudia Baugh said. "She doesn’t know what to think."

The Baughs decided to come back with Candy and their six beagles on another day. They already paid the discounted rate for the vaccinations.

Jenna Browning’s blue heeler, Yoder, took the needle "pretty good," Browning said. "He got along with the other dogs better than I thought he would. I was impressed."

Browning said news of recent rabies cases prompted her visit.

"We’ve heard they were pretty bad, and just wanted to make sure that he was safe and wouldn’t get it," she said.

Daniel Morrison of Buford brought in his 6-year-old American pit bull, Helios, for his shot more for the convenience and price than any rabies scare.

"You can’t get this over in Gwinnett," he said. "You’ve got to make an appointment and it’s twice as much."

Morrison said his dog took the shot with quiet indifference.

"He just sits there like a big baby," he said.



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