Newsprint for paws

Published 11:13 pm Thursday, December 27, 2012

(Matthew A. Ward/Suffolk News-Herald) At The COVE Center for Veterinary Expertise in North Suffolk Thursday, veterinary technician Jessica Sprouse changes the bedding in a cage inhabited by 11-year-old Dachshund “Molly.” The hospital encourages citizens to bring in their old newspapers and things like blankets to help meet the demand for fresh bedding.

Suffolk’s 24/7 emergency veterinary hospital is encouraging citizens to help make today’s news tomorrow’s pet cage liner.

The COVE Center of Veterinary Expertise, at 6550 Hampton Roads Parkway, uses old newspapers to line its 50-odd cages.

Members of the public, often clients, bring in their old newsprint instead of dumping it in the recycling bin.

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“I think it comes in stages a little bit,” hospital manager Danielle Russ said. “People kind of remember then bring in a bunch, then don’t. We’re pretty well stocked now.”

The newspapers are used to line the bottom of the cages. Bedding, which the hospital also accepts, is placed on top.

“It makes it a little bit easier as far as cleaning up,” Russ said. “It’s very, very helpful to have the donations.”

Bedding, and hence newspaper, is changed in cages at least daily, and more often three or four times a day, Russ said.

“We get them out for walkies and take the opportunity to change the bedding,” she said.

Sometimes a pet will only be caged for a couple of hours, after which the bedding is automatically changed, she added. After being used to line cages, newspaper that is not too soiled is still recycled.

In terms of bedding, donations of old towels and sheets, blankets and comforters are encouraged. Fleece blankets are particularly sought after, Russ said.

“Because we deal with patients that are injured and geriatric, it’s very important that we make them extra comfortable,” she said.

The hospital is not able to use donations of pet food, as many patients at the hospital are on special diets. It asks those who wish to donate pet food to give it to the Society for The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or Suffolk Humane Society.

Since opening about seven months ago, The COVE has been well received by area veterinarians, who refer animals, and by the general community, according to Russ.

“We have continued to be overwhelmed by the support of the community and of the clients that we have had,” she said.

“It has just strengthened us knowing we are going to be a long-standing part of the community.”

Two COVE veterinarians, Merrilee Small and Jeff Stallings, were born and raised in the area, where they’ve practiced for most of their professional careers, Russ said.

Turkan Ertugrul has spent her entire professional career in the area after starting at North Suffolk Animal Clinic.

Since opening in May, the hospital has added two full-time clinicians, Dr. Mueller and Dr. Mosely.

The hospital’s doors are always open, even on Christmas and other holidays. “We are open 24/7, 365 days a year,” Russ said. “We have equal or greater (numbers of) staff on the holidays than we would otherwise.

“Our staff understand that part of their job is to be here when everybody else isn’t, and that’s something we are very dedicated to.”

Newpapers and other bedding donations can be brought to the hospital at any time.