New non-profit provides long needed vet care to Alaska's rural pets


While human health care has made huge strides in Alaska’s remote communities, veterinary care for the animals there can be non-existent.  Because of this, few if any animals are ever spayed or neutered, and many have never had vaccinations.  Alaska Rural Veterinary Outreach, Inc., (ARVO), is a new non-profit organization whose mission is to remedy these problems by bringing veterinary services to these villages.

One recent event was a two-day clinic in Nondalton, held on May 19 & 20, where nearly 30 dogs were able to receive needed veterinary services.  Fourteen of the dogs were spayed or neutered, while another 14 received deworming and vaccines, including rabies.

The all-volunteer veterinary team for the Nondalton clinic consisted of Dr. Jon Basler, Dr. Alice Velsko, and Technician Jamie Blakeslee, all of College Village Animal Clinic in Anchorage.   ARVO Founder and President Sally Clampitt and Project Coordinator Christine Witzmann also participated, handling the administrative work and support to the medical team.  

“Our community has needed this service for a very long time,” said Nondalton’s long-time Community Health Aide, Ron Lotsfeld.   “The ARVO team did a great job.  Their efforts will result in a healthier canine community here, and a more manageable dog population.  We hope they can do the same thing for many other villages.”  

“Reaching out to Alaska’s rural pets and their people is long overdue,” said Clampitt.  “We are just getting started, but have received requests for help from all across Alaska.”  With that much demand, Clampitt says their biggest challenge will be to come up with enough veterinarians and trained volunteers willing to donate their time, and sponsors who are willing to pick up the cost of the needed medications and supplies.  Clampitt added, “We are so grateful to Dr. Basler and his team - they did a great job!  And we enjoyed being able to help so many wonderful pet owners and dogs!”  

Extending veterinary care to Alaska’s rural communities will result in fewer unwanted litters and much healthier dogs.  It’s a huge undertaking, “ Clampitt says, “but I’m hoping there are enough people out there that see the need and are willing to join us and help support this very worthwhile effort.”  

To learn more about ARVO and how you can help, visit their website at


Attached:  (1) Photo of Dr. Jon Basler and Dr. Alice Velsko performing surgery in the “operating room” of the Community Center in Nondalton, Alaska.   (2) Photo of a caring pet owner with her dog in the recovery area after surgery.