Collin Anderson
The crew of Loving Care Animal Society cut the ribbon, opening their new clinic.

Alongside its reasonably priced thrift store, Loving Care Animal Society finds homes for strays and helps people become better educated about their pets. Yet, it is much more than that. It’s a place for hope which brings many people together.

During the grand opening of the new Loving Care Animal Clinic Nov. 14, this reporter toured the new facilities. These include an exam room where the newly appointed veterinarian will tend to four-legged friends in need, as well as a grooming parlor where services have already been available since last month. The team also has a small area for breaks and an office, as well as ample storage space. According to Brittany Almarez, one of the volunteers at Loving Care, the clinic plans on expanding considerably over the next few months, including adding a surgical suite where pets can be spayed and neutered, as well as space for isolation, where canines and felines will be observed 24/7 until they make a full recovery.

“We’re doing it step by step,” Almarez commented during the tour.

As for the opening itself, more than twenty-five people made their way to the eastern end of Panaca’s main street to support this endeavor. Alongside their team of volunteers, Max and Susan Austgen, the owners of Loving Care, cut the ceremonial ribbon and opened the clinic for business. Lisa Shuette was in attendance, representing Maddie’s Pet Project and the Humane Network that helps rural communities get the veterinarian services they need. She was very impressed with Loving Care.

“I can honestly say Panaca, Caliente, this area is so full of spirit,” Shuette expressed following the opening ceremony, “ … often there are needs in communities and they don’t do anything about it. So, Max and Sue are the epitome of doing good.”

But, this animal society is about more than just animals. Loving Care also hosted a series of senior center shot clinics Nov. 19. These clinics started at the Caliente senior center from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and then moved north to the Pioche senior center from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Shots were all priced in the $12-$35 range, and were offered to help the elderly of the county get the immunizations they need during this cold and unforgiving time of year.