Well, spring is actually here. I’m hoping that means that the snow will be ending soon so I can finish getting all the Winter debris like broken tree branches cleared from my yard. Winter started out like a lamb, but since Christmas, we’ve had a snow storm every single week, which makes it a little hard to even find the stuff in the yard, let alone get rid of it. 

Like it does every year, the season will change and the weather will warm up. So, that means it’s time to start thinking ahead to what you will be doing once it does and take care of a few things so you can enjoy the days ahead. Things like checking your outdoor gear and BBQ to make sure it’s in working order, getting your motorcycle tuned up, getting gas for your lawnmower, buying a bunch of those paper compostable trash bags so you can actually get rid of the lawn debris I already mentioned and checking to make sure you have some kind of sun screen on hand. Probably should get some bug spray while you are at it.

But you aren’t the only ones who need to get ready for the coming warm up. Your pets are going to need a little attention too, as they will probably be outside and interacting with more people and their pets as well. This is a good time to make sure they are all up to date with their vaccinations and licenses.

Here in Jefferson County it is required by law that all dogs need to be licensed and vaccinated. Actually, I should have put that the other way around because they will need to be vaccinated first before they are issued a license. You can get a license directly at the Jefferson County Animal Control office, located at 700 Jefferson Parkway #160 here in Golden, but you will have to bring a proof of vaccination certificate with you, so if you want to go there, you are going to have to get your dog’s shots somewhere else.

The easiest way to do it all in one stop is to take them to the Foothills Animal Shelter any Friday from 3 to 4:30 p.m. when they offer a low cost vaccination clinic and issue licenses/tags in one place.

No appointment is required, you just drop by and let them know you are there. You and your dogs stay in the car while they bring you the paperwork to fill out and then they will direct you as to where to go next. If it’s busy, you will wait in your car until your turn. Make sure your dog is on a leash. Then you go into the lobby for the shots, get your tags and you’re done. Ba-da-boom, ba-da-bing.

Although you aren’t required to get a license for a cat, if they spend a lot of time outdoors it’s probably a good idea to get one for them so if they get lost you can track them down easily. But, they do need periodic vaccinations too and those are also available at the same time and place. If you choose to get a cat license, be aware that a current rabies vaccination is required to get one. Just make sure your cats are in a secure carrier when you get there. If you own a cat, I shouldn’t have to tell you why that’s a good idea. You don’t want them scaring all the big dogs. You know that the bigger the dog, the more they don’t understand why that nasty little fur ball over there wants to kill them.

You can also get microchips for your pets there if you don’t have one and want those as well. 

All vaccinations and licenses are $20 each and the microchips cost $35. This Friday, March 25, you can get a Distemper/Parvo vaccination for free. That one is just for dogs, though. It’s available free thanks to a grant from the Petco Love organization.

Foothills Animal Shelter is located next to the Jefferson County Fairgrounds at 580 McIntyre Street in Golden. For more information and to see what other services they offer you can visit their website at foothillsanimalshelter.org. Remember, a healthy pet is a happy pet, so take a little time to keep them all safe and secure. Then get ready to enjoy the sunshine ahead with all of your best friends.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at jaimaging@aol.com.