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Dr helping at Lakota Animal Care Project Spay and Neuter Dr helping at Lakota Animal Care Project Spay and Neuter Dr helping at Lakota Animal Care Project Spay and Neuter

Visiting Volunteer Veterinarian and Vet Tech Program

The Lakota Animal Care Project, a 501(c)3 community-based non-profit organization on the Pine Ridge Lakota Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, invites you to participate in our Visiting Volunteer Veterinarian Program in which veterinarians and vet techs from across the U.S. volunteer 3 days to come to this beautiful Reservation to work in partnership with the Lakota Animal Project to do spay/neuter surgeries at one of our spay/neuter clinics and to provide basic animal health care for dogs and cats. There is no veterinarian on this huge 2 million acre Reservation which includes the two poorest counties in the United States and an estimated 15,000 dogs! We sure could use your help! Please email us for more information

Volunteer at a 3 day Spay/Neuter Clinic on the famous Pine Ridge Reservation

Our spay/neuter clinics for dogs and cats take place in June, July, August and September. Lakota Animal Care Project does not have a building but we do have state-of-the-art equipment including autoclave, anesthesia machines and monitors, surgery tables and lamps, and everything else you will need to perform spay/neuter surgeries. We haul this equipment in our cargo trailer to set up our temporary clinics in school gyms, community halls, churches and other buildings around this huge Reservation. Each clinic last 3 days. Two of those days are surgery days. The last day is to clean and pack up. Veterinarians who volunteer should plan to be at the clinic for the full 2 surgery days (arriving at the latest the day/night before the clinic begins and departing at the earliest the day after the clinic ends).

If you are flying in, you will fly into the Rapid City airport. You can either rent a car at the airport or if your schedules gel you can travel out to the Reservation from Rapid City with our Spay/Neuter Clinic Coordinator. It is about a 1 hour and 20 minute drive from the airport to the Reservation. A brief orientation is provided the evening before the clinic starts. The next morning the group travels together from where they are lodged to the clinic. Visiting veterinarians and vet techs pay their own travel. Whenever we can, Lakota Animal Care Project will arrange for your lodging at no cost to you. This is not always possible but often is.

In addition to other lodging options, there are two motels on the Reservation. Both have non-smoking rooms and restaurants. The Prairie Wind Casino Hotel is located about 20 miles outside of the town of Pine Ridge (605) 867-6300 ( The Lakota Prairie Ranch Resort motel is 6 miles outside of the town of Kyle (605) 455-2555 ( We will let you know if we are able to provide you with free lodging and where you will be staying once we know which clinic you will be helping at.

About the Reservation

The Pine Ridge Reservation is a vast 2 million acre Reservation in southwest South Dakota (where the movie Dances with Wolves was filmed). It is the home of the Lakota Sioux people. It is a beautiful Reservation that includes pine bluffs, badlands (part of the Badlands National Park is within the Reservation), mixed-grass prairie & ponderosa pine country. The Black Hills (sacred to the Lakota people) are approximately 1 � hour drive from the Reservation, as is Crazy Horse memorial, Mount Rushmore, Wind Cave National Park, Custer State Park, and many beautiful lakes and trails. There is also lots to do on the Reservation including hikes in the Badlands National Park, Pow Wows, visiting cultural sites & shopping for traditional artwork and jewelry.

About the Spay/Neuter Clinics

You will be working in clinics which are temporarily set up (for 3 days at a time) in school gyms, community halls and other locations on the Reservation. All clinic sites have electricity and water, bathrooms and other amenities. The clinics are for both dogs and cats. We typically spay/neuter a total of 60 animals during the 2 day clinics, sometimes more. Our Spay/Neuter Clinic Coordinator oversees the clinic and together with volunteers sets up the clinic early morning the first day of the clinic so that surgeries can begin by 8:30 a.m. There are a minimum of two veterinarians and 3 vet techs volunteering at each clinic in addition to the Lakota Animal Care Project Clinic Coordinator and local helpers. The group arrives at the clinic by 8 a.m. and usually leaves by 6 p.m. to return to where they are staying. Breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks are provided at the clinic.

Clinic Schedule for 2016

Please see the up-to-date clinic schedule under the "Visiting Volunteer Vets" page on this website. Unless the schedule indicates "FULL" we still need volunteer veterinarians and veterinary technicians for those clinics. Clinics usually take place over the weekends. Please plan to arrive on the day before the clinic begins and depart on the day after the clinic ends. We would love to have you stay longer if you can! Please let us know which clinic date/s work best for you.


Although you must be a licensed veterinarian to participate in the program, it is not necessary that you be licensed in South Dakota. Veterinarians come to the Reservation every year from all over the country to participate in our spay/neuter clinics.

Have fun during your visit

We are happy to provide contacts if you would like to go for a guided horse trail ride, visit the parks on and near the Reservation, go for a guided hike, go to a Pow Wow or participate in other fun activities.


The closest airport to the Reservation is the Rapid City airport. It is approximately one hour and 20 minutes to the Reservation from the airport. There are several rental car companies at the airport and there is a shuttle from the airport into Rapid City where there are many motels. If you prefer to carpool with other volunteers, please let us know and we can put you in touch with others who want to carpool.

If you would like more information or want to volunteer, kindly contact Lakota Animal Care Project at or call a member of our Board of Directors (Virginia Ravndal at 505-252-6767 or Dr. Peggy Behrens, DVM at 605-394-4873). Please visit our website at