SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter is urgently looking to fill two veterinarian positions, saying, without a lead vet, the shelter is having to find new ways to treat the hundreds of pets in its care. 

Whether you start to get a bit lonely or think it might be the right time, you may be able to relate to Rebecka Calvert. 

“I am looking for my partner in crime, my best friend and my snuggle buddy,” Calvert said.

Finding a healthy partner in crime is one of the most important considerations when adopting a pet. Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento has pets for adoption, and as the city’s municipal shelter, it’s constantly taking in new pets. But it’s missing one key employee: a full-time in-house veterinarian. 

“Veterinarians are critical to a shelter operation, whether that be in your shelter, private hospital, you can’t treat animals with without those important positions,” Phillip Zimmerman, with the shelter, said.

The shelter’s last lead veterinarian left about a week ago. However, the shelter, with the help of its nonprofit partner, has been able to make things work by outsourcing licensed experts.

“We have a veterinarian contract veterinarian coming in every evening for two hours a day. Again, minimal amount that they can do, but it’s something. And then, for example, this Friday, we have a contract veterinarian coming in all day to do surgeries,” Zimmerman said.

And some said the shelter does a great job caring for its animals. 

“They’re very well educated and they love what they do. They know the animals, and they take the time to care,” Calvert said.

But the city’s animal shelter needs someone consistent who can perform the advanced surgeries and handle the constant influx of pets. Outsourcing temporary experts can become expensive.

“We have the financial resources that we can send animals to offsite vet clinics. Unfortunately, sometimes they’re impacted. They’re having shortages with veterinarians but they do the best they can to help us,” Zimmerman said.

On average, Front Street cares for about 500 pets at a time. And while the veterinarian profession can be rewarding, the workload can make it difficult to fill the position, especially when competing with private practices.

“As a government organization, there were a lot of perks. So, there was the salary and there was the retirement benefits. Well, now we’re competing with the private sector that’s paying really, really well. And so we can’t compete against that at this time. And so that that’s really challenging. You know, there’s just so much need for veterinarians, again, in the shelter and in private practice. And so we’re just we’re competing for those same employees,” Zimmerman told FOX40.

Zimmerman said the longer they wait. The more money the shelter will have to shell out for temporary veterinarians.

The shelter said, if you know a veterinarian looking for a job, let them know, but there are lots of ways to help, volunteer at your local shelter, and donate. But also people can help reunite pets before they get to the shelter.