Having grown up in an extended family of animal lovers, I have always held on to the hope that the day would come when every dog and cat born would have a loving home. And although there is undeniably a long way to go, we are finally able to say that this goal is not only attainable but is now clearly in sight.
Today, millions of people understand how important it is to adopt their pets from shelters, to have their animals fixed, and to care for them like any other family member.
All across the country, an unprecedented number of animal health and welfare organizations, groups, shelters, and individuals that traditionally worked independently are putting aside their differences and working towards a common purpose—creating a nation of “no more homeless pets.”
Spaying and neutering our pets is one of the most important things we can do to bring an end to the tragedy of pet overpopulation. Cats and dogs multiply fast! They have the unique ability to reproduce several times a year and can go into heat as early as five months—sometimes earlier. And they can have several litters a year. This is why there are so many homeless dogs and cats.
One of the most common reasons pet guardians give for breeding their pet is “we always find good homes for our puppies and kittens.” But there is no way to guarantee that the people you give them to will do the same. More importantly, breeding your pet decreases the number of available homes for animals who are already born and homeless.
There are many advantages in fixing your animal—for both you and your pet. Studies now show that spayed and neutered pets live longer and healthier lives. And you will have a companion who is generally more affectionate and well-behaved. The simple fact is: spaying and neutering greatly increases the lifespan of your pet and increases their quality of life as well!
Many communities now offer low-cost or free spay and neuter services. Call your local humane society or shelter to find out what programs are available in your area. If you do not have an animal companion or if your companion is already fixed, why not make it a point to make a donation to your local spay/neuter assistance program? Even paying for the surgery for one animal will make you a lifesaver. Let your friends and neighbors know of the importance of getting their animals fixed and the resources that are available to them.
Maybe you feel inspired to do something more from your side to help make a difference for animals. Be as creative as you want. In weekly fundraisers at a West Hollywood, LA coffee house, Drag Queen Bingo has raised over $300,000 for charity in the last five years. Texan, Kat Chaplin, or as she prefers to be called, The Neuteress of the Night uses humor to promote spay/neuter on her website, Neuter Neuter Land—a place where you can make a difference and laugh at the same time. Have a bake sale or a garage sale, ask your friends to contribute to the local spay/neuter assistance fund in lieu of birthday presents, skip coffee and donuts once a week and donate the money where it can save lives. (You’ll lose weight too!) Find out if your employer will match your charitable contributions and double your life-saving impact. Working together, we CAN solve this problem—all that is required now is the ongoing commitment to get the job done.
“When we first wrote, just a few years ago, that our goal was to bring an end to the problem of pet overpopulation, it seemed like nothing more than a wonderful dream. However, that goal is now closer than we could have imagined, and the flame burns brighter than ever.”
Michael Mountain, Director of Utah’s Best Friends Animal Society
ThePetCheckUp—the at-home, early detection health screening kit for dogs and cats.
Now there is something you can do in your own home to help your dog or cat live a longer and healthier life.