Every year in the US we end the lives of hundreds of thousands of little angels in fur. These animals lose their lives on the highways, in unprotected yards and the local pound. These animals did nothing wrong, other than to be born. Then someone lost interest in them, didn’t want the responsibility for them anymore, couldn’t (or wouldn’t) afford to take care of them anymore, a choice was made between a new boy/girl friend and the animal, made a decision to move to a new home that didn’t allow animals, and many more reason.
Yet hundreds of dogs and cats have babies everyday because the are not spayed or neutered. The discussion can sometimes be heated. At a recent business gathering the topic came up and one man said he would never cut the balls off his dog, because he didn’t want a sissy dog. Intact dogs do have a tendency to be more aggressive, and it’s an old wives tale that fixed dogs become docile, fat and lazy. Professional dogs, such as police dogs are intact, however, they are trained to use their aggression responsibly. An aggressive, untrained dog can be a costly hazard. Walking my dog this morning, two people walking unneutered dogs approached each other, and the two dogs immediately lunged at each other and a fight began. After the people succeeded in untangling the dogs, both the humans and the dogs had injuries. Both humans exasperatedly claimed that “their dog was friendly” and “don’t know how this happened.”
Another woman said just because she wasn’t going to have children, she wasn’t going to remove her ovaries and she feels the same about her cat. When her cat goes into heat this woman locks the cat in a closet, adding that it’s a large walk-in closet. So I nicely asked if someone locked her in a closet when she had her time of the month. My question wasn’t appreciated, although a few people around me snickered.
When volunteering at a local shelter, I witnessed a small dog that had developed mammary tumors because she had not been spayed. Her owners dumped her at the shelter because they didn’t want to deal with a dog with tumors, even though they admitted that their Vet had warned them of this possibility with this breed , if they didn’t get her spayed. Fortunately the shelter made the commitment to this dog to not only pay for the surgery to fix her tumors, but to also get her spayed. Then they found her a new loving, furrever home.
A man in my neighborhood was going to breed his little dog so each of his children would have a pet of their own, until he found out how much it would cost to take care of that many more dogs. It was cheaper to spay his dog so his pocketbook made the decision to spay his dog.
When I was a child we had a collection of animals. My Dad, being a good cowboy, made sure all our dogs, horses and non breeding and working stock were fixed before bringing them home. Even when a stay cat came to live with us, as soon as time passed when no one came to claim him, he was neutered. That made a dent in the population explosion he had been causing with the feral cats living in the nearby mountains.
I’ve read several arguments on the health issues of spaying/neutering and not. Some say additional health problems occur when not fixed and others cite stories of health problems when an animal is fixed.
Personally, I don’t know how accurate any of these health claims are. What I have witnessed though, is that more animals suffer the risk of death because of the over population of dogs and cats. Our kill rate at shelters is on the rise. People are still abandoning their animals at the side of the road and to shelters (I was told that owner relinquished animals are the first in line to be euthanized at the pound). People still allow their dogs and cats to roam neighborhoods freely to act at the whim of nature and the homeless pet population continues to rise.
Many people cite financial reasons for not spaying/neutering, even though there are locations in nearly every city that have low cost and sometimes free spay/neuter clinics. Some areas will fix certain breeds of dogs at any time for no charge. Many areas offer discount on the rabies shots and exams when an animals is fixed,
My decisions today are still influenced by the care and decisions my Dad displayed towards the animals he chose to bring home, and is now also strongly influenced by the number of dead animals I see by the side of the road hit by a car and the stories I hear from people who work at kill shelters and no kill rescues.
These angels in fur enter our lives and look to us as their people, to make the decisions that will contribute to making their lives happier, healthier and filled with love and in return they love us unconditionally. If you were your dog or cat, would you want your human caregiver to take the step to have you spayed/neutered?
Call for co-authors:
My current project is #3 in the series of Stress Out™ books: Stress Out, for Cats, Dogs & their People™. The purpose of publishing this book is so it can be used as an educational venue, a marketing tool for the contributors and a fundraising tool for animal related causes. Within these pages will be stories that warm the heart, and others will raise concern and some might incite other emotions. This is more than simply a “feel good” book. For positive change to occur, another emotion may need to be triggered to motivate positive action to help those who depend upon us to take care of them. If you have a story or a professional tip that can help other to learn, please visit our page for more information.