Emily and Lindsay are hosting this fantastic link-up, Flaunt Your Cause.
I'm (unfortunately) not currently involved in any volunteer activities,
so I wasn't going to participate.
However, I realized a "cause" can also be a passion I spread the word about and encourage regularly.
I was going through my routine masochistic hobby and perusing the adoptables on Athenspets.net-
the website for Athens-Clarke County Animal Control, where we adopted Sloan-
and I noticed that there are three different litters of kittens that are owner surrenders.
Meaning, three different pet cats got knocked up and the owners didn't want to deal with finding homes for the kittens.
Here's my cause:
Here's my cause:
Spay and Neuter: It Saves Lives.
This may seem like a broken record to some of you, and I hope it does- and means your furry family members are spayed and neutered.
Sadly, though, there are still people who think it's okay to not spay and neuter-
since just one litter won't hurt;
they just want the kids to experience the miracle of life;
they aren't going to breed, but their cat or dog won't come in contact with any others.
There are a lot of adorable faces on Petfinder and other rescue sites that would beg to differ.
By spaying your female dog before her first heat cycle you virtually eliminate her chances of developing mammary tumors, and spaying at any time will definitely eliminate any chance of ovarian and uterine cancers (since a spay is an ovariohysterectomy). Mammary tumors are treatable, through surgical removal, but this surgery is not only more expensive than a spay but also a more painful recovery for your dog.
Mammary tumors are the most common type of tumor in dogs, and over 25% of unspayed females will develop them.
Mammary tumors are the third most common type of tumor in cats.
Pyometra is another danger of not spaying. An infection of the uterus, it usually develops after an unfertilized heat cycle- remember that excuse of "my cat is indoors-only and won't come in contact with any males"? Apply here. Pyometra can be hard to identify, since cats can be reclusive when sick, but if not treated quickly, death is imminent.
Dogs can develop pyometra, too.
Male pets are also medically vulnerable to testicular cancer. This can be a risk even for a cryptorchid dog, one whose testical(s) did not fully descend during puberty. When a cryptorchid dog is neutered, the vet will use a more invasive procedure (abdominal incision) to locate and remove the testical(s).
Now on to the social benefits.
Altered animals are less likely to roam (seeking mates), get into fights (hormonal or territorial), and males are less likely to mark inappropriately.
Spaying and neutering your pets also (obviously) eliminates the chances for unwanted litters.
If you don't think this is a big deal, please check out your local shelter, or Petfinder in your zip code.
I guarantee there will be hordes of adorable little faces peering through your screen at you, especially this time of year. For every unplanned or carelessly bred puppy or kitten, one of these little faces won't find a home.
Both Max and Sloan were shelter puppies, although they were both found with their litter mates as strays (Sloan's mom was there, too).
We're confident Sloan's family was adopted, as her two four-week-old brothers were the only other puppies at the shelter at the time and a woman was applying to adopt her mom as we applied for her.
There were two of them, as well- and they were around 10 weeks, so not tiny but not to the gangly stage yet. They were both quite sweet, although one had a lot more energy than the other- but that just meant she was more suited for an outdoorsy person and the quiet one was better suited to a tv fan.
They were at the shelter for just over three weeks when we adopted Max.
and hung flyers around town trying to find them homes.
The three months they were at the shelter is nearly unheard of in the summer in Georgia,
and it is a testament to the amazing adoption work done by Oconee County Animal Control that they had space for them that whole time.
It just wasn't enough time.
Please, if you want to experience the miracle of life,
foster a pregnant female for your local rescue group and enjoy watching the babies grow until they are ready for new homes.
If you think spaying or neutering is cruel,
ask your vet to explain tumor excision surgery in comparison to a simple ovariohysterectomy or neuter.
If you still feel a strong desire to breed your pet,
please only do so in the best interest of the breed-
this means eye tests, hearing tests, hip and elbow tests, etc. in order to rule out genetic disorders.
That list is also part of the reason why a well-bred dog or cat is a costly expense from the start-
and if you would rather purchase a bred pet rather than adopt (and you can find almost any breed in shelters or rescues if you look, the internet is an amazing resource), please insist on seeing the records of these tests, and records of the puppy or kitten's vet visits prior to your purchase.
If you have spare time in your day, extra space in your heart, and don't mind crying, please consider volunteering at your local shelter. Many of these animals are desperate for attention, love, and training- all of which will help them charm a potential new family into adopting them.
We volunteered in the past, had two foster dogs (both of whom were adopted into wonderful homes), and are looking forward to future volunteering opportunities.
There's my cause, and it's definitely close to my heart- and next to me on the couch, every night!
Please ask me any questions you may have about adopting, fostering, volunteering at a shelter,
or about spaying and neutering- although I might suggest you save those for your vet to get a proper medical consultation!