I can say “no” to a lot of things – chocolate, shoes, good wine – but puppies? Never! Still, when they show up at the SPCA, it is bittersweet.
They are darling, sure. They wiggle. They squeak. Their yawns are the most precious. Sometimes their eyes are closed and they try to nurse on your finger. They fit in the hollow of your hand.
Then we put them in a kennel and there they stay for eight looooonnnnnnggggg weeks. Not exactly happily ever after, is it?
Sure, some get adopted right out of the gate, but others? My own dog was born at the Aiken County Shelter and transferred to the old SPCA on Wire Road. She was 9 months old before I adopted her, and that was mainly due to an injury that necessitated fostering. I was a foster failure.
Let’s say, hypothetically, there are eight puppies – two black, four tan and two tri-color pups. They all hit the adoption floor on the same day.
The two tri-colors go home within the week. The four tans go before they turn 4 months old, but at 6 months, 8 months, 10 months, the two black pups are still here, despite our best marketing efforts and eight solid months of training and socialization.
By now, they no longer fit in the hollow of your hand or even in your lap. At this point, it seems the window of opportunity has slammed shut.
Believe me, if you want to be bored by the metrics, I can dig them up, and they will look just like the hypothetical scenario I created. That’s why puppies are bittersweet.
Here’s the thing: we, as a community, could change those metrics. The whole basket-full-of-puppies-on-the-doorstep (or in the ditch or under the house or in a kennel outside the SPCA lobby at 7:45 a.m.!) is avoidable. Just have your pets neutered. (Where is my “That was easy!” button?)
At this point, I like to imagine readers smacking themselves in the head V-8 style and saying “Of course! Neutering my pet means no unwanted litters! It makes perfect sense.”
What I suspect actually happens is more like one of the following:
• “I know neutering prevents unwanted litters, but it’s so expensive.”
• “I know neutering prevents unwanted litters, but I want a litter.” <cringe>
• “I know neutering prevents unwanted litters, but I want my dog to keep his ‘manhood.’”
First, sterilization isn’t as expensive as you think. Eighty-six people have taken advantage of the $20 Happy Neuter Year special at the SPCA, made possible by Petsmart Charities.
Now that we have closed this program, people are being directed to other low-cost programs and are even pleasantly surprised at what a regular cost surgery runs at the SPCA.
Second, before you breed your pet, research. It’s not as easy or as profitable as you might think.
And there is a reason the SPCA and other shelters are inundated with pit bulls and Chihuahuas – they are over bred already.
If you truly care about the breed, don’t contribute to the problem.
Lastly, though the same cannot be said for cats yet, there is now a way to prevent unwanted litters and keep your dog’s, um, jewels.
I will admit to being perfectly happy not having a visual reminder of my dog’s manliness, but if I were a man, I might feel differently. (I don’t think I’d want a stainless steel set hanging from my trailer hitch, but I digress.)
Introducing Zeuterin, a cutting edge, FDA-approved pharmaceutical that allows male dogs between the ages of 3 and 10 months to be sterilized without traditional full anesthesia and surgery.
Patients are lightly sedated while each testicle is injected with a zinc-based solution. This method provides sterility while maintaining some levels of testosterone needed for bone growth and muscle mass.
A ‘Z’ tattoo is placed in the inguinal area to offer identification.
The SPCA has a veterinary team that has been certified in this procedure and is proud to be one of the first clinics in the United States to offer this innovative, less invasive option.
Now you know how easy, affordable, effective and non-invasive sterilizing your pet can be.
Give us a call to set up the right procedure for your pet.
In the meantime, if you’d like to see a great show and help keep our sterilizations affordable, join us Jan. 30 at 7:30 at the SPCA for Norm Foster’s hilarious “Hilda’s Yard,” performed by Paladin Productions.
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased on our calendar page at LetLoveLive.org or by calling 803-648-6863.
Chrissey Miller, CAWA
SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare
Bailey is one of the first to be "Zeutered" at the SPCA!