As you read this article, my 14-week old puppy, Django, is being neutered at the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare Spay and Neuter Clinic. I scheduled the $70 surgery about a month ago with Betty Erikson, the clinic manager. I will leave him at the clinic at 8 a.m. in Dr. Lisa Levy’s capable hands. I’ll pick him up, better than new, this afternoon. As a matter of fact, the only difficult part of the whole process was keeping my growing puppy from eating after 10 p.m. last night. Easy. Affordable. Rewarding.
Yes, rewarding. When I get Django back, I can rest easy knowing this pup has the best chance at a long, healthy life. He will be unable to contract certain common diseases of the reproductive system.
He will be less likely to stray from home or into traffic looking for love. Any straying he does will not result in an unwanted litter, which incidentally is how I ended up with Django in the first place. He and his littermates were breeder-discarded products of an AKC registered Dogue de Bordeaux and the “common Black Lab” that climbed the breeder’s fence, adding six more to the population of homeless pets.
As easy, affordable and rewarding as the process was for me and is for many, the term “unwanted litter” is still commonplace in Aiken County, resulting in a population explosion every spring and thousands of euthanized pets each year. I can only assume that means the process is not as easy and affordable as it needs to be, or that many people still do not understand the part they play in the lives and deaths of these animals.
The SPCA will be conducting an initiative this February called “Pup-ulation Explosion!” to raise awareness of the ever-growing population and generate funding for surgery supplements for those families that need it most. The project will highlight unwanted litters and subsequent repercussions with a larger than life demonstration.
Across Aiken County, beginning Friday, litters of colorful cartoon pups made from cut vinyl will be popping up in yards unexpectedly.
The yard owner will have the opportunity to solve the problem in one of three ways, each for a small donation to the SPCA. The “unwanted litter” can be rounded up by animal control for $15. If the owner would like to adopt the litter out to a friend, he can do so for $20. And for $25, the owner can adopt the pups out after sterilization so that he will never again play host to an unwanted litter. We, at the SPCA, hope the colorful pups will draw attention to the population explosion and the easy, affordable, and rewarding things we can do to prevent these unwanted litters.
The project will culminate with a SPAY-ghetti dinner on World Spay Day on Feb. 26.
A dinner will be held at the SPCA Albrecht Center at 199 Willow Run Road from 5 to 8 p.m. and will include spaghetti, salad and a drink for just $8, or $5 for kids younger than 12. You may dine in or pick up dinners to go.
It will be a fantastic opportunity to get the results of our fund-raiser and to tour our regional spay and neuter clinic.
Property owners who participate in the “Pup-ulation Explosion!” project will be offered two coupons for the dinner in return for their willingness to play along with the gag. Tickets for the SPAY-ghetti dinner may be purchased through the SPCA at 648-6863.
If you are interested in making a donation, purchasing tickets for the dinner or setting up an appointment to have your pet altered, call the SPCA at 648-6863 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chrissey Miller is the SPCA Albrecht Center for Animal Welfare Development Director.