A friend of mine, Kevin Molony, got a Golden Retriever a year ago. He named him “Latti” after superstar running back Marcus Lattimore. After all, this dog ran everywhere he went, whether outdoors or in.

He was an energetic pup. In this case, “energetic” is a euphemism for “holy terror.” My husband and I babysat this Tasmanian devil and, upon Kevin’s return, gently suggested having Latti neutered. The response was shock, followed by sympathy pains, and then a bewildered “Why would I do that?”

My husband responded, “Trust me. You’re more attached to them than he is.” Over the next few weeks, we highlighted the following top 10 reasons to fix your pet:

10. Lower veterinary bills. Altered pets are less prone to certain diseases. Spayed females have a lower risk of breast cancer (90 percent fatal in cats; 50 percent fatal in dogs) and uterine infections. Neutered males have no risk of testicular disease and a lower risk of prostate diseases.

9. Sweeter smelling house. Fixed pets have fewer tendencies to mark their territory or attract the opposite sex by spraying. No yellow stains on your white couch and a lot less air freshener!

8. Reduced stress. Pets are content at home instead of running wild through the house or digging up the yard looking for love. Spayed cats won’t yowl their way through 10 months of heat cycles. Neutered dogs will be less likely to ride your boss’s leg during a dinner meeting. No worrying over keeping all those amorous males away from your equally amorous female.

7. Less heartbreak. Altered pets have fewer tendencies to roam and are less likely to annoy your neighbors, get hit by cars or fall prey to wild animals.

6. Anger management. Fights between unaltered pets can cause deep wounds and transmit deadly diseases. Neutered males tend to be less aggressive to both animals and people, particularly if altered at an early age.

5. Lovin’ you. Pets who aren’t fretting about their sex lives focus on their human companions.

4. No unwanted litters. Female cats can breed three times a year and have an average of four kittens per litter. Dogs can breed twice a year with litters of six to 10 puppies. Do you really have that many friends?

3. No early surprises. Cats can breed at four months; dogs as early as six months.

2. More homes for the homeless. Six to eight million pets are waiting in shelters across the country. Every home found for one means one less home for another.

1. You’ll prevent the major cause for death and suffering in cats and dogs. Seventy to 85 percent of sheltered pets in Aiken County are euthanized because there aren’t enough homes. Those that don’t make it to the shelter have a meager existence on the streets – often becoming threats to public health and safety. Altering pets prevents the No. 1 cause of death and suffering for companion animals – overpopulation.

It was No. 8 that finally brought Kevin and his beautiful wife Lauren, exhausted from their puppy’s antics, into the clinic at the SPCA where they made an appointment to have Latti neutered. When the big date arrived, I checked on Latti myself throughout the day and even texted a picture of him sleeping peacefully.

Latti is still a little crazed. What Golden Retriever pup isn’t? But his playfulness is manageable now, and Latti is a happier pet, which makes Kevin and Lauren happier owners.

Before Latti’s surgery, they wondered how they would ever be able to survive him. Last Thursday at the SPCA’s Yappy Hour, the Molonys were singing the praises of the SPCA clinic and window shopping.

For more information about the benefits of altering your pet, visit www.LetLoveLive.org. Call the SPCA today at 803-648-6863 to find out how you can affordably do the right thing for your pet.