In honor of Petfinder.com’s 15th birthday, Tuesday March 15 has been designated Help Petfinder Adopt the Internet Day, a day devoted to getting the word out there about pet adoption and helping homeless pets find homes.
Love is in the air—which means it’s time for my annual pet-sex rant. Countless dogs and cats celebrated Mother’s Day this year—and their unwanted offspring will be lucky to escape with their lives. I’m told by those in the trenches that shelters and rescues are already brimming with the furry over-load.
If you’re looking for a lifetime of love, now’s the time to visit your local shelter, animal welfare society, pet rescue—or online resource like Petfinder.com. Puppies and kittens rate off the scale on the cute-factor but don’t let that narrow your focus. Worthy choices of all ages (including senior citizen pets) would welcome your love with a wag and whisker-kisses. Many shelter pets come “pre-vetted” and ready to love—already up to date on shots, deworming, and even that oh-so-important spay/neuter surgery.
Spaying and neutering offers so many benefits and no “down side” for owners and pets alike. During cat breeding season (January to October), amorous girl kitties go into “heat” every three weeks and can produce a litter of kittens about every 65 days. Most dogs are able to produce a litter twice a year. Now is the time to prevent any accidental litter-ary endeavors.
There are still myths surrounding the subject. The surgery to remove the reproductive organs has no effect on a dog’s skills at protecting the house, or being trained. It does not make pets fat and lazy—eating too much does that. Even professional breeders can’t predict what a planned pregnancy will produce, so don’t kid yourself; there’s no guarantee your affectionate beauty queen will give birth to a copy-cat pet. It’s just as likely she’ll produce ugly ill-tempered fur-kids.
There are no medical benefits to having “one litter first” before spaying. In fact, spaying dogs BEFORE their first season virtually eliminates the chance they’ll develop breast cancer. Surgery eliminates romantic yowling, roaming, fighting, urine marking, and mounting visitor’s legs. It prevents fight wounds, messy canine vaginal discharges, and uterine infections, and eliminates the chance of testicular cancer. If you’d like your children to witness the “miracle of birth,” ask the veterinarian to show a tape, or just watch “Animal Planet.” The real lesson you’re teaching isn’t a miracle, but the tragedy of too many pets and not enough homes.
The best time for surgery is before sexual maturity, but adult pets can be altered at any age. Many animal welfare organizations and professional breeders alter puppies and kittens (once they weigh two pounds or more), to make sure there are no accidental pregnancies. Babies bounce back much quicker from the surgery than adults. Pets act a bit woozy until anesthesia wears off. Some will be ready to go home the same day, while others must spend the night at the clinic. Most animals are up and running within hours.
Look at your watch, please. Each hour, three thousand puppies and kittens are born in the United States. Each year, more than twelve million pets are surrendered to animal shelters. Adopt one of these needed, loving animals. And before you allow a tragedy to continue, look at your watch. Please.
Woofs & wags,
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