If only more people spayed or neutered their pets

Dog emaciated
A very sad reality for some domestic animals.

I know that pets are so significant in many of our lives. Most give us unconditional love, make us laugh, become integral members of our family, and much more. As a person with bipolar disorder (a mental illness), I’ve also experienced pets as a source of great emotional support. During my life, I have primarily been a cat or parrot owner, but I love all animals. When I see any animal struggling or injured (or dead alongside the road) it breaks my heart. The sad thing is that such observations are far too numerous. Obviously some of these occurrences are just the reality of nature, others are clearly caused by humans, unintentionally, and tragically sometimes intentionally. Though many of us wish we could end humans’ negative impact on animals, often we have to become partially numb to it, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try to do some things that can make a difference.

Helping animals stay safe and well is a topic one could write about in several books. Here I just want to concentrate on urging people to spay or neuter their pets. Veterinarian bills can be very high, I know, but when we welcome a pet into our homes, we have a responsibility to them. I know some people become pet breeders. That’s not what I’m writing about. I’m writing about people who only want pets without struggling to find homes for any offspring. I’m also writing about people who adopt a pet casually only to send it back where it came from, send it to a probable death, or send it to a harsh life on the streets.

Though parrots are not generally spayed or neutered, keeping them separate from the opposite sex obviously prevents unwanted chicks. Loose birds can fly away. In some places (I remember in a park in Amsterdam, Holland, and in San Francisco) some breeds have formed flocks with growing numbers. They do damage to the environment and property, and can sometimes suffer in various ways. Unwanted cats (and later kittens) and dogs (and their puppies) so often also meet a sad fate in the wild, as I referenced above. Some I’ve seen (and heard) in my country and in some countries abroad, are strays, like curs, who struggle to find food and become emaciated, get in violent fights with other strays, develop mange, are hit by automobiles or motorcycles, or are even beaten to death by humans. I’ve heard the suffering cries of the latter when living in a big city. I’ve seen many desperate animals in the condition of the former. The horrible memories will stay with me forever. At the time, there seemed little I could do. I wished the citizens did more, but in some places there is mostly apathy.

Though I have heard, too often, of people sending their unwanted pet to the streets, many homeless domestic animals are born on the streets. They breed at high rates. Most once owned pets on the streets have also never been spayed or neutered.  Statistics show that only about 10% that eventually enter shelters have had these procedures. Only about 30% of animals in shelters are ever reclaimed by a previous owner.

Maybe about seven years ago, my husband and I were driving to a very busy highway (Rte. 1). In the corner of my eye, I saw something moving on the curb near a gas station, poised to cross. I yelled for my husband to pull over at the station so I could run out and try to prevent the inevitable. I scooped up what was a very young kitten in the nick of time. I noticed it was covered with some kind of oil, perhaps from being born in and/or living around the gas station. You’re probably hoping that I took it home and raised it to adulthood, but unfortunately we couldn’t do that. Instead, we took it to a no-kill shelter, gave them a $50 donation and hoped that it would be adopted. If the mother (or at least maybe the father) of that kitten had been fixed, there would not have been a kitten to almost be run over by a speeding car. Imagine how many other animals were not as lucky, including maybe that kitten’s siblings.

There are other very good reasons to spay or neuter pets, pertaining to their health. Read about them in the article here on the ASPCA website.



7 thoughts on “If only more people spayed or neutered their pets

  1. s.e. taylor April 26, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    I found my dog on the “streets”. I tried to find the owner but no one claimed him. I believe he was put out on purpose due to his behavioral problems. It saddens and angers me that someone would put an animal out like that. At least take to a shelter. I ended up keeping him because I was afraid of what would happen to him at a shelter since he would be so hard to place for adoption due to his issues.Same goes with my dog before him, same story different behavior issues. yah, I always end up with the ones with “issues”, lol. He brings me joy and love and emotional support. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight April 26, 2018 / 6:16 pm

      Thank you for sharing that s.e. taylor. Your doggies are very lucky to have you. It is such a shame how many pets just get dropped off somewhere far away or locked out. It amazes me how so many people are willing to do such a thing. I know there are also people who will drown baby animals, especially mutts, rather than try to find them homes. I know this conversation is rough, but it’s a reality in more cases than it should be. When I lived abroad in a particular country (I won’t name), I was told that people there often get a “cute puppy” and when it’s no longer as “cute”, they just set it free to fend for itself. Again, that’s cruel to that animal, but strays often breed leading to more strays.

      Liked by 1 person

      • s.e. taylor April 27, 2018 / 3:04 pm

        wow, that’s messed up! 😦 I’ll never understand how people can be so cruel.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. zlotybaby June 7, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    My father’s ex-wife and my dad had a macaw that wasn’t neutered. Eventually, the macaw started to think that she was his sexual partner and became aggressive towards anyone approaching her. Thay had to give a parrot away to a zoo. I can’t understand how can you not research such things before getting a pet? I guess for her having another “exotic” pet was more important than anything else. They also had two dogs (not spayed) that were a breed particularly prone to hip conditions. They also had not researched anything and within a year both dogs developed problems, as they lived on 6th floor. They had to give them away too.
    In Poland spaying and neutering is considered a bit of a cruel practice (???) and not many people do it. Instead, they just don’t take their female dogs out in heat. I don’t understand why it’s considered cruel. It’s a quick surgery that gets rid of the animal’s needs that will never be met if you don’t want them to reproduce and eliminates the risk of unwanted animals…
    My husband and I just adopted a puppy and we had to sign a contract with the shelter stating that she would be spayed. The surgery took a few hours and after a day she was as good as new. I don’t know why people are so irresponsible. Our puppy comes from the shelter when she was dropped off with her brother and sister because the mother got pregnant and the family she was with couldn’t keep the little ones. Fortunately, all three got adopted but how many others don’t?

    Liked by 1 person

    • updownflight June 7, 2018 / 1:48 pm

      I’m glad all of the puppies were adopted.

      I guess people have various reasons for not spaying or neutering. Religious? Philosophical? Ignorance? Ability to pay? Others.

      Having had parrots, I know what the hormonal chaos times are all about. There are obviously ways to get past those times without too much trouble. Part of that is tolerance, and another significant part is knowing how to properly handle the situation. Most all people love having pets, but not all really know how to train them properly. I also takes a lot of research ahead of time to be a good pet parent, especially for exotics. Too often people make impulsive adoptions.

      Liked by 1 person

      • zlotybaby June 7, 2018 / 3:38 pm

        Ignorance and laziness are probably on the top of the list. If you can afford to get a dog, you can afford one surgery that’s quite cheap (at least in South Africa). Perhaps in Poland the reasons have to do with religion? Cause contraception is a sin and all that. I’ll have to google!

        Yeah. I don’t claim I’m an ideal dog parent and I don’t think anyone is but I’m learning what’s on and what’s potentially dangerous as I go. I actively research things too. It should just be a normal thing for everyone. I mean, after all, no one wants to hurt their animal, right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • updownflight June 7, 2018 / 4:28 pm

        I wish it was no one. But I agree that most people spoil their pets, which is OK. To a degree.

        Liked by 1 person

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