20 years of World Spay Day—and one snuggly kitty
Who needs a heating pad when you’ve got Algae? A former feral, Algae is the “mascat” at the nonprofit Fox Hollow Animal Project spay/neuter clinic in Hamilton, Mont., where his specialty is snuggling up to dogs (and the occasional cat) as they are waking up from their surgeries. “He likes to sit on top of the big ones,” says clinic manager Marilyn Taylor. Fox Hollow has performed 25,000 low-cost surgeries for cats and dogs since it opened in this rural community near the Idaho border in 2005. As a participant in World Spay Day 2013, the clinic used a grant from The HSUS to provide free spays for 50 female cats and dogs, and to heavily subsidize spays and neuters for 108 more during the month of February. This coming February, The HSUS and Humane Society International will celebrate 20 years of Spay Day events, which got its start as Spay Day USA at the Doris Day Animal League in 1995. The organizations combined operations in 2006, and the campaign is now known as World Spay Day to reflect the participation of as many as 46 countries. World Spay Day events have gotten quite creative: One veterinary clinic held a 24-hour spay/neuter marathon; another hired a massage therapist to rub down the veterinarians and technicians in between surgeries; at still another, veterinarians and technicians formed teams with names like Castration Sensation and Hello Kitty and listened to love songs. Myriad fundraising dinners are titled “Spay-ghetti with No Balls.” To find out how to participate in the 20th anniversary event this coming February, go to spaydayportal.humanesociety.org.
A fond farewell
Daniel the polydactyl cat first appeared in Mutterings when his 26 toes inspired a “dollar-a-toe” fundraising campaign that garnered $120,000 for the Milwaukee Animal Rescue Center in 2011. The money enabled founder Amy Rowell to purchase and renovate a building that the organization, which had been renting space in a shopping mall since 2005, could call home, with Daniel serving as mascot. Sadly, Rowell announced in July that the shelter had to close due to high costs of property maintenance and overhead. “We do not consider this announcement a failure. We are very proud of all that we have accomplished,” wrote Rowell on the shelter’s website. At press time, just three dogs and four cats were waiting for new homes, but Daniel wasn’t one of them; he’d already been adopted by Rowell and her family. “We’ll adore him for the rest of his life,” she told the Associated Press.
It was a regular love fest when Monkey Man met Bwaney at the Nevada Humane Society in Reno. Actually, it wasn’t the first time the pair had met—the 7-year-old chow mix and 9-year-old Persian cat had lived together for years. When their owner, no longer able to care for them, brought the pair to the animal shelter in June, they were housed in separate dog and cat areas according to protocol. But the separation seemed to compound their stress, so staff decided to break with procedure and bunk them together, a first at the shelter. The reunion was heartwarming, says Kimberly Chandler, the humane society’s communications manager. “They bumped heads and rubbed each other. The cat was weaving in and out of the dog’s legs.” It was clear that the two should be adopted as a package deal, and it didn’t take long. A few weeks later, the affectionate odd couple was taken home by a local duo who had come by looking for a dog to adopt. They weren’t planning on adding a cat as well, but when they met Monkey Man and Bwaney, “they just fell in love,” says Chandler. The pair took advantage of the shelter’s Seniors for Seniors program, in which animals 6 and older are free to adopters 55 and older.
Tiptoe through the tulips
Kittens got down and dirty at the Toronto Humane Society’s debut of its new rooftop garden in June. Torties and tabbies pounced and prowled in large containers of cat-safe herbs (including catnip, of course), grasses, trees, and shrubs that have transformed 2,300 square feet of dead space into a fun-filled haven for the shelter’s animals. Catster.com reports that the garden is the product of a partnership between Nestle Purina PetCare Canada and Evergreen, a Canadian nonprofit organization devoted to creating sustainable cities. After Evergreen created a pet-friendly garden at Purina’s Ontario headquarters, it received a $50,000 donation from Purina’s Paws for the Planet program to create gardens for five animal shelters across Canada. Toronto’s garden not only provides space and stimulation for pets and volunteers, the tubs of vegetable plants also produce food for the shelter’s rabbits and guinea pigs.
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