“The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty.”
One year ago on a hot July afternoon, we were fertilizing the trees by the fence and the neighbors stopped by the gate to chat. We visited for over an hour. Then the sky started to get dark. We went back to pick up the sprayer by the corner of the property and heard the dreaded sound: a desperate and hungry “meeeoow.”
There was nothing else to do other than to look for the source. We went around to the road. This minuscule grey fur ball was sitting in a thorny thicket and the sky was getting nastier by the minute. And to top it all, she was Miss Shy Extraordinaire.
My wife tried to go behind her by tromping through the brushes (hard to be stealthy through briers). Pelting rain and lightning forced us to retreat back home. We came back out about an hour later, afraid we wouldn’t hear her again. Good news – she was there!
This time I crouched down on the ditch and inched forward on my belly. It took me another 30 minutes to approach her. She had the courage to remain still and I managed to catch her. Now, months later, she is the holy terror of the house and we are delighted to have her.
For weeks after rescuing her, we pondered on what would’ve happened if we could not catch her. She probably would have died a slow death by starvation and thirst or if she was lucky, quickly by a coyote. Sadly, this story is not an exception but norm.
Dogs and cats are dropped off in wanton abundance. Almost every fourth person in the clinic says their pet was just found on the road or someone dropped them off at their farm.
Obviously there are just too many pets.
Let’s make sure that we spay and neuter our pets on time. Let’s make sure they remain in a confined space and have a means of identification to find their way back home in case they get lost! Microchipping is the best option, but a simple thing like collar and a stainless steel tag with your phone number is a good, inexpensive choice.
Together, we can make a difference! Maybe in the next 10 years we can make sure that there are not a single unwanted, un-adored pet in our neighborhood.
The Alabama Veterinary Medical Association supports spay/neuter for Medicaid recipients. Check to see if your local veterinarian participates in this program.
In the last eight years, 17,616 surgeries have been performed with grant money from the spay/neuter license plate program. Please buy “spay neuter” license plates.
There may be a low cost spay/neuter clinic near you. Visit the ASPCA online for more information: www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/low-cost-spayneuter-programs.
Goutam Mukherjee, DVM, MS, Ph.D. (Dr. G) has been a veterinarian for more than 30 years. He works part time at Grant Animal Clinic and is a member of North Alabama Electric Cooperative.