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posted: 3/21/2013 10:43 AM

Spaying, neutering your pets is responsible thing to do

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  • Simba, a male, eight pound, Yorkshire terrier, is 7 months old.

    Simba, a male, eight pound, Yorkshire terrier, is 7 months old.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

  • Marty, a male pit bull terrier, weighs 61 pounds and is 2 years old.

    Marty, a male pit bull terrier, weighs 61 pounds and is 2 years old.
    Courtesy of The Buddy Foundation

By Ellaine Kiriluk
The Buddy Beat

Spring arrived at 6:02 a.m. Wednesday, March 20. Temperature was 16 degrees. Cold, but then springtime is as much a state of mind as it is the weather.

To me, spring is green and new. Daffodils pushing up stems by the foundation of the house, birds singing, a feeling of renewal. There seems to be a newness to everything, especially early in the morning. Spring and babies, they naturally go together; baby birds, kittens and puppies.

We got several of our family's companion animals in the spring. We adopted our cat, as a kitten, from the Buddy Foundation in the spring. One of our wonderful mixed breed dogs also found me in the spring.

They were two animals who found their way home to us, but there are millions of animals who are still homeless.

The Humane Society of the United States estimates that in the U.S. there are 6 to 8 million homeless animals entering shelters every year. Three to 4 million of them are euthanized, many of these are young and healthy.

In some states, as many as 300,000 homeless animals are euthanized in shelters every year. These animals aren't the offspring of homeless animals, but kittens and puppies of family pets and purebreds.

HSUS states, "Spay/neuter is the only permanent, 100 percent effective method of birth control for dogs and cats."

Robin Henry of defines spaying and neutering as surgical procedures used to remove the reproductive organs of dogs and cats. Spaying is the removal of the uterus and ovaries of a female dog or cat, while neutering is the removal of a male dog's or cat's testicles.

Spaying and neutering is performed by a veterinarian while the animal is under anesthesia. The procedure is typically recommended for these animals before they reach sexual maturity, about 5 months of age. This is also after the completion of puppy vaccinations.

To reduce overpopulation in companion animals, the American Animal Hospital Association supports neutering cats and dogs as early as 8-16 weeks of age if the animals are in animal care or animal control facilities.

Another reason to do the procedures on your pets? They can significantly reduce or eliminate several health or behavioral problems. Your pet will be much less likely to escape and roam, which reduces the chances of them getting into fights with other animals or suffering a traumatic or life threatening injury such as being hit by a car.

In general, spayed and neutered pets are more even-tempered and less likely to show aggression with other animals or people.

Spaying and neutering also can eliminate or reduce the risk of serious life-threatening health problems that can be expensive to treat, such as testicular cancer in males and uterine and mammary cancers in females.

Spaying or neutering your pet is affordable. You can find a low-cost spay/neuter program by going to the HSUS's website, click on "pet overpopulation." Type in your ZIP code or city/state and lists of shelter, veterinarians and organizations appear who will help you find a low cost spay/neuter for your pet.

• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit the shelter at 65 W. Seegers Road, in Arlington Heights; or find them online at