Sunday, June 10, 2012
Low cost spay-neuter organization marks anniversary
“Our assumed name and our goal are identical: Spay. Neuter. NOW,” says Alford, a retired FBI agent who is the group’s president.
TYLER Between them, Suzanne Alford of Chapel Hill, Pamela Boyd Bombyk of Chandler, and Frances Whiteside of Whitehouse had years of volunteering for animal welfare causes in states outside of Texas. Individually, they had come to the same conclusion: the ultimate answer to abuse and neglect of dogs and cats is spay/neuter, for when only wanted litters are born, there will be no more homeless. After the three met in East Texas, this mutual conclusion resulted in the incorporation of Spay/Neuter Support Services of East Texas in July 2011.
One year later, numerous companion animals or feral cats are leading more comfortable lives. The corporation’s first clinic was held on International Spay Day 2012, February 28. The group now offers monthly clinics in Tyler and Mineola, with plans to offer services soon in Lindale.
The corporation’s “SpokesBubba,” actor Mike Hall, is the sole human in the Spay/Neuter/NOW Gang along with Dewdrop, a chihuahua abandoned by owners who moved away, a nameless grey kitten born in an East Texas shelter, and Molly, a gentle Rottweiler who survived Hurricane Katrina. The two dogs and the kitten symbolize the needs of East Texas dogs and cats.
“Our assumed name and our goal are identical: Spay. Neuter. NOW,” says Alford, a retired FBI agent who is the group’s president. “We focus on services for dogs and cats that are companion animals to low-income citizens. We have been fortunate to team up with a group of persons concerned for feral cats. They have begun to work with us on trap/neuter/release or TNR, a method successfully used in other states to trap feral cats humanely, sterilize them, and return them to their colony.”
Veterinarian Dr. Lynn Foster worked with a state-wide TNR project in Florida before moving to Texas. Dr. Foster brings her mobile surgery van to the clinic sites on second Fridays in Mineola and last Fridays in Tyler. “We could not have started clinics so soon without Dr. Foster,” says Alford, “and we are equally grateful to the business owners who have opened their premises to us: Al Horaney of Horaney’s in Tyler and Heidi Hoke of Vitae Pondera Health and Education Center in Mineola.”
Alford also credits other East Texas veterinarians who encouraged the group and the established spay/neuter clinics in surrounding cities that mentored the volunteers of Spay. Neuter. NOW. “We got management tips and hands-on experience at clinics in Gun Barrel City, Nacogdoches, Longview, Crandall, and other sites. Because these clinics are weekly, we offer callers to 903-590-0435 information on their locations and services when our next monthly clinics are full."
Spay. Neuter. NOW exemplifies grass-roots volunteerism by persons who have identified a need and seek to address it. The corporation’s first year has been financed by donations from individuals, a grant from the Helen S. Boylan Foundation, and garage sales, with the next sale scheduled for September 1. The corporation has a traveling fundraiser in the form of a two-act comedy about a dog who talks.
“Sylvia is a delightful comedy by A. R. Gurney, best known for his two-person play, Love Letters,” says Alford. “We are fortunate to have the talented Hannah Morris of Actors Preparatory Exchange directing the play and acting the role of Sylvia, the dog who talks to the audience. We’re a completely mobile troupe ready to perform anywhere from a theater to someone’s living room, as long as we have a local sponsor who will share the ticket sales with Spay. Neuter. NOW.” Persons interested in booking a benefit performance of Sylvia may learn more about Sylvia on the play’s Facebook page and at the corporation’s website.
The corporation urges persons to visit the website to educate themselves on benefits of spay/neuter for their companion dogs and cats and to learn of various ways to support the fledgling group. Persons who want an appointment for their animals at upcoming clinics should call 903-590-0435. Those who would like to volunteer with the group or sign up for the monthly e-newsletter may e-mail email@example.com.
“We thank everyone who has helped us this first year,” summarizes Alford, “and we look forward to healthy lives for more dogs and cats in the year ahead.”