By Katie McHenry
Martha, a senior citizen living in Alexandria, first adopted Nala, her three-year-old Chihuahua, through her neighbor’s sister, who was moving and unable to take the dog with her. Now, a year-and-a-half later, Nala is — quite literally — an altered female thanks to Spay Inc., a program of SPCA NOVA that provides discounted spay and neuter referrals for cats and dogs in Northern Virginia.
Martha also used the opportunity to update Nala on vaccinations, and Nala left Sunshine Animal Hospital (a longtime Spay Inc. participant) with a new lease on life and a pedicure to boot. Martha says that Nala came through the surgery and recovery beautifully and she now seems to be getting bigger and plays like a puppy!
When asked what prompted her to get Nala spayed, Martha replied that it was the fear that her beloved companion might one day get breast cancer. Like many educated pet owners, Martha realized that spaying her female dog (or cat) would prevent ovarian and uterine cancers, reduce the chances for mammary gland tumors and prevent pyometra (bacterial infection of the uterus). Meanwhile, studies show that neutering one’s male dog or cat prevents testicular tumors and, whether male or female, altered cats and dogs are less likely to run away in search of a mate.
In other words, the benefits of spaying and neutering one’s cat or dog extend beyond simply preventing litters of unwanted puppies and kittens.
Although Spay Inc. is not a veterinary clinic, it does offer discounted spay/neuter surgeries through a network of participating animal hospitals in the region, and while some programs have income and residency requirements, Spay Inc. does not — in other words, everyone qualifies for the referral program! Spay Inc. also has a hardship program to assist people who have financial need, such as those on disability, seniors (like Martha) on a fixed income or people who are in temporary financial distress.