Day 3: Memphis’ Other Neglected

After delivering the last meal to a senior in our community earlier this week, I glanced in my rearview mirror. There she was. Her eyes met mine. She was wet, cold, emaciated, and by the looks of her, had given birth to who-knows-how many litters of puppies.

It didn’t matter one bit that I was in an unfamiliar part of town. I had to try to help her.

Grabbing the last of my stash of pre-packaged peanut butter and cracker snacks that I keep on hand for just this occasion, I tried to lure her closer to me. As she backed away, she wouldn’t take her eyes off me, wanting so desperately to trust a human. I put the crackers on the sidewalk, out of the street traffic, and walked away. The further I retreated from the food, the closer she came to it.

As I returned to my car, she devoured every crumb. She was still scared, cold and wet, and I had a broken heart and tears in my eyes.

This isn’t the first time I’ve done this and it won’t be the last – not as long as we have so many animals in our community that aren’t spayed or neutered. As much as I love all things Memphis, we still have a lot of work to do in specific areas, particularly addressing our high population of neglected cats and dogs.

In 2005, Mid South Spay and Neuter Services (MSNS) opened its doors with the mission of “reducing pet overpopulation and high euthanasia rates by offering affordable spay and neuter surgeries to the public.”

Sorting donated newspapers so dog and cat kennels can be quickly lined by staff and volunteers.

Sorting donated newspapers so dog and cat kennels can be quickly lined by staff and volunteers.

According to the Humane Society of Memphis & Shelby County’s website, one unspayed cat can produce 4,948 kittens in 7 years. Since opening, MSNS has performed 37,000 spay and neuter procedures for both dogs and cats.

Take a moment. Do the math. Think about it. What would our neglected pet population be without the safe, compassionate and affordable services provided by MSNS?

The clinic’s veterinarian is trained in specialized procedures to operate on a high volume of patients daily while minimizing the recuperation time. Given the significant number of surgeries performed per day, things must move very quickly. The staff is amazing! Compassionate yet focused on ensuring the day’s patients receive the surgery and care needed to reduce Memphis’ pet overpopulation problem.

Today, I helped support the staff by sterilizing surgical instruments; washing, drying and folding donated towels and sheets; and calming anxious animals before surgery and soothing them as they came out of anesthesia.

Can you imagine being locked in this kennel not knowing where you are or what happens next?

Can you imagine being locked in this kennel not knowing where you are or what happens next?

With the continued efforts of the MSNS, donors and volunteers, the day will come when we won’t see so many frightened, hungry, injured animals wandering our Memphis streets. Go to http://spaymemphis.org/ to learn how you can help.

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