The Fix is In
I come from a family of ailurophiles—cat lovers. My family lived on a dead-end street abutted by an unruly woods. It was cat paradise. There were plenty of critters to stalk, some of which ended up in the house. The cats were allowed to come inside at their pleasure through a cat door in our basement.
I don’t remember ever having fewer than five cats living with us at a time. As a child, this certainly didn’t seem excessive—the more the merrier! My sisters and I, in fact, yearned for kittens. But, alas, our cats were all “fixed.”
I’ve come to appreciate my parents’ commitment to keeping so many cats fed, sheltered and neutered. Homeless cats seemed to find our house when they needed help, and help was always available. I fancy that our house stood like a feline beacon—much like my own house seems to now. There was never a shortage of stray cats looking for food, shelter and a friendly lap. We really didn’t need to produce any more. Instead, our house, with its loving humans and plentiful hunting grounds became a refuge for the displaced.
Feeding, sheltering, vaccinating, and spaying and neutering all those stray cats was expensive. But my parents were adamant about doing it. I imagine they would have loved living in these times, when organizations like No More Homeless Pets in Utah (NMHPU) can provide resources to help the people who help strays.
In 2004, NMHPU founded their Spay & Neuter Program. According to Ashley Farmer, Spay & Neuter Voucher Program Specialist, “The main mission of No More Homeless Pets is about saving animals from unnecessary euthanasia. What I like about it is that it’s kind of like social work. It merges helping people and helping animals. The organization and the Spay & Neuter Program help people become responsible pet owners.”
The Spay & Neuter Program has several limbs: a Free Fix program for qualifying individuals, low-cost spay and neuter vouchers and the Big Fix, a mobile spay and neuter clinic.
The Free Fix program is specifically designed to help low-income individuals and families on programs such as Medicaid, WIC, food stamps get their animals fixed for free. Individuals whose incomes meet federal poverty guidelines can also benefit from the Free Fix Program with income verification—tax returns, bank statements, etc. Ashley says that many people don’t realize they’re eligible for the program. She invites people to call NMHPU and go through the numbers to find out what they qualify for. NMHPU works with 35 to 40 vets around the state of Utah for their Free Fix program.
Spay & Neuter on the Go
Even if you don’t qualify for a free fix, anyone can get a four-legged fixed with a low-cost voucher, at the NMHPU’s clinic in Orem, Utah. If you prefer not to travel, you may want to check out the schedule for NMHPU’s Big Fix, a mobile spay and neuter clinic that provides low-cost services in different locations. Every Monday through Wednesday, the Big Fix van parks “wherever they will let us park,” says Ashley—places like Macy’s, Dilly Dally’s and Catholic Community Services. To find out their schedule and make an appointment, go to their website.
No More Homeless Pets in Utah’s mission is to help Utah become a no-kill state. Preventing unwanted pregnancies is at the root of solving the animal overpopulation problem that fuels euthanasia of healthy animals. “We want to help keep animals healthy, and help keep them in their homes,” says Ashley. “We want animals to be good companions for the rest of their lives.”
To find out more about NMHPU’s Spay & Neuter Program, contact them at 801-432-2124 or visit their website.
Remember: Through June 2012, a percentage of Hugger Mugger’s net sales will go to help No More Homeless Pets care for Utah’s dogs and cats!