Spay Street by Asha
March 15, 2010, 9:44 pm
Filed under: Outreach

We all know the story about the man who stood on the shore watching a beautiful woman who was dancing on the sand.  As he walked closer, he realized that hundreds (or thousands if you like the drama) of starfish had been washed ashore and were dying on the beach.  It was getting dark and the man asked why she even bothered to try to save some of the starfish – there were just too many – they couldn’t all be helped.  She continued to pick them up one after another and said, “But I just saved that one.”

The first time I heard that story, I was moved.  The second, third, and tenth time – I was over it.  But today I have visions of starfish swimming in my head.

I had the opportunity to ride along with our Spay Street program coordinator.  Spay Street is a door-to-door community outreach program that provides resources and education to pet owners in Austin’s neediest communities.  Thanks to a generous grant, Emancipet is able to provide free spay/neuter and other basic services to these pets in need. I understood the program before, but seeing it in action gave it a whole new meaning.  In just two hours time, we covered about 3 blocks. Some homes had boards covering openings where windows should be, others had gates so flimsy I wondered why they even bothered.  There was one common theme: lots and lots of dogs and cats.  As we approached each house, the barking was often loud enough to bring residents to their front door. Laura, the program coordinator, explained why she was there and that she had the resources to provide much needed services to their pets.  The van used for transporting animals to the Emancipet clinic was full after just over an hour. Many pet owners were thankful and even a bit relieved. I must have heard, “I don’t want anymore” at least a dozen times. One house had a small, sweet puppy who was clearly very loved.  The man explained that this puppy had a sibling, but that sibling was nowhere to be found.  Another house had 8 Chihuahuas living together in a large yard.  The family had gone to the City of Austin Rabies Vaccination clinic the week before and had gotten all of them their shots.  We were able to bring in the dogs that had not been spayed or neutered to keep them from adding to the brood.

When the van was full and we had to drive away, I couldn’t help but feel like there was so much more that we needed to do.  But, like the lady dancing on the shore, I know we made a real difference in the lives of the handful of pets we were able to help that day.


2 Comments so far
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Thank you for the wonderful work you do. This will surely make a difference in the number of unwanted animals that end up at our city shelter!

Comment by Allison Landry

Spay Street is a wonderful program! Thanks for reading.

Comment by Asha

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