Why do we need animal rescue organizations?

If I am being totally honest I am just trying to work myself out of a job!

My name is Daryl and I founded FurBabies Animal Rescue in January 2010. There are lots and lots of animal rescues out there but unfortunately there is ALWAYS a need for more. Why, you ask? Because there are lots and lots of homeless dogs and cats that are being killed in shelters all over the United States every day and particularly in the Southeast.

In my view there are so many people who are barking up the wrong tree (pun intended) wasting precious time complaining about the way the shelters handle the homeless pets in their counties. The county departments aren’t called Animal Control for nothing. Unfortunately they are not allowed to require the general public to spay and neuter their pets in order to control the animal population but they are allowed to euthanize the animals that come into their facilities to control the population.

If all of the well meaning folks who are complaining about how the shelters are “killing animals” would use the same efforts, breath and forums to educate the same people reading and hearing their rants to educate those people about spaying and neutering we MIGHT just make a difference in what is so heartbreaking to those of us who are in the trenches.

It is my dream that one day there will be no need for me to run a non-profit rescue because each and every dog will have a home where it is loved and cared for. The only way I can even imagine that happening is to prevent unwanted pregnancies by spaying and neutering.

-Daryl Wagner, Founder of FurBabies Animal Rescue

6 things you must do if a new pet is on your child’s wish list

*Originally featured on MomsCharlotte on Dec 6.

Dr. Elizabeth Welch, Medical Director for Spay Neuter Charlotte, knows that when taken care of properly, a new pet can be great addition to the family during the holidays. But to make the transition easy on parents, children and the pets themselves, she has a few suggestions for anyone with a new puppy, kitten, dog or cat on their list.

1. Have the animal examined by a veterinarian on before giving the children the animal. This ensures the animal is healthy from infectious diseases and free of parasites (intestinal and external) that can be passed on to children.

2. Be sure your new pet is beginning his vaccinations and is on heartworm and flea prevention. New pets should begin their vaccinations as soon as six to eight weeks of age. They should get their regular vaccines at 14-16 weeks of age.

3. If you adopt a dog, set up for obedience training to help them with their behavior.

4. You want them on a well-balanced diet. Your veterinarian can make suggestions as to which food to buy.

5. Always have plenty of toys for your new pet to play with so they leave the socks and shoes of kids alone. These things can become objects that dogs eat and then they get stuck and have to have surgically removed. In addition, during the holiday season be sure to keep up all poinsettias, chocolate, turkey and chicken bones away from dogs and cats, as these are toxic and can cause major illnesses.

6. Have your pet spay or neutered as soon as it’s time. This is best not only to prevent unwanted litters of animals but it’s also beneficial for the long-term health of your pet. Spay Neuter Charlotte recommends pets have their spay/neuter surgery at three pounds or three months. Dr. Welch highly recommends your pet be fixed before six months of age. The earlier the better for the lifetime health of your pet.

Spay Neuter Charlotte has two locations, with the new NoDa clinic opening at the end of December. Their third location, in Lake Norman, is scheduled to open in January 2017. They are currently running a holiday special: $65 for dogs and $35 for cats.

For more information, visit www.spayneutercharlotte.org or call 704.970.2711.

-Dr. Welch, Medical Director

Big Doings at Spay Neuter Charlotte

October was a crazy busy month at Spay Neuter Charlotte. In addition to fixing almost 900 animals there was a flurry of fundraising and lots of progress as move forward with a third clinic location in Lake Norman and a new site for our NoDa clinic.

Art Unleashed, a unique art event that benefits us, as well as four of our rescue partners, was held on October 7th and (despite the oncoming monsoon of Hurricane Matthew) generated record fundraising and attendance. $26,000 was raised thanks to the 126 pieces of art that were graciously donated by local artists. Almost 100% of the proceeds were given back to this year’s recipients: Spay Neuter Charlotte, Dog Days of Charlotte, Raintree Jacks Jack Russell Rescue, Chapman’s Dachshund Rescue, and FurBabies Animal Rescue.

Art Unleashed was quickly followed by the clinic’s annual dinner fundraiser, Bone Appetit! held this year at Sullivan’s Steakhouse. The theme for the evening was “Sweet dreams are made of this” and revolved around the Spay Neuter Charlotte’s plans to relocate the existing North Davidson facility to a much larger building on 32nd Street. They Call Me Sugar created an edible rendition of the new building. Isn’t it incredible?

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This delicious cake (yes, it’s a cake!) was made by They Call Me Sugar and is a rendering of our new NoDa Clinic on 32d Street.

In addition to hearing from me about our accomplishments and future plans, attendees also heard from Renee English who shared her perspective as a board member, Laurie Brady talked about her experiences as a volunteer, Bill Green who explained why his investment group wanted to purchase the 32nd Street building for our use and from Dr. Welch who talked about her dreams for what we will be able to do in the new space. The response to the presentation was overwhelming with over $100,000 raised!

We are also thrilled to announce that the ASPCA is providing Spay Neuter Charlotte with a $70,000 grant to open a third clinic in Lake Norman. The new Lake Norman clinic will be located at 325 Rolling Hill Road and is currently being renovated and (fingers crossed) a “soft opening” will take place December 1st and will be open to the public on January 1st. We will do surgery in the building Tuesday – Thursday and offer basic medical care on Fridays. We are very excited about the opportunity to serve pet owners in the Iredell region.

We are so grateful to be able to serve pet owners in our community who most need us and we are excited that with the opening of a third clinic this community is growing. Having the opportunity to expand into a third site in Lake Norman and relocate our NoDa Clinic to a larger facility on 32nd Street makes it possible for us to do more to meet the needs of those who we serve. Our grand expansion plans would not be possible without the incredible support of donors and clients and the leadership of our board. We are also indebted to the ongoing support of PetSmart Charities and the ASPCA. Together we will create a region without homeless pets.

-Cary Bernstein, Founder & Executive Director

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Spay Neuter Charlotte Founder & Executive Director, Cary Bernstein, holding Remi an 8 week old puppy at our NoDa Clinic.

Can I Get A Ride? Why Rescue Transport Maters

At SNC, about 25% of our surgery patients are rescue animals. These are dogs and cats that, in their few years (or weeks) on earth, have been through so much in life. Ranging from 8 weeks to 15+ years old, some of these dogs or cats were born strays, some were surrendered by their owners, and many have been saved from horrible situations that we think only happen on TV. The general public knows about rescue groups and the slogan “adopt, don’t shop!” time and time again or the hashtag #adoptdontshop. But what you may not know is the important role of rescue transport.

At Spay Neuter Charlotte, we work closely with several rescue groups, one such group is Project Safe Pet,  who frequently transport dogs and cats from southern to northern states. Due to lack of (and poorly regulated) spay/neuter laws in the southern states, our shelters quickly become overpopulated with dogs, puppies, cats and kittens. So often a female dog or cat will get pregnant and owners don’t want the financial or emotional burden of a litter so the pregnant dog or cat will get surrendered to a shelter, where she then has babies. These noble rescue groups will save the moms, the babies, those with special needs, the sick, the old, the scared and the “unadoptable.” They will vet these animals, spay/neuter them and once the dogs and cats are healthy and healed, they will be taken to places like New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Ohio, and more. Many of these rescued animals have potential adopters before they even reach their northern destination. States in the northeast have stricter animal laws and thus don’t have the abundance of homeless pets and overcrowding that we unfortunately experience in North Carolina. 

Rescue groups always need help from volunteers. They need donations of dog and puppy food as well as monetary donations to go toward vet bills, crates, interactive toys, treats, fosters, transporters, and advocates. If you have any interest in donating time, goods, or helping foster a dog or cat between shelter life and their forever home, email rescue@spayneutercharlotte.org and we can help get you in contact with some amazing people who work hard to save lives every day! 

-Nora, Patient & Rescue Services Manager

Illustration credit: Ed van der Hoek

Here are some dogs we’ve fixed from one of the various rescue groups that send the animals up north once they are vetted and healthy!

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A Dog’s Day at SNC

A day in the life of a dog getting fixed at Spay Neuter Charlotte:

6:00 am: Time to wake up! Hey… Where’s my breakfast?

6:30 am: That’s my leash! Where am I going? Grandma’s! Yay! Best Day Ever!!

6:45 am: Car ride?! Yay again!

7:15 am: The car has stopped. This is not Grandma’s.

7:25 am: I’m in the car. By. Myself. This never happens. How do I drive this thing? Bluetooth, call Grandma, we are lost.

7:45 am: Who’s this lady in the white coat? Why are you touching me there? Who are you?

7:48 am: Wow. I like whatever that lady in the white coat gave me. I see rainbows!

…..The next several hours are a trance, but here is what really happens:

When you arrive at Spay Neuter Charlotte to get your pet fixed we ask that you keep your dog in the car. We do this because it helps keep the lobby a less chaotic as we check-in everyone in the morning and give you important instructions. All cats are required to be in a carrier and after we finish with the check-in announcements you are allowed to drop off your cat while dog owners return to the car and hang out with their dog and wait for a vet tech. A vet tech will come to your car to ask you a couple questions before taking your dog into the building. Once your dog or cat is in the building they will get a physical exam by the doctor to make sure they are healthy for surgery. Afterwards, they get their first dose of meds to help them relax before surgery.

When it’s your pet’s turn for surgery, they will be given an additional dose of medication that makes them fall asleep as they are intubated to help them breathe during surgery. Once intubated your cat or dog gets their belly shaved, sanitized, nails trimmed, etc. They are moved to a sterile surgical table and hooked up to an anesthesia machine. The doctor will perform the surgery while the vet techs monitor their breathing and heart rate. Before surgery is complete, a pain block is given at the incision site, to numb the area, and make sure they’re as comfortable as possible. Once the doctor has completed surgery, they are moved to a warm soft bed that we call “the beach.” Each dog and cat is wrapped in blankets and surrounded by heated packs that keep them nice and warm. A vet tech monitors them as they are waking up. Once they are awake, they are moved back to their kennel where they rest and are continuously monitored for the rest of the day.

Back to your dog’s thoughts…

2:00 pm: That was a strange nap. I feel funny.

2:30 pm: Hey person. Why are you looking at me there? You have NO respect for my privacy. Geez.

3:00 pm: I swear I hear my mom out there.

3:06 pm: Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. I know she hears me. Mom. Mom.

3:25 pm: Hey person. Where are you taking me? Wait. I see mom!!!!!!! Yay!!!!!!

Your dog will begin to wake up only a few hours after surgery as they recover in their kennel. Pet owners will arrive in the clinic to be discharged at 3:30 PM and receive walk out instructions about how to care for their pet post surgery. These instructions and the information packet given at this time are very important. We discuss why making sure that your pet doesn’t lick their incision while they recover is crucial. (Licking causes lots of post op problems.) Before each dog is returned to its mom or dad (or Grandma) a vet tech checks their incision site to make sure that there are no problems and it looks good. From there we walk your dog out into the lobby where they are reunited with their family.

Here are some SNC patients with their families! 🙂

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What does wellness mean exactly?

Have you ever visited Spay Neuter Charlotte in NoDa on a Wednesday for Wellness? What about on a Friday in Pineville? If you have, you know we keep a steady and busy flow of doggy and kitty friends coming through the lobby for appointments. Some of them are here simply to have a vaccine updated, while others are waiting to see the doctor. When you’re making the appointment, you will be asked if you need a visit with the doctor or a visit with the technician. But what does that mean? We’re here to help with that.

When you contact us here at Spay Neuter Charlotte and ask to book an appointment for vaccines, we will book you for what we call a tech appointment. This type of appointment is what the majority of you, our clients, are looking for. We know that not everyone is looking for a visit with the doctor and sometimes you just need to come in and update Chuckie’s rabies vaccine or to get Tito a nail trim. A tech appointment is simply an appointment where your animal goes to the back with one of our trained technicians for services while you wait in the lobby. If you do not have questions or concerns for your pet that need to be discussed with a vet, this is the type of appointment you want.

These appointments are usually quick affairs, as we schedule three technicians’ appointments every fifteen minutes and you pay only for the services you need. We are usually able to schedule you for a tech appointment within 3-5 days of your contacting us to schedule. During a tech appointment, your animal receives a brief physical before any services are administered. If our staff sees anything out of the ordinary, we let you know about it, and if it is something we can help address, we go over your options to care for it as well. Some folks though are looking for a more complete physical exam, or have questions that need to be answered by the doctor. For these kind of appointments, we would schedule you for an office visit.

An office visit is an appointment where you go into a room with your animal with a technician and the doctor. An office visit is $25, plus the cost of whatever services are requested in addition to the office visit. During these visits, you have some one on one time with one of our doctors and are able to ask questions while your dog or cat is examined, and go over any concerns you might have. If your animal has a skin issue, or an ear infection, these would be addressed in an office visit appointment with the doctor. Our office visit appointments book up more quickly than our tech appointments and usually run 3-4 weeks out at a time. The office visits are booked as either a fifteen or thirty minute appointment depending on the day of the week you are scheduling and the reason for your office visit.

We are not a full services veterinary hospital and unfortunately are unable to see all types of visits here as we have limited diagnostic equipment. As an example, we do not have x-ray here so if your pet has a leg injury, we would refer you to your primary vet. If you are looking to schedule an appointment for something that is beyond the scope of what we can see here, we will advise you that Spay Neuter Charlotte can’t help in this situation and will refer you to your primary. In some instances, we can see you for an office visit to start a conversation but our veterinarian may have to refer to a primary vet.

As a general rule of thumb, unless you ask for a visit with a doctor, we will schedule you for a tech appointment. If you do want to see the doctor, please ask us when you are scheduling your appointment so we can make sure you are scheduled for the right visit. For every wellness day we have one technician dedicated to helping in the rooms with the doctor, and a different set of technicians working on the tech appointments. If you come in for an office visit appointment, you might see other appointments go back with a technician that came in after you while you are waiting. Because you are waiting to see the doctor and they aren’t, our technicians will take those back as they come in, but may help start services for your office visit appointment if there is a break and there is anything they can do to help get your visit started.

We now offer wellness three days a week at NoDa, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, as well as continuing to have those appointments available on Fridays at Pineville. You can make an appointment by giving us a call, or by using the online scheduler on the website. The services we offer on wellness days can be found on our website, as well as pricing. We hope to see you soon!

-Nicole, NoDa Clinic Manager

It’s 7:30 am and you’ve just walked through our clinic’s doors – what happens next?

The staff of Spay Neuter Charlotte can appreciate how nervous our clients are when they are dropping their puppies and kittens off for surgery. Our check-in process can seem a little daunting, and may even add a little more stress to the owners, at first. Almost every day, however, we hear from at least one owner how easy going and quick the process truly was. A “well-oiled machine” is a common phrase thrown around in the morning. If you are new to our organization, and would like some insight on what to expect on your pet’s surgery day, please continue reading!

We open the doors first thing in the morning at 7:25 AM, and allow five minutes for everyone to get in the building. We ask that everyone with a dog please keep them in their car. Although our check-in discussion is very brief, if there were 15-20 dogs in the lobby during the “spiel” – I’m sure you can imagine the chaos that would ensue! We ask that anyone with cats bring them inside in their carriers. We do require that all cats come into our building in carriers because it makes them less stressed, easier to handle, and safer around the dogs. Once everyone is in the lobby we then take a few minutes to go over everyone’s surgical release. We require that a surgical release be signed for every pet receiving surgery that day.

Once your paperwork is signed, you will check your pet in for surgery with one of our staff members. We will take a minute to discuss what your pet is scheduled to get done for that day and if there are any additional services you’d like to add on. We will also require your rabies paperwork at this time. If your pet is up to date on their rabies, we are required, by law, to have some sort of documentation, so please don’t forget this at home! If you are seeing us to get your dog fixed we give you a collar made out of paper for you to put around your dog’s neck. This is important because it ensures that we know exactly who your pup is!

Once you’ve finished checking in with a staff-member you are able to then get your dog out of your car and bring him or her in with their collar on. The vet techs will then come up and take your dog into the back office for their pre-surgical exam. If you have a cat, we’ll ask you to label your cat’s carrier with a sticker and kennel card. Once your cat is labeled, you’re all finished and ready to go! Overall, this process typically takes 15-20 minutes if you arrive at 7:30 AM.

We take our patient care very seriously at Spay Neuter Charlotte and we want everyone who walks through our clinics’ doors to enjoy their experience. The best thing to do is come prepared (bring rabies paperwork, don’t give your dog or cat food after midnight, and bring your cat in carrier if you have a cat), take a deep breath and be patient with us – it’s 7:30 AM for us too! 🙂

– Kelly, Pineville Clinic Manager