In about a month, I will be stepping down as the founder and president of Spay Neuter Network and let me tell you, it has been an amazing journey! But in many ways, I really didn’t have much of a choice.
It all started ten years ago on a drive down highway 429. I had a highly successful career in medical sales and I was having one of my chats with God. I was asking a common question many of us ask, “God, what should I be doing with my life?” Now, understand God had spoken to me many times during that period and often I heard words of encouragement to help animals. My human friends would cock their heads when I told them about these chats and ask me, “Bonnie, why aren’t you helping people?” No doubt, I was a bit confused, but I asked God to give me a sign and there, right in front of me, a cat ran across the highway.
It was a tipping point in my life. It was then I began looking at the most impactful way to save lives of animals. Initially I wanted to open a shelter and I gave a call to the then executive director at SPCA, Warren Cox. I shared my desire to open a shelter and he responded, “Girl! We need to have lunch! If you have a shelter you will be killing animals all day long.”
Warren was right then and still is today. Each year 2.7 million cats and dogs are euthanized in shelters in this country. It’s very simple, but harsh math; there just aren’t enough homes for all the dogs and cats born each day. These numbers don’t include the number of animals that are hit and killed on roadways or starve to death after being dumped. That’s when I decided to focus on high quality, high volume spay neuter: the best and most effective way to prevent euthanasia and tragic endings for our companion dogs and cats.
There is a simple and clear cut answer to what many people see as a complicated problem; pet overpopulation. A lot of really brilliant people are spending a lot of time and money on solving this problem, but I am often frustrated because the answer is really clear and we just need to do the right thing; spay and neuter.
As a business person, I developed a plan, set goals and systematically developed a process to make a difference. Ten years later, Spay Neuter Network performs 17,000 surgeries a year. Due to our work, along with other organizations pushing spaying and neutering, we are seeing a drop in euthanasia rates, a drop in shelter intakes and more animals that do end up in shelters are sterilized. My focus is based on a problem that society has created and solving the problem in the most humane way. I also feel very fortunate and we are lucky to have incredible funders who get it and they have been by our side the entire time.
The numbers tell the story and that story is right in my front yard. I moved to a rural home in Kaufman County ten years ago and during that first year, I personally had 45 dogs dumped on our property. If I wanted a dog, I just had to walk out my front door. This year, we lost one of our older pups and I haven’t seen stray dogs for some time in my neighborhood. Instead, I made a trip to a shelter and found Rusty. We can solve the pet overpopulation problem, and the best, most impactful and humane solution is spay/neuter. I feel honored to have spread the word.
Spay Neuter Network