News & Events


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In This Issue January 1, 2012

   Why Support Collars for a Cause?
   It Isn't Too Late to Save Gabriela!
   ASPCA Funds Free Shots for Mobile Clinic Clients
   SNAP Sterilizes 205 Animals at Navajo Nation
   Old Books Out, Good Karma In
   Big Dogs Fixed in Memory of Talbot

SA Community Cat Zip Code Program Ongoing
Upcoming SNAP Events
   A Dog's Life by Hedda Hound
   New SNAP Grants
   SNAP Wins $10K in Merial Contest
   SNAP Three-peats HEB Feast of Sharing
   Fabulous Felines by Madame Astrocat
   Quote of the Month

- 44,937 -
The number of dogs and cats
helped by your gifts between
Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, 2011.

SNAP has sterilized over

dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993.

Why Support Collars for a Cause?
Create a Collar or Become a Sponsor to Help Prevent Needless Animal Deaths
Artists and designers will create Collars for a Cause!

It is a new year, and Collars for a Cause 2012 is gathering steam, but we help need your help to make it a success. Creative collars are needed for the auction, items are needed for the silent (non-collar) auction, and sponsors are needed to help underwrite the costs of the fundraiser. Why should you support Collars for a Cause? This month SNAPtales takes a step back to review what this event is all about and why we need your support.

Each year, tens of thousands of dogs and cats end up in shelters because they were born unwanted. The great majority of these animals are put to death, not because they are sick or unadoptable, but simply because there are not enough homes for them all. The SNAP mission is to prevent the suffering and death of dogs and cats due to overpopulation and preventable diseases, especially in low-income areas. We do that by providing free and reduced-cost spay-neuter surgeries and wellness services such as rabies and distemper vaccinations. It isn’t inexpensive to provide these services, and SNAP depends on your generosity and love of animals to make it happen. Collars for a Cause is a joint venture between LIFE+DOG Magazine and SNAP that is intended to focus attention on this issue and to give SNAP supporters a fun and exciting way to help the animals.

The fundraiser consists of an auction of custom collars and leads created by celebrities, artists, and designers and a celebration event where those of us who care about the plight of homeless animals can come together to support our common cause and get to know one another. All SNAP supporters are invited to participate in the auction and to attend the celebration, which is scheduled for Friday, April 13, 2012. The auction will be starting up online in a few weeks, but you will be able to bid at the celebration as well.

Last year’s auction featured collars from numerous national and international designers and celebrities, including comedienne Margaret Cho, accessory and handbag designer Elaine Turner, E! Entertainment talk show host Chelsea Handler, and ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill. Many local artists and celebrities also participated, included artist Kermit Eisenhut, KPRC Local 2 personality Courtney Zavala, and Houston Mayor Annise Parker. If you are an artist, designer, or celebrity and would like to participate by creating a collar, please download our collar designer form.

The celebration also includes a traditional silent auction that is separate from the collar auction. If you would like to donate goods or services for the silent auction, please download our silent auction donation form.

The most important thing to remember is that the proceeds of the auction and the celebration go to support SNAP spay-neuter programs. Every dollar raised after expenses are met will be a dollar that helps prevent animals from dying needlessly. Expenses can be reduced if we have sponsors who are willing to help fund Collars for a Cause, so if you or your company can help, please download our sponsor form (PDF file, Adobe Reader required.) to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

Sponsors as of press time include include LIFE+DOG Magazine, Digital Function, Momentum Volvo, and Pet Paradise. SNAP is grateful to all of these wonderful firms for their support of Collars for a Cause!

It Isn’t Too Late to Save Gabriela!
Animal Reproduction Rates Make Spay-Neuter the Only Way to Prevent Needless Deaths
It's up to you, baby!

Gabriela, a newborn infant, may well have two children by the time she is in her mid-twenties. Compare that with Lancelot, a newborn male puppy, and Cupcake, a newborn female kitten. These animals (and their offspring) could sire and give birth to literally thousands of additional dogs and cats during the same period. Even if Gabriela and both of her kids create homes for multiple animals, there will still never be enough homes for all that are born. Adoption is the best way to bring a new animal into your home, but we can never adopt our way out of the problem.

Every animal spayed or neutered prevents hundreds or thousands more from being born. SNAP wants to prevent the birth of as many unwanted dogs and cats as possible, but what we can do is up to you. It is your gifts that make it possible. It is your gifts that can help save Gabriela (and everyone else) from being overrun by hoards of puppies and kittens in the decades to come.

Of course we all know that Gabriela and her family will not literally face countless homeless dogs and cats. Instead, Gabriela and everyone else who pays taxes, will pay our local governments to have these animals rounded up, housed, fed, and eventually put to death. It amounts to several hundred dollars per animal. Once these animals have been killed, their bodies will be disposed of in our landfills, adding to the cost created by this problem. Doesn’t it make sense to prevent the problem at a fraction of the cost? This is the power of spay-neuter. It is a power that you can wield if you care to do so. It is a solution you can embrace if you only will. Please donate to SNAP today, and help us fight animal overpopulation tomorrow.

ASPCA Funds Free Shots for Mobile Clinic Clients
Program Covers Feline Distemper and Canine Distemper/Parvo Vaccinations
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Thanks to a grant from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), the SNAP mobile clinics in Houston and San Antonio will be providing free distemper vaccinations for cats and free distemper/parvo vaccinations for dogs through the end of February. The cost of these preventative treatments is normally $17.50 each. Getting the vaccinations for free thus represents a great added value to the free spay-neuter surgery and rabies vaccination the clinic already provides for animals from qualifying low-income households. Clients can check the Houston and San Antonio mobile clinic web pages to find out whether they qualify for free services. Those who do are encouraged to check the appropriate (Houston or San Antonio) mobile clinic schedule to find out when the mobile clinic will be in their neighborhood.

SNAP Sterilizes 205 Animals at Navajo Nation
San Antonio Mobile Clinic Visit Funded by For Pets Sake
Tonia and Jennifer attend recovering animals during SNAP clinic at the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, NM.
SNAP Veterinary Technicians Tonia Floresvega and Jennifer Granado attend recovering animals during the SNAP clinic at the Navajo Nation near Shiprock, NM.

Four SNAP San Antonio team members sterilized 205 dogs and cats on the Navajo Nation reservation near Shiprock, New Mexico, during a spay-neuter event on December 10-11, 2011.

The trip was funded by For Pets Sake, a non-profit animal group based in Cortez Colorado. The two-day clinic provided free spay-neuter surgery and vaccinations for the pets of the residents of the reservation. The services were much needed and the clients expressed great appreciation for them.

Surgeries were performed by SNAP veterinarians Dr. Mary Kate Lawler and Dr. Elizabeth Bowman. They were assisted by veterinary technicians Jennifer Granado and Tonia Floresvega. The hard work of fifteen volunteers was also crucial to the great success of the event.

Old Books Out, Good Karma In
WookieBooks Let’s You Clear Out Unneeded Books While Helping Animals
WookieBooks pays SNAP 30 percent for YOUR used books!

How would you like to get rid of some old books and earn a few good karma points in the process? WookieBooks, Pet Paradise, and WookieBooks are making it possible with a book drive scheduled for the last week of January. Thirty percent of the proceeds for books subsequently sold by WookieBooks will go to SNAP! The drive takes place in both Houston and San Antonio with collection points at SNAP clinics in both cities and at Pet Paradise Resorts in Houston. See the SNAP event calendar listing for complete information including drop-off addresses.

This is the second book drive SNAP and WookieBooks have held since October. The first drive was a tremendous success! Thousands of books were collected, and WookieBooks hauled them off for processing. Some of the books collected were sold online with SNAP earning $146.88 as of the end of November. WookieBooks expects an even higher total to be generated by December sales. Books not sold online go to literacy programs, homeless shelters, and community centers.

Please review the WookieBooks guidelines before donating: WookieBooks accepts hardbacks and paperbacks of all genres. They also accept textbooks (preferably no more than five years old and with ISBN numbers); certification study guides; technical, medical, and law texts; pre-recorded VHS tapes (preferably in new condition); and DVDs and CDs (in original cases with all artwork--no burned copies). When it comes to fiction, DVDs, and CDs, they especially like obscure titles! WookieBooks asks that you do not donate damaged (warped or moldy) books, academic journals, literary criticism, encyclopedias, magazines, periodicals, condensed books, activity books, or Harlequin romances.

WookieBooks is a for-profit social enterprise that harnesses the power of e-commerce by collecting and selling used books and media items online to support literacy and animal rescue initiatives, all the while saving hundreds of thousands of these items from the landfill. According to the company’s web site, the owners of WookieBooks "strongly feel that books and media items possess knowledge that should live on, long after they have lived with you."

SNAP is grateful to WookieBooks and Pet Paradise for their support in making this wonderful fundraiser possible.

Big Dogs Fixed in Memory of Talbot
Houston Clinic Spays and Neuters 30 Animals during Event Funded by Harris Family
Talbot - one of Pam Harris' dogs
Talbot was the beloved dog of the Harris Family. The Harrises funded a free spay-neuter day at the Houston SNAP clinic in December in his memory.

The SNAP Houston Clinic sterilized 30 animals for free during a special spay-neuter event funded by longtime SNAP supporters Pam and Jim Harris. The event, held on Thursday, December 8, 2011, was the third "Talbot Big Dog Day" made possible by the Harris family. Free surgery was provided for dogs weighing 40 pounds or more (and puppies that would grow to be that large). The event commemorated the Harris’s dog Talbot, who passed on a few years ago. The clinic spayed 18 female dogs and neutered 10 male dogs during the event. Two feral cats masquerading as big dogs were also sterilized bringing the total number of animals to 30.

SNAP is deeply grateful to the Harrises for their generous effort to help the big dogs of Houston and for their many years of faithful support.

Alamo City Community Cat Zip Code Program Ongoing
Free Roaming Cats Sterilized for Free Thanks to Summerlee Foundation Grant
A Summerlee Foundation grant enables SNAP to fix 100 community cats for free.

An ongoing program at the SNAP Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic in San Antonio enables residents of the 78228 zip code to get community cats spayed or neutered for free thanks to a generous grant from The Summerlee Foundation. The grant covers free spay-neuter surgery for 100 community (feral, stray, or otherwise homeless) cats from within this zip code. It also reduces the cost of a rabies vaccinations (which is required by state law if you cannot provide a rabies certificate to prove the animal is already vaccinated) to just $5. This makes helping those homeless kitties inexpensive indeed!

You must bring the cat(s) to the SNAP clinic at 6758 Ingram Rd. in San Antonio. Cats will be accepted from residents of the zip code or trappers identifying where cats were trapped within the zip code. All cats will have the tip of their left ear removed as a sign that they have been sterilized. There are no exceptions to this rule. Appointments are preferred, but SNAP will accept cats in live traps without an appointment. Call 210-673-7722 or email to set up an appointment or for more information.

SNAP would like to express its sincere appreciation to The Summerlee Foundation for funding this program to help address the problem of free roaming cats in the 78228 zip code.

Upcoming SNAP Events
Tuesday-Sunday, January 24-29, 2012 - Houston and San Antonio, TX
  WookieBooks Book Drive
SNAP and WookieBooks are having a second book drive. Watch our event calendar for details!
February 28, 2012 - Houston and San Antonio, TX
  SNAP Celebrates Spay Day
SNAP San Antonio will spay 40 dogs and 60 cats for FREE. Houston event details to come.
Friday, April 13, 2012 - Houston, TX
  Collars for a Cause Celebration
Save the date for this p’awesome celebration! Event and auction details coming soon.

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner

Hello Darlings!

Do you love big dogs? Who doesn’t? Unfortunately, some large breeds are susceptible to a painful and debilitating condition known as hip dysplasia. What is it and what can be done about it? Read this month’s letter from Grabthar, a Great Dane from Greens Bayou, to learn more.

Hey Hedda,

I am a first time writer but a big fan, and I am hoping you can help me with this question. I am a six-year old Great Dane, and for years I have been play-mates with another Great Dane named Hermann. We usually tag up at the local bark park and chase each other around. It’s great fun, but lately Hermann has had to give it up. He would falter when we were running, and when I asked him why, he would complain about pain in his hips. His human friend, Mark, took him to a veterinary clinic where he was diagnosed with something called hip dysplasia. The vet told Mark and Hermann that it’s a common condition among certain large breeds of dogs such as Great Danes.

Hedda, what exactly is hip dysplasia? Can it be treated?  And if it is common in Great Danes, does this mean I could catch it from Hermann? I’m sad for my friend and worried for myself.

Sign me,
Not Hip with Dysplasia

Dear Hip,

I have some good news, some not-so-good news, and some cold hard facts for you about hip dysplasia.

Let’s go for the good news first. Hip dysplasia is not a communicable disease, so you cannot catch it from Hermann or any other dog. The not-so-good news is that it is primarily a genetic disorder. That is why it is more common among certain breeds--particularly large breeds, such as Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, and German Shepherds. Consequently you may still end up with it. (If you’re going to be afflicted by it, chances are you already have it, but you may not be having any symptoms yet.) Just because it is common in certain breeds, however, that does not mean you will definitely develop it. Not all big dogs experience it.

What is hip dysplasia and what are the symptoms? According to the PetMD web site, it is a disease affecting the hip joints that causes them to work improperly. They may become loose and prone to partial dislocation. They may also become painfully inflamed and, as the disease advances, subject to osteoarthritis. Symptoms that may indicate hip dysplasia include hind leg lameness (especially after exercise), an unusual gait, standing with the hind legs close together, tenderness in the hip joints, difficulty rising; and a reluctance to run, jump or climb stairs. A veterinarian can determine whether such symptoms are being caused by hip dysplasia or some other cause. Blood tests and x-rays may be required for diagnosis.

There are treatments for the disease. Surgery may be required in severe cases, and there are several different procedures used depending on the age, size, and condition of the dog. Total hip replacement is an option, though it is quite expensive. There is a range of less drastic treatments that may help animals with milder cases. Anti-inflammatory drugs and pain killers may be used to address swelling and pain. Physiotherapy (passive exercise) may also be helpful. One other important and relatively simple way to reduce the suffering associated with the disease is to make sure the dog maintains a healthy weight. Obesity adds to the amount of weight the joints must bear.

Hip dysplasia is no fun, but treatment can substantially reduce the discomfort in most cases. Many dogs go on to live happy and relatively comfortable lives for years after being diagnosed with the disease. While it is a serious matter, it isn’t necessarily the end of good times for dogs who get it. Tell ‘em Hedda said so!

Some information for this article comes from "Hip Dysplasia in Dogs" on the PetMD web site (

New SNAP Grants
A Monthly Review of New SNAP Grants


SNAP would like to express its appreciation to the following foundations, charitable trusts, and corporations for their recent grant awards to SNAP:

    Greater Houston Community Foundation, $1,000 (Recommended by Ward Family Charitable Trust)
    Huffington Foundation, $2,500
    Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund (Jean Felsted Charitable Fund), $1,000
    Charlotte B. Proehl Foundation, $4,500
    Robertson-Finley Foundation, $500
    Keith & Mattie Stevenson Foundation, $5,000
    J. Harry Tappan and Winnie Converse Tappan Charitable Trust, $500
    Marjorie T. Walthall Perpetual Charitable Trust, $2,000
    Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program (Jim and Pam Harris Charitable Fund), $10,000

SNAP Wins $10K in Merial Contest
Veterinary Pharmaceutical Company Recognizes San Antonio Clinic Product Display
SNAP San Antonio entry in 2011 Merial Merchandising Contest.

SNAP is thrilled to announce that the San Antonio Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic has won the grand prize of $10,000 in the Merial Merchandise to Win Contest.  Entering the contest involved creating a Merial product display, photographing it, and submitting the photographs for judging. Entries were judged on the number of merchandising elements displayed, the prominence of the display with the clinic waiting room, the creativity with which the materials were displayed, and the photograph itself. Merial, the maker of Frontline and other veterinary pharmaceutical products, held the contest to encourage veterinary clinics to promote the company’s animal wellness products. SNAP clinic staffer Valerie De La Rosa designed the display idea and did all of the decorating. Clearly she did an outstanding job!

SNAP is grateful to Valerie for her creativity and hard work and to Merial for selecting SNAP as the winner of the contest. The prize money will be put to good use providing spay-neuter surgeries and wellness services for dogs and cats in the community. You can see the award-winning SNAP display in the photo that accompanies this article.

SNAP Three-peats HEB Feast of Sharing
San Antonio Street Team Conducts Outreach at Event for Third Year in a Row
H-E-B Feast of Sharing 2011

The SNAP San Antonio street team attended the annual H-E-B Feast of Sharing on Saturday, December 17, 2011. This is the third year in a row that SNAP has participated in the event. Texas-based grocery chain H-E-B invites the public to enjoy a free holiday meal and celebrate the holiday season at this event. The firm provides an information hall where local non-profit groups that serve low-income households can provide information on their services. The SNAP booth was staffed by Vanessa, Phyllis, and San Antonio clinic Office Manager Molly Phillips. They handed out SNAP brochures and provided information on SNAP programs to guests.

The day's festivities include live music, kid's activities and free health screenings. Hundreds of volunteers from H-E-B and local communities gave of their time and energy to serve the guests. SNAP San Antonio would like to thank H-E-B for holding the event.

Madame AstroCat[object Object]

Dear Readers,

Recently Madame Astrocat was read about a list of new words being added to the English language by none other than the folks who publish the Oxford English Dictionary. Unfortunately the covers of the illustrious tome cannot be forced one more page apart, so they have to remove certain terms that they deem to be outdated to make room for the new ones. The dictionary’s 2011 update, for example, did away with the word "cassette tape".  (Whatever will I call those plastic cases containing spools of recording tape that fill my media storage cabinet?) Anyway, it occurred to me that if the Oxford English Dictionary can do it, so can Madame Astrocat. Here then are my top ten words and phrases that shall henceforth be deleted from the English language. (Note that some of these phrases have other more offensive meanings than those cited. I have avoided these. Madame Astrocat runs a family-friendly establishment.)

10. Cat Breath - This uncharitable phrase is used to suggest that one has exceedingly unpleasant breath. It is a reference to the breath of cats, which is apparently considered offensive by some humans. What? Do you think human breath smells sweet to us felines?

9. Cat Daddy - This term used to refer to an older man who still has a way with the ladies. If that is not a sufficiently humiliating association, it is has also become the name of a rather unflattering dance popularized by a hip hop band called the Rej3ctz. (No, I didn’t misspell it. They did. Still, I won’t argue with the name.)

8. Cat Bellies - This phrase is used to describe the flab that hangs from the underside of the upper arms of a person who is physically unfit. It is an exceedingly inappropriate term given that actual cat bellies are usually quite firm, quite furry, and respond in a delightful way to light scratching (hint-hint).

7. Wampus Cat - A wampus cat is a young lady who, while normally quite respectable, becomes considerably less so when overly intoxicated. The result is a woman who becomes unflatteringly free with her favors. Please note that real cats do not drink and remain respectable in all circumstances.

6. Cat Bound - There are two variations on this phrase. One, which remains quite acceptable, means to be incapacitated by the presence of a contented cat sitting or lying on one’s lap. The unacceptable version involves blaming a cat for one’s own sloth. (If it’s that important, make us move. We will be waiting for you when you come back.)

5. Cat Waxing - While this sounds potentially quite crude, it is actually a phrase adopted by the writing profession and is similar to the less acceptable definition of the term "cat bound". It means to procrastinate on one’s assignment by overinflating the importance of unrelated or tangentially related activities. Madame Astrocat would never stoop to cat waxing, and she’s a cat!

4. Herding Cats - We all know that the phrase "herding cats" is used to describe tasks that are unwieldy to the point of being impossible. The phrase is ridiculous, however, because the concept behind it is ridiculous. One might as well attempt to pull objects from a black hole. Only a fool would attempt either.

3. Cat Fight - Referring to a physical altercation between two women, the phrase cat fight manages to be derogatory to both women and cats at the same time. It is so insulting that it makes my blood boil. I believe that if it were ever used in my presence, I would immediately attack the person who... Um, never mind.

2. Cat Call - A cat call is a loud utterance or whistle that is intended to expresses distaste or disapproval. Cats are not loud, and when we express disapproval we do so with an icy glare. Okay, we might wait until you leave and then shred your favorite pillow. We would never, however, howl in displeasure, and we are physically incapable of whistling. Do take note.

1. Fat Cat - This is perhaps the oldest and most offensive of all the terms in this list. It is regularly applied to describe those members of Congress who line their own pockets through unscrupulous backroom deals and self-serving legislation. It is shocking that anyone would refer to these scoundrels as fat cats. Surely a cat is more respectable than a member of Congress!

Quote of the Month
"I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me they are the role model for being alive." ~ Gilda Radner

No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill


Copyright 1999-2010, Spay-Neuter Assistance Program except as noted. All rights reserved. Right to copy is granted subject to the condition that this copyright notice and the name, address, phone number, and website address (URL) of Spay-Neuter Assistance Program, Inc. appear, and that material copied is not resold.



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