News & Events
SNAPtales, the newsletter of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Prog
In This Issue
December 1, 2014
- 47,717 -
 The number of dogs
and cats helped by
your gifts between
Jan. 1 and Oct. 31, 2014
SNAP has sterilized over
dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993
What If They Were Children?
Client’s Tragedy Sparks New Appreciation for the Lives of Unwanted Animals

What if they were children? Click to donate now!
"I don't have kids, so these dogs are my babies," says Mike, a recent Houston mobile clinic client. After losing several dogs when his home burned down, he came to understand the tragedy of animals born unwanted and brought survivors Boy (pictured) and Cosita in to be fixed. Give today so we can help more animals like them.
One day about six months ago, Mike got a disturbing phone call while he was at work. His house was on fire. He rushed home to find it burned almost completely to the ground. Several of his dogs had been inside and were dead. Fortunately, a firefighter had found his two-month-old chihuahua, Boy, under the washing machine with Cosita, a two-year old female. Sadly, Cosita was blind due to smoke damage to her eyes. Boy was shaken up but otherwise unhurt.

The death of his other dogs was painful. “I don’t have kids, so these dogs are my babies.” It was their deaths that brought Mike to understand the tragedy of the numerous animals that die every day in shelters. He decided then that he did not want either of his remaining dogs to reproduce. Cosita was fixed immediately aboard the SNAP mobile clinic. Boy was too young to be fixed at the time but recently was neutered as well. Mike says he is very grateful for the assistance. “SNAP has helped me so much, from Cosita to Boy, with spay-neuter and vaccinations.” Of course, we know it is you, our donors, who really deserve the credit. Please help us continue to provide services that prevent the birth of unwanted dogs and cats. Please donate today.

Mike thought of his dogs as children. What if our society killed or abandoned unwanted children? This idea, as cruel as it sounds, is reality for dogs and cats born unwanted. Every day our clinics encounter animals who were left to fend for themselves or were mere hours from death in a shelter. These are the lucky ones. Someone who cared found them and rescued them in time. Millions of others aren’t so lucky. Some will say, "It’s not like they’re human." Human or not, recent studies suggest that dogs and cats may be as intelligent as two-to-three year old children. Like a human child, every dog and cat is a unique individual with his or her own personality. The more we learn, the more we come to realize just how much we have in common with our animals.

Killing or abandoning unwanted dogs and cats is cruel and inhumane, not only because they are intelligent fellow beings but because it is unnecessary. It can be prevented. Do you care enough to play a part? When you support spay-neuter with a donation, your gift will help deserving animals get the surgery that will prevent them from giving birth to unwanted offspring. When you donate to SNAP, you become an agent of compassion.

Help animals who cannot help themselves. Show them that you care, and change the world for the better. Donate today.

By the way, donating by Wednesday, December 31st, may make you eligible to receive a deduction on your 2014 federal income taxes. Deductibility of charitable gifts depends on your individual circumstances. A qualified tax professional can help you determine if you qualify. City and county shelters use your taxes to round up, house, feed, kill, and dispose of homeless animals. Your donation can help reduce the number of animals in shelters, which means fewer tax dollars will be spent on this tragic and needless expense. A $50 donation covers half the cost of sterilizing a dog or the entire cost for one cat!

Collars and Leashes Needed
Help Financially Challenged SNAP Clients Keep Their Dogs and Cats Safe
A mobile clinic client must hold her dog for lack of a leash
Some mobile clinic clients must hold their animals for lack of a collar or leash. Help them keep their animals safe by donating to our collar and leash drive.
SNAP mobile clinic staff members encounter many animals from low-income homes every day, and often they come to us without collars or leashes. We see many items pressed into service in their stead—from chains and ropes to electrical cords. These makeshift substitutes are less functional than purpose-made collars and leashes. Many substitutes are less secure and may present a danger of the animal getting loose. Conversely, some are too tight and may pose a choking risk to the animal. SNAP is therefore starting a holiday collar and leash drive to help protect these animals against unneeded risk. We are looking for new items only, and we need them in all sizes. If you would like to donate to the drive, you may drop off newly purchased collars and leashes at any SNAP clinic. Even more convenient, you can simply visit the SNAP wish list and buy any of the collars and/or leashes listed there. Your purchase will be shipped directly to SNAP! (Sign up for the AmazonSmile program before you do, and you will be donating twice at no additional cost to you! See related story below.)

You can be sure each donation you make will help a deserving dog or cat to help prevent him or her from getting lost or experiencing unnecessary pain or discomfort. Your generosity will earn you the gratitude of SNAP, our clients, and—most importantly—the animals.
AmazonSmile This Holiday Season!
Do Your Holiday Shopping via AmazonSmile and the Animals Get a Gift Too

AmazonSmile donates .05 percent of your purchases back to SN
The holidays are here! When you do your seasonal gift shopping, do it in a way that helps the animals. It doesn't cost you a penny extra when you buy through the AmazonSmile program! Participating in the program means that Amazon donates 0.5 percent of every purchase you make to SNAP.

How does it work? It couldn’t be easier. To enroll, just visit the SNAP enrollment page, log into your Amazon account, and then shop! Enrollment is free, and everything you buy through AmazonSmile from then on will generate a donation for SNAP. Just remember to start your shopping at the AmazonSmile page. Bookmark the page for even greater convenience! As Amazon puts it, “AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same Amazon Prime benefits.” That's right. It even works if you're an Amazon Prime member. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

Join the AmazonSmile program today, and you will be able to smile that your holiday purchases from the online mega-merchant are making it a happier holiday season for dogs and cats as well!
SNAP to Benefit from San Antonio Pride 2015

LGBT Community Parade and Festival Will Help Fund Spay-Neuter

SNAP staff and supporters march in 2013 San Antonio Pride Pa
A number of SNAP staff members and supporters march with the mobile clinic in the 2014 San Antonio Pride Parade.
SNAP has been notified by the Pride San Antonio board of directors that the agency is to be a beneficiary of the 2015 Pride Parade and Festival. The theme for the 2015 event is “Pride Bigger Than Texas.” Other beneficiaries of San Antonio Pride 2015 are Black Effort Against the Threat of Aids (Beat-AIDS), Fiesta Youth, GLBTQ and Allies of San Antonio College, and Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) San Antonio.

Pride San Antonio seeks to "instill pride, celebrate unity, embrace diversity, and recognize the contributions of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender community in the San Antonio metropolitan area. This will be accomplished by creating visibility and promoting full human and civil rights through education, celebrations, and networking to the extent allowed by the nonprofit status of Pride San Antonio."

The organization conducts additional fundraising events throughout the year, and the proceeds of these events are distributed through public community gatherings to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations chosen by the Pride San Antonio board of directors.

The “Pride Bigger Than Texas” Pride Parade and Festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 4, 2015, at San Antonio’s Crockett Park, 1300 N. Main Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212.
STCL Howl-O-Ween Raised $2,600 for Animals
"Dororthy and Not-So-Cowardly Lion" Raised the Most; "Justin Bieber" Gets Most Votes

"Dorothy & the Not-So-Cowardly Lion (left), Justin
Howl-O-Ween contest winners "Dorothy and the Not-So-Cowardly Lion (left), and Justin Bieber (right).
The Howl-O-Ween animal costume contest we reported on last month raised $2,600 for SNAP spay-neuter programs! These funds will allow us to spay many dogs and cats, thus saving many more from being born unwanted. Society President Thuha Nguyen reports that the winners of the contest included a hip doggie named Justin Bieber and a pair of cuddly canines called Dorothy and The Not-So-Cowardly Lion. Bieber won the popular vote while Ms. Dorothy and Mr. Lion raised the most money for the cause. You can see all of the adorable contestants and their clever costumes on the contest website.

The contest was conducted by the South Texas College of Law’s Animal Law Society. The society has held an annual fundraiser for SNAP each year for the past several years. SNAP is deeply grateful to the organization for its generous ongoing support!

Houston Clinic Celebrates 15 Years
Wellness Clinic Opened in 1999, Merged with Surgery Clinic in 2010
Houston clinic celebrates its 15th anniversary!
We hope you will all join us in celebrating the 15th anniversary of the SNAP Houston Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic! The clinic, which is located at 1801 Durham Dr., Suite 1, opened in 1999 as the SNAP Wellness Clinic. It merged with our surgery clinic—formerly at 1603 Shepherd Dr.—in early 2010.

Literally hundreds of thousands of animals have received services at the clinic, and SNAP is proud to have had a role in improving the lives of so many. The board and management of SNAP would also like to express their appreciation of the clinic staff members who have worked so hard to ensure the success of the facility over these many years.

Interested in learning more about the clinic and the services it offers? Click here to visit the clinic website!
Upcoming SNAP Events
There are currently no events scheduled. Happy Holidays to one and all!

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner
Hello Darlings!

What is a dog? A dog is a beloved companion. A dog is a treasure. A dog is a family member.  What is a dog not? A dog is not a toy. A dog is not an accessory. A dog is not a charm to inspire the affection of prospective partners as you jog through the park. If you are reading this column, you probably already know this. If you’re surprised by anything you’ve read so far, however, read this month’s letter from Colby, a Collie mix from Converse, for your edification.

Dear Hedda,

I have a tale to share. It starts out happy but then… Well, just read it. I was in the local bark park a couple of years ago when I noticed a new dog I hadn’t seen before. Her name was Princess, and she lived up to the name. She wasn’t just beautiful; she was graceful and sweet as well. Princess and I quickly became fast friends. I am neutered, so it was never destined to be anything more. I noticed that human parent, a woman I will call Delilah, was often sharp with Princess. Delilah seemed to resent having to come to the park. She never played with Princess and always waited by the gate clicking away on her smart phone. Imagine my shock when after just a few months Princess—and Delilah—stopped showing up at all. I was heartbroken, Hedda. I didn’t know where they could have gone, and I missed my dear friend.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when, for a change, my human parent took me to a bigger bark park a few miles away. There was Princess! I was elated to see her again, and she was equally happy to see me! I asked her where she had gone, and why she never came to the park near our homes any more. What she told me was one of the saddest stories I’ve ever heard. It turns out Delilah had dropped her off at a shelter! When a shelter worker asked the woman why she was giving Princess up, she explained that the dog was too much work for the benefit she (Delilah) got out of having her. She told the worker that the dog was beautiful but that picking up poop and going to the bark park were just not her cup of tea. Poor Princess was in the shelter for days and became deeply sad. Just a short time before she was due to be put down, she was adopted by someone who truly understood the commitment that goes along with having an animal. Princess said life in her new home was everything she could hope for and that her only regret was not getting to see me and the other friends she had made at the bark park.

Hedda, how can someone take home a dog—or a cat or any animal for that matter—without understanding what it means to that animal? I just don’t understand it. I am not perfect, and sometimes I make mistakes, but I know that I am a loved member of my household. I know that my home is forever. I cannot fathom the heartbreak of animals that aren’t loved the way I am. If you can’t explain it to me, Hedda, then explain it to the humans so that no other animal will have to go through the hurt that Princess and so many others have endured.

Sign me,
Perplexed Pup

Dear Perplexed,

You have said most of what needs to be said quite eloquently. I will just add that, as the holiday season approaches, our human friends need to think twice—and a third and fourth time—before they give someone an animal as a present. While an animal may bring great joy when first received, you are tasking the recipient with a serious commitment of time, energy, and love for at least a decade. Animals are not to be adopted without deep consideration, and it is almost never a good idea to give one as a gift. Tell ‘em Hedda said so!

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:

    Dr. Scholl Foundation, $2,500
    The Alfred S. Gage Foundation,
    Roxana C. Hayne, Joan N. Kelleher, Julie Stacy & Nancy Hayne, Directors, $1,000
    Carl E. Kessler Family Foundation, $1,000
Spay-Neuter Gets a Boost from Chico’s

Benefit Sale Raised Approximately $400 to Help Fight Animal Overpopulation
Chico's donates 10% of sales to SNAP during a special sale!
The fight against animal overpopulation recently got a boost in the form of approximately $400 thanks to the Chico's boutique in Houston’s Highland Village shopping center. The store held a benefit sale event in mid-November and donated 10 percent of receipts to support SNAP spay-neuter programs. A member of the SNAP team was on hand to greet shoppers and answer questions. The evening was made all the more convivial thanks to light refreshments provided by the store.

Chico’s is a women’s boutique, which, according to its website, “is a specialty retailer of private branded, sophisticated, casual-to-dressy clothing, intimates, complementary accessories, and other non-clothing gift items.” The Highland Village store is located at 4048 Westheimer Rd., Houston, TX 77027. The store’s phone number is 713-622-4741.

SNAP is deeply grateful to Chico’s for its generous support of our efforts to create a world where there are no homeless dogs and cats.
Carmona-Dixon Wedding Benefits SNAP
“Dollar Dances” with the Bride Net $200 for Spay-Neuter
Allison and Sam used their wedding to help animals!
SNAP offers its heartfelt congratulations and sincere thanks to Allison Carmona and Sam Dixon, who recently tied the knot and supported spay-neuter in the process. How did they do that? They turned their wedding reception into a fundraiser for SNAP. The post-ceremony celebration included a “dollar dance” where each person who wanted to dance with the bride had to donate $1 for the privilege. The proceeds were then donated to support our spay-neuter programs.

There must have been a lot of people wanting to dance with the lovely bride because the couple handed over $200 after the wedding! That will help many animals, thereby preventing many more from ending up homeless or in shelters.

The staff and board of SNAP want to thank Allison and Sam for their generous gesture and for their love of animals. We wish them a long and happy life together!
Madame AstroCat[object Object]
Dear Readers,

Can you believe it? Another year is drawing to a close. As we approach year’s end, I want to share some of the more interesting research I have encountered recently regarding the species Catus felis. You may consider it your 2014 Feline Year in Review. I will consider it my top ten list of fascinating cat-related news items.

10. Nepetalactone - It’s a mouthful, yes, and it is chemical compound that makes some cats go wild over catnip! Note that I said “some” cats. If you still think that every kitty loves catnip, you might be surprised to learn that about half of us have no reaction to it. Even those of us who do don’t develop a nose for it until we’re about three months old. Would it surprise you to know that catnip—like spearmint, oregano, and basil--is a member of the mint family? Would it surprise you to know that it is a more effective insect repellent than DEET? According to Chemical & Engineering News, a weekly newsmagazine published by the American Chemical Society, the stuff even makes a nice tea!

9. Meats, Not Sweets - Have you ever offered a cat something sweet? If you did, you probably didn’t get much of a response. Cats are not remotely attracted to the flavor. Why not? We can’t taste it! Leslie Stein of the Monell Chemical Senses Center reveals in a story on the website that it is due to a genetic defect. Thanks to this supposed flaw, that which tastes sweet to you tastes like a whole lot of nothing to us. And that’s just fine, really. It makes it much easier to maintain these sleek figures for which we cats have become so famous.

8. Refreshing Paws - Have you ever seen a cat scoop up water with her paw instead of drinking it straight out of the bowl? It’s not an arbitrary preference. In an article published on, feline expert Mikel Delgado explains that there are a couple of possible triggers for this behavior. One is called “whisker stress.” Our little whiskers are very sensitive. If the shape of the bowl—or perhaps a low water level—forces us to press our whiskers against the sides of the bowl to drink, it can be uncomfortable. The other possibility is that the kitty in question just enjoys playing in the water. Ripples are cool!

7. Me Allergies - When it comes to cats, allergies are a big problem. How many cats do you know who are allergic to humans? No, I didn’t get that backwards. Just as some humans are allergic to cats, some cats are allergic to humans. Mary Mott, writing in National Geographic News, reports that researchers in Scotland have discovered that roughly one out of every 200 cats suffers from asthma and that human dandruff—along with dust, cigarette smoke, and some cat litters—can trigger an attack. The primary symptom is coughing, which can also be a symptom of other serious diseases. If your cat is coughing, it’s time for a trip to the veterinarian.

6. Territory - Have you ever heard cats fighting outdoors? Of course you have. Did you know it would happen a lot more often if cats did not take steps to avoid one another? In an article published on the website, veterinarian and research scientist Alan Wilson of the Structure & Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College (RVC) reports that cats sometimes share the same territory but apparently schedule their visits at different times of the day to avoid encountering one another. He refers to this as timesharing. I call it common sense.

5. Sonic Healing - Cats purr when they’re happy, right? Actually, purring may have a number of functions. It is believed that female cats purr when nursing to help kittens whose eyes have not yet opened find their next meal. A more recent discovery, recently revealed in an article by Leslie A. Lyons on the Scientific American website, is that purring may promote healing and help maintain muscle tone.

4. Origins - It has long been believed that cats were first domesticated in Egypt approximately 4,000 years ago. More recent studies, however, find evidence that domestication may have begun in China no later than 5,300 years ago. These studies are reported on in an article on the Science Daily website. Interesting though these findings may be, note that the same article points out that the remains of a wild cat were found buried together with a human who died 10,000 years ago on the island of Cyprus.

3. Gray Matters – New research has revealed that the brains of cats and humans are structurally more similar than those of dogs and humans. The level of similarity is approximately 90 percent, according to an article written by Berit Brogaard, DMSci, PhD, and Kristian Marlow and published on the Psychology Today website. The brains of cats exhibit complex folds like those of humans. This is not seen in the brains of dogs. While cats brains are generally smaller than those of dogs, this folding results in felines having approximately 300 million neurons while dogs have approximately 160 million neurons. Does this mean cats are smarter? That depends on how you measure intelligence.

2. Creatures of Habit – If you have cats, you know we are creatures of habit; however, it is possible you do not realize just how true that is. Changes in our routine or our environment cause us stress, and that stress can cause us to engage in behaviors normally associated with illness. That’s right. Change our feeding time or move the litter box, and we might respond by vomiting or indulging our excremental urges outside the box. This news comes to us from Tony Buffington, a researcher at the Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, and appears an article on the website.

1. Wiley Ways - It matters not whether cats are smarter than dogs. We are smart enough to get what we want from you humans. There is nothing nefarious going on here. Researcher Karen McComb at the University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K., has discovered that it simply means that cats learn what you respond to and then use that knowledge to increase the likelihood of getting what we want. You may not be surprised to learn that what we usually want is food. The study by McComb—working along with Anna M. Taylor, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.; Christian Wilson, University of Sussex, Brighton, U.K.; and Benjamin D. Charlton, Zoo Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia, GA., was published in the journal Current Biology and reported on the website..

Quote of the Month
"Lots of people talk to animals... Not very many listen, though... That's the problem."  ~ Benjamin Hoff
No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill
Copyright 1999-2014, 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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