News & Events
SNAPtales, the newsletter of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Prog
In This Issue
February 1, 2015
- 55,545 -
 The number of dogs
and cats helped by
your gifts in 2014
SNAP has sterilized over
dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993
SNAP Announces World Spay Day Activities
Agency Observes Worldwide Day of Awareness with Spay-Neuter and Outreach Events

SNAP is planning special events for World Spay Day 2015.
World Spay Day is coming up on Tuesday, February 24, 2015, and SNAP is excited to announce a series of spay-neuter and outreach events to mark the day. The Houston mobile clinic will repeat our Neuter Scooter event, which has been a SNAP tradition for over 20 years. The Houston and Pasadena stationary clinics will be providing free services for both dogs and cats. In San Antonio we will commemorate the day with an educational outreach event. See important details about specific events below.

Houston Mobile Clinic

The Houston mobile clinic will be stationed at the Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services Veterinary Public Health facility where it will provide neuter surgery and a free rabies vaccination for up to 80 male cats. Services are by appointment only. Availability is strictly limited, and the day will fill up very quickly, so make your appointment now! Call Colleen Hodges at 713-418-1804 for an appointment. (Please leave a message if there is no answer.) The HCPHES facility is located at 612 Canino Rd., Houston, TX 77076.

NOTE: Cats must arrive in a cat carrier. Dogs must be on a leash. Do not feed your cat after 10:00 p.m. the night before surgery.
Puppies and kittens less than six months of age can be given half their usual amount of food the morning of their surgery. If your cat has a current rabies vaccination, please bring the associated rabies certificate.

Rabies vaccines are being donated by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. Veterinarian and longtime SNAP friend and supporter William Folger, DVM, MS, ABVP, is volunteering his time and talent as the veterinary surgeon. Funding for this event is being provided by the Jane Dinkins Memorial Trust, and it is dedicated to her memory. SNAP would like to express its gratitude to Dr. Folger, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc., the Jane Dinkins Memorial Trust, and Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services Veterinary Public Health for making this event possible.

Houston & Pasadena Clinics

The SNAP clinics in Houston and Pasadena will be providing free spay-neuter surgery for both dogs and cats. Each animal will also receive a free rabies vaccination. Additional surgical services and other wellness services will be available at regular prices. See the Houston or Pasadena clinic websites for more information about wellness services. Services are by appointment only. Availability is limited, and there is a strict limit of two animals per household. The day will fill up very quickly, so request an appointment for our Houston or Pasadena clinic now! The Houston Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic is located at 1801 Durham Dr., Suite 1, Houston, TX 77007. The Pasadena Spay-Neuter and Animal Wellness Clinic is located at 913 Shaw Ave., Pasadena, TX 77506.

NOTE: Cats must arrive in a cat carrier. Dogs must arrive on a leash. Do not feed your animal after 10:00 p.m. the night before surgery.
Puppies and kittens less than six months of age can be given half their usual amount of food the morning of their surgery. If your dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination, please bring the associated rabies certificate.

Rabies vaccines are being donated by Merial. SNAP would like to express its gratitude to the company for helping make these events possible.

San Antonio Clinic

SNAP San Antonio will commemorate World Spay Day with a block walk. The clinic has a grant from San Antonio Animal Care Services (ACS) that provides for free spay-neuter for dogs living in the 78227 and 78237 zip codes. You can help by volunteering to walk neighborhoods in these zip codes to inform residents about the free services and to raise awareness about animal overpopulation and the role that spay-neuter plays in addressing it.

If you are interested in helping us get the word out, please contact our San Antonio volunteer coordinator, Rolando Gonzalez, via email or by calling the clinic at 210-673-7722. He is the point of contact and will lead the volunteers in the block walk. What’s in it for you? Besides the knowledge that you have helped reduce the number of animals dying in San Antonio shelters, you will also receive a spiffy SNAP t-shirt and baseball cap. If you live in one of these two zip codes and would like to take advantage of the program, all you have to do is set up an appointment online or by calling 210-673-7722. Hurry! The program only lasts for a few months.


World Spay Day is sponsored by the Humane Society of the United States. According to the organization, it “began as Spay Day USA back in 1995. Since that time, the number of cats and dogs sharing U.S. households has increased by as much as 60% while the number euthanized in shelters has decreased from 10 million or more to just around 3 million. This is an incredible achievement. But there is still work to be done.

“The Pets for Life program of The HSUS found that, while nearly 80% of owned cats and dogs in the U.S. are spayed or neutered, close to 90% of cats and dogs in under-served communities are not sterilized. Further, up to 98% of community (feral and stray) cats are unsterilized. Raising awareness of the need for affordable and accessible spay/neuter services in underserved communities, and of the need for more TNR programs, can be excellent focal points for World Spay Day actions.”

Watch the SNAP event calendar and our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for additional details on these events as they become available.

Meet Our New Executive Director!
SNAP San Antonio Chief of Staff Mary Kate Lawler, DVM, Takes the Helm
Meet new SNAP Executive Director Mary Kate Lawler, D.V.M.
Meet new SNAP Executive Director Mary Kate Lawler, D.V.M. Dr. Lawler has been a SNAP veterinarian for 10 years and was SNAP San Antonio Chief of Staff for more than 7 years.
The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) Board of Directors is pleased to introduce longtime SNAP Veterinarian and San Antonio Chief of Staff Mary Kate Lawler, DVM, as its new executive director.

“We feel fortunate to have such an outstanding leader with vast experience in high-volume spay-neuter services,” said Board President Kate Smargiasso. “Dr. Lawler is a talented and skilled veterinarian with unparalleled dedication to helping animals. Her history with SNAP as a star veterinarian and manager make her an ideal choice to lead SNAP forward.”

Dr. Lawler, having earned her veterinary degree at Cornell University in 1995, is licensed in four states. Prior to joining SNAP in 2005, Dr. Lawler was a private practitioner providing spay-neuter services and routine medical care. By building that veterinary practice from the ground up, she gained extensive experience in all aspects of operating and managing a small business. Dr. Lawler has provided spay-neuter and veterinary training in other countries, including Mexico, Ecuador, and American Samoa.

Several community awards attest to Dr. Lawler’s commitment to animals. She has received the Award of Thanks from Pet Pals Inc. presented by Dr. Fitzgerald of Animal Planet’s Emergency Vets, the Animal Kingdom Kindred Spirit Award by the Doris Day Animal Foundation, and the Cheyenne Kennel Club Humanitarian Award.

”I am very excited for the opportunity to lead this great organization,” said Lawler. “I am committed to the SNAP mission of preventing the suffering and death of cats and dogs due to overpopulation and preventable diseases, especially in low-income areas. I look forward to working with the board of directors, the talented SNAP staff, and the community in saving lives and improving the area where we live and serve.”

The Spay-Neuter Assistance Program (SNAP) is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Houston, Texas. Currently, SNAP has five clinics, both stationary and mobile, in Houston, Pasadena, and San Antonio, Texas. SNAP recognizes that sterilization programs, which by definition reduce the number of animals that could possibly be born, are essential to helping end animal overpopulation. SNAP focuses on designing, delivering, promoting, and advancing community-based animal sterilization services. Since starting in 1994, SNAP has sterilized over 500,000 dogs and cats. By helping one, SNAP is able to save many.
Signed Up for AIDS Walk Houston?
SNAP Animal Aid Program Benefits from AIDS Foundation Houston Walkathon

Join Team SNAP at AIDS Walk Houston to raise funds for AAP.
Have you signed up to walk with Team SNAP at AIDS Walk Houston? If you haven’t, what are you waiting for? AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) has again selected Spay-Neuter Assistance Program to be a beneficiary of AIDS Walk Houston. Your feet and a bit of your time are needed to help raise money for SNAP! The monies received will support the Animal Aid Program (AAP) which provides free and reduced-cost services to dogs and cats living with families affected by HIV/AIDS.

If past walks have started too early for you, you will be happy to hear that AFH has scheduled this year’s event later in the day. Registration begins at noon, the walk starts at 1:00 p.m., and the post-walk festival gets underway at 2:00 p.m. AIDS Walk Houston takes place on Sunday, March 8, 2015, at Sam Houston Park at 1100 Bagby St, Houston, TX 77002.

Register to walk with Team SNAP, and get your family and friends to support you--or donate directly to Team SNAP or any walker that is participating. Be sure to share your participation and support for the SNAP AAP on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media sites as well!

AIDS Walk Houston 2015 is produced by AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc., and benefits local AIDS Service Organizations striving to make an impact in the fight against AIDS while providing vital social services to Houstonians living with HIV/AIDS.

SNAP is deeply grateful to AIDS Foundation Houston for its ongoing support for the SNAP AAP and for its amazing assistance to all persons living with HIV and AIDS.
Tails from the Mobile Clinic

Thanks to Your Gifts, One Couple Stops Their Own Personal "Puppy Cycle"

Betty, Tim, and Roddy Weiler recently visited the mobile cli
Betty and Tim Weiler recently showed up at the SNAP mobile clinic to have their dog Roddy, a beagle-chihuahua mix, neutered. The Weilers have another dog named Cheyenne. She is a chihuahua-dachshund mix. Prior to Roddy's visit to SNAP, both dogs were intact, and guess what? They had puppies! Not too much later, Cheyenne had more puppies!

Betty was able to adopt out ten pups from these litters by networking with friends and neighbors through the local paper and message boards. She only wanted the best for them and knew they wouldn’t survive long in a shelter. When Cheyenne went into heat again a few weeks ago, the Weilers decided it was time to have their amorous pair sterilized. Unfortunately, they could not make it to the mobile clinic right away. Refusing to be victims of circumstance, they immediately moved Cheyenne to their daughter’s house so that she and Roddy could not "get busy" again and produce another litter. When their schedule permitted a week or so later, the family braved a chilly morning to bring little Roddy to the mobile clinic to stop the “puppy cycle.” Soon Miss Cheyenne will get spayed as well. She and Roddy then will be able to relax and not have to compete with a house full of puppies for Betty and Tim’s attention!

Thanks to you, our wonderful donors, SNAP was able to help Roddy--and will soon be able help Cheyenne--get spayed and neutered. As a result of your gifts, many additional unwanted litters of puppies have been avoided. We are grateful for your generosity and hope you will continue to support our efforts to create a world with no homeless dogs and cats.
Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever
Body3 Fitness Center Holds Life Improvement Event to Benefit Both You and the Animals!

Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever with Body3 Fitness Center
SNAP is thrilled to announce that our friends at Body3 Fitness Center are holding a benefit that will help SNAP spay and neuter more animals while helping you improve your physical, professional, and financial well being. This event brings together highly respected experts in these fields for a two-hour extravaganza called How To Make 2015 Your Best Year Ever! You can attend for free, but a $15 donation is requested--every penny of which will come back to SNAP to help the animals! The focus of the entire event is YOU--your body, your appearance, your health--because without your health, what do you really have? And the focus will be on the most important aspects of your health--the strategies and techniques that radically and rapidly improve your quality of life.

Body3 has teamed up with highly respected Houston health, finance, and business professionals to host this wonderful event. They include Freddy Goerges, founder and president of the Houston Young Professionals; Skip Valesquez, wealth manager and lead planner at USAA; and Cassandra Gaudet, general manager at Body3 Fitness Center. We hope you will come along to improve your own life and that of the dogs and cats that SNAP helps every day! The event takes place on Saturday, February 7, 2015, 7-9 p.m. To sign up or to get more information, visit the Body3 website or call 713-864-1231. Body3 Fitness Center is located at 3562 W TC Jester Blvd, Houston, TX 77018.

This is the third time Body3 Fitness Center has benefited SNAP. We are deeply grateful to Body3 and its owner Tom Jackobs CPT, RES, for their ongoing support of our spay-neuter programs and their love of animals!

Alert: Canine Distemper Threat in Texas
Disease Has Struck Hundreds of Unvaccinated Dogs in Amarillo

Canine distemper on the rise in Texas. Is your dog vaccinate
There have been two notable canine distemper outbreaks in Texas in the past nine months, both with tragic results. Dr. Jennifer Coates reported on these outbreaks in a blog post on the PetMD website on December 22, 2014. The disease has been rampant among dogs in Amarillo, according to Dr. Coates, with one veterinarian reporting 10-15 cases a week since early last summer. A separate outbreak involved lions, tigers, and leopards at a wildlife sanctuary outside of Dallas. “Other species can come down with the virus, including big cats [not housecats], ferrets, raccoons, wolves, coyotes, skunks, and foxes),” said Coates. This means other dogs are not the only potential sources of transmission. The deadly disease struck 22 of the big cats at the sanctuary, leaving seven dead. Fortunately that outbreak appears to have ended.

These incidents spotlight how important it is to have your dog(s) vaccinated against this terrible disease. There is no cure for canine distemper. Treatment is limited to symptomatic and systemic support, meaning that it is up to the animal’s immune system to defeat the disease. As the preceding stories indicate, it is not always successful in doing so.

The real tragedy of canine distemper is that it is preventable. Vaccinations are available at SNAP clinics in Houston, Pasadena, and San Antonio during regular wellness hours. No appointment is required. See clinic websites for more information about wellness hours and vaccination fees. There is no need to gamble with your dog’s life when he or she could be easily protected.

Symptoms of canine distemper include fever, coughing, labored breathing, sinus congestion, and diminished appetite. More advanced cases can bring vomiting, diarrhea, and central nervous system impairment. A dog exhibiting symptoms of canine distemper or other diseases should immediately be taken to a full-service veterinarian. SNAP does not treat ill or injured animals.

Upcoming SNAP Events
Tuesday, February 24, 2015 - All Locations
  World Spay Day
See related article, our event calendar, or our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages for event details.
Sunday, March 8, 2015 – Houston, TX
  AIDS Walk Houston
Join Team SNAP to raise money for dogs and cats helped by our Animal Aid Program.
Saturday, March 21, 2015 - San Antonio, TX
  San Antonio Pet Expo
SNAP returns to the San Antonio Pet Expo again this year. Stop by the booth and say hello!
Saturday, April 25, 2015 - San Antonio, TX
  Fiesta Pooch Parade
Stop by the SNAP booth at this San Antonio Fiesta parade for pooches in costume. Details to come.
Saturday, May 16, 2015 - Houston, TX
  Puppies for Breakfast
This year’s event is at Johnny Steele Dog Park on Buffalo Bayou from 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. Details to come.

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner
Hello Darlings!

Month after month, year after year, I share with our human friends ways they can make life better for us canines. Sometimes I talk about behavioral issues, but just as often I address what can be done to relieve health issues. Despite all of the advances of veterinary medicine, however, not every illness or injury can be overcome. No one knows this better than Terry, a terrier mix from Terrell Hills, who wrote this month’s letter.

Dear Hedda,

I am utterly heartbroken. I have lost my best friend. Grace was a terrier mix like me. She lived next door, but we were inseparable from the moment we met. A few months ago, Grace’s human friend Lucy took her to the vet because she had a funny lump. The news was not good. Grace had cancer, and nothing could be done to save her. As the months went by, the lump got bigger, and Grace grew thinner. Eventually she stopped eating. Lucy took her to the vet one last time, but when Lucy came home, she was crying. Grace wasn’t with her.

What is the use of a healthy diet, exercise, and regular veterinary checkups if we all just die in the end? Maybe it is the grief talking, but why bother if life is so short anyway? I am facing the rest of my life without my friend, and it just doesn’t seem worth living. Why do we have to die, Hedda? What’s it all for anyway? I miss Grace so much.

Sign me,
Graceless and Grieving

Dear Grieving,

Life is too short. Few of us get to be here as long as we would like. Veterinary medicine has come a long way, but it cannot give us immortality. Perhaps the only thing harder than realizing that we ourselves will die is facing the fact that those we love will die as well. It is a painful truth, but in accepting it we realize how wonderful life truly is. And what makes it wonderful? There are many amazing aspects to life, but none is more miraculous than the bonds with have with our loved ones—be they canine or human. Lucy cried when Grace died, but think of all the happy times they shared over the course of Grace’s life. Think of all the companionship you and Grace shared as well.

Your letter reminds me of another recent story about a pup’s passing. Gizelle, like Grace, lost her battle with cancer. Did her human friend, Lauren, give in to grief when faced with her dog’s imminent demise? No, instead she made up her mind to make Gizelle’s remaining days as full of fun and love as they could be. She did this by creating a doggie “bucket list” full of adventures and experiences for them to share. Their story shows us that the best way to face death is to live as fully as you can and to deeply value the time you have with those you hold dear.

So grieve for your Grace’s passing, but do not grieve forever. Instead remember the lovely times you had together, for it is death that makes life so precious. Perhaps the poet Emily Dickinson said it best: "That this moment will never come again, is what makes life sweet." Grace would not want you to spend the rest of your life grieving. She would want you to soak up every joyful thing life has to offer. One day you will find that you think of her with a smile instead of a tear, and in that moment you will know why life is worth living. 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:

    Ray Rowe Trusts for Animals, $5,500
    Best Friends Animal Society, $6,400
    Hillcrest Foundation, $500

Dr. Price Finds Tomorrow’s Veterinarians

Houston/Pasadena Chief of Staff Interviews Prospective Students for Texas A&M
Dr. Price and TAMU-CVM faculty member Leslie Eastwood, D.V.M
Carole Price, DVM, (left) with Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine faculty member Leslie Easterwood, DVM. The two worked together recently interviewing prospective candidates for the university's veterinary studies program.
There is an ever-increasing need for qualified veterinarians, and SNAP Houston/Pasadena clinics Chief of Staff Carole Price, DVM, is doing her part to help find them. Price does this by serving on an interview panel for prospective students seeking to enroll in the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine (TAMU-CVM) in hopes of becoming a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM), i.e, a veterinarian.

The TAMU-CVM process involves an innovative interview format called the Multiple Mini Interview (MMI). In it, pre-qualified candidates are interviewed for 6-10 minutes at a number of “stations.” There are two interviewers at each station with one being a TAMU-CVM faculty member and the other being a practicing (non-faculty) veterinarian. The entire process takes approximately an hour for each student to complete. According to the university’s website, “The MMI format is designed to increase fairness to applicants as well as increase the reliability and measurability of characteristics such as communication skills, critical thinking, problem solving, empathy, and ethics."

Dr. Price was paired with TAMU-CVM faculty member Leslie Easterwood, DVM Easterwood is a veterinarian who specializes in Equine Medicine at the school’s Large Animal Clinic. Dr. Price says she interviewed six students an hour for five hours for a total of 30 students. “To interview all the prospective students, it takes 12 rooms of two vets each” over a period of two days. Each prospective student is then reviewed by a Selections Committee that assesses their performance, weaknesses, and strengths for admission to the program.
Price has been participating in the program since it was implemented five years ago and says she has “no plans to quit!” SNAP is very fortunate to have Dr. Price on staff and is proud of the role she plays in helping discover the veterinarians who will care for our animals tomorrow.
Spay-Neuter Scores on Super Bowl Sunday
Million Dollar Ad Promotes Spay-Neuter during Hallmark Kitten Bowl
Spay-Neuter: Everyone wins!
If you’re an animal lover looking for a non-football alternative on Super Bowl Sunday, the Hallmark Channel and special-effects maestro Sam Nicholson have you covered. The Hallmark Channel will be showing its annual Kitten Bowl. Nicholson, the man behind the amazingly realistic effects of TV’s The Walking Dead and CSI, has produced a decidedly different kind of “Super Bowl” commercial that will run during the program. According to Sue Manning, writing in the January 21 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribute, Nicholson’s ad promotes spay-neuter and its importance in reducing animal overpopulation. It will air during the Hallmark Channel’s Kitten Bowl.The Kitten Bowl takes place, not coincidentally, on Super Bowl Sunday.

Nicholson, who owns Stargate Studios where the ad was created, came up with the commercial because, he said, “I believe in the cause." The ad was commissioned by the Lucy Pet Foundation, an organization in Thousand Oaks, California, that operates mobile spay-neuter clinics. Manning says Nicholson donated 90 percent of the production cost. The Kitten Bowl airs on the Hallmark Channel on Sunday, February 1, 2015, at 12 EST (11 CST).
Madame AstroCat[object Object]
Dear Readers,

Are you a cool cat? More realistically, is your cat a cool cat? Would you know if s/he weren’t? You would have to know the signs of stress in a cat to be able to tell. Stress can depress a cat’s immune system, just like it does a human’s immune system. That’s a good reason to minimize stress in your cat’s life and your own! This month’s top-ten list comes from the PetMD website and describes ten signs of feline stress. Review it to make sure you aren’t missing any tell-tale signs that your kitty isn’t quite as calm as the proverbial cucumber.

10. Outside the box - I’m not talking about thinking, I’m talking about peeing. If your cat seems to regard the litter box as a chamber of horrors, it means she is either sick or stressed. It is important to find out which and to do so in short order. If there is an obvious and recent cause of stress (a new cat in the house, for example), that could be the source of the problem. If not, take that feline to the vet!

9. Bizarre bowels - Is your cat having diarrhea, or—conversely—is he experiencing constipation? Like urinating outside the litter box, either of these can be a sign of stress or a symptom of disease. The routine is also the same. If there is no obvious source of stress, a trip to the vet is in order.

8. Lick, lick, lick… - If your precious furball is licking himself raw, it is a sure sign of stress. Don’t wait until he bleeds. Intervene right away by addressing any known source of stress. If you know of none, well, you know who to call, and it isn’t Ghostbusters.

7. Scratch, scratch, scratch - It’s just licking with paws, right? Excessive scratching can also be a sign of stress—or fleas—or allergies. If you don’t know to do by now, review items 8, 9, and 10 (above) for a clue.

6. Come out, come out, wherever you are - Has your baby gone into hiding? If it’s not to escape from the paparazzi, there is no doubt some other cause for her disappearing act. It may be illness, or it may be an unsettling change in her environment. Get it sorted pronto, or get her to the vet if you can’t.

5. Chatty kitty - A lot of cats “talk” from time to time, but if your cat constantly seems to be trying to tell you something is wrong, it might mean that something is wrong. This is especially true if the chatter seems panicky or mournful. You might not be able to understand what he is trying to say, but a veterinarian might. Take him post haste.

4. Cats don’t diet - Has your feline friend become less enthusiastic about food? A decreased appetite and the weight loss that comes with it is usually a sign of stress. The source may be environmental, or it may be physical. Either way, it’s not something to ignore. Remember, we cat’s don’t diet.

3. To sleep, perchance to… sleep - Cats sleep a lot, but if your cat starts sleeping more than normal or is otherwise lacking in her usual amount of energy, it could be a sign that something abnormal is going on. Certain parasites, for example, can make a cat anemic. To the vet with her!

2. Put ‘em up, wise guy - Aggression towards other animals can be caused by a number of things. It may be that your boy is upset by the presence of a new dog or cat. It may be that you have changed his routine. It may be that he is in pain. If you aren’t sure where the source of the problem lies, take him to a vet.

1. Down, Simba! – Does your cat seem to regard you as the devil incarnate? Has it become her mission in life to make you bleed? Aggression towards humans—and especially towards that person with whom she is ostensibly most bonded—are a sure sign of stress. Again, the causes are many. A veterinarian or a feline behaviorist can be very helpful in determining where this rage originates.

Quote of the Month
"It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens."  ~ Cynthia E. Varnado
No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill
Copyright 1999-2015, 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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