News & Events
SNAPtales, the newsletter of the Spay-Neuter Assistance Prog
In This Issue
March 1, 2015
- 4,890 -
 The number of dogs
and cats helped by
your gifts in Jan. of 2014
SNAP has sterilized over
dogs and cats since being
founded in 1993
Walk for the Animals!
Animal Aid Program Benefits When You Walk with SNAP at AIDS Walk Houston

Join Team SNAP at AIDS Walk Houston to raise funds for AAP.
Would you take a walk to help dogs and cats? When you join Team SNAP at AIDS Walk Houston, every step you take will raise money for the SNAP Animal Aid Program (AAP). The AAP provides free spay-neuter and reduced-cost wellness services for animals living in homes affected by HIV/AIDS. AIDS Foundation Houston (AFH) has once again selected Spay-Neuter Assistance Program to be a beneficiary of the AIDS Walk, but we have to raise $5,000 to maximize our return. That goal is still a ways off, but the walk is not. That means the animals need your help today!

If past walks have started too early for you, you will be happy to hear that AFH has made a change this year. The event is starting 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 2015 takes place on Sunday, March 8, 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 through 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.

Spay Day Sees 168 Sterilized
Dogs and Cats Helped at Houston Spay-Neuter Events
One of many male kitties neutered on Spay Day 2015.
One of the many friendly male kitties neutered aboard the Houston mobile clinic on World Spay Day 2015. Houston clinics sterilized 168 dogs and cats to commemorate the international day of awareness.
SNAP Houston spayed and neutered a total of 168 dogs and cats for free this past Tuesday in recognition of World Spay Day. The Houston mobile clinic repeated its annual Neuter Scooter event--SNAP tradition for over 20 years--by sterilizing 75 animals. The Houston and Pasadena stationary clinics provided this service for 50 and 43 animals, respectively, including both cats and dogs. All animals brought to these events without current rabies certificates are also given a free vaccination against the disease. SNAP San Antonio had scheduled a block walk event to raise awareness about a free spay-neuter program funded by Animal Care Services for two zip codes. Unfortunately that event had to be cancelled due to severe weather conditions.

Houston Mobile Clinic

The Houston mobile clinic neutered 74 male cats on Spay Day. It also spayed one female cat for a client who didn't realize the event was for male animals only. The clinic was stationed at the Harris County Public Health Environmental Services Veterinary Public Health facility for the event. Among the cats brought in for surgery was one named Mo, who had a tumor over his right eye. The veterinarian--William Folger, DVM, MS, ABVP--was kind enough to remove the tumor when he neutered the afflicted kitty. This was most generous since Dr. Folger had volunteered his time and skills for the day. Rabies vaccines for the event were generously donated by Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Inc. Ms. Sherrille Humphreys also supported the event through the donation of more than 120 absorbent pads to soak up the inevitable mishaps. Funding for Neuter Scooter was provided by the Jane Dinkins Memorial Trust, and the event was dedicated to Ms. Dinkins’s memory. SNAP is deeply grateful to these wonderful people and organizations for their roles in making this event such a success.

Houston & Pasadena Clinics

The SNAP clinics in Houston and Pasadena provided free spay-neuter surgery for both dogs and cats for World Spay Day. Nine male cats and 12 male dogs were neutered, and 18 female cats and 11 female dogs were spayed, at the Houston clinic. Seven male cats and seven male dogs were neutered, and 18 female cats and 11 female dogs were spayed at the Pasadena clinic. Merial graciously picked up the tab for rabies vaccines, which were given to every animal that required one. SNAP would like to express immense gratitude to the company for its assistance in protecting these animals from the deadly disease.
Click here for more about giving to SNAP when you shop Kroge
Join Us at Fiesta Pooch Parade

Stop by The SNAP Booth and Get Your SNAP Fiesta Pin!

The Lone Ranger and Tonto at the 2014 Pooch Parade.
The Lone Ranger and Tonto were among the costumed canines who marched in the 2014 Fiesta Pooch Parade.
SNAP returns to the San Antonio Fiesta Pooch Parade for the second year in a row this April, and we will be selling an all new SNAP Fiesta pin! Be sure to stop by to say hello, and while you are there you can buy a pin for your collection. The 2015 pins are gorgeous and, at just $10 each, are a great way to tell the world you support our four-legged friends! The SNAP staff will also be ready to provide you with information about spay-neuter and animal wellness or SNAP products and services. We might even have a give-away item or two!

The Fiesta Pooch Parade, now in its 17th year, is proudly presented by Therapy Animals of San Antonio and is part of the larger Fiesta celebration that occupies much of the month of April. The Pooch Parade is a costume event for the canine set, and the best costume in the parade takes home the prize. This year’s event takes place on Saturday, April 25, 2015. The costume contest starts at 8:15 a.m., and the parade is from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. The parade follows a 2.6 mile route through the park-like community of Alamo Heights.” It all starts at The Pool in Alamo Heights, which is located at 250 Viesca St., San Antonio, Texas 78209.  We hope to see you and your canine pal(s) there!

The Return of the Prodigal Kitty
Found Feline Finds Her Way Home Thanks to SNAP-Issued Microchip

Patches--who found her way home thanks to a microchip!
A cool Calico cat named Patches recently found her way home after becoming lost. Her return was made possible by a SNAP-issued microchip. Patches showed up at the home of Trip Worden and his wife after their beloved “dawg” died. The feline soon “adopted” the couple. They tried for months to find her owner to no avail. Mrs. Worden is highly allergic to cats, so the couple reluctantly decided to take the animal to a shelter. The shelter staff scanned the cat’s neck and found a PetLink microchip.

Unfortunately, the chip had never been registered in the PetLink database after being implanted. That might have made it a dead end had Trip not pursued an investigation that led to the discovery that the chip had been sold at the SNAP San Antonio clinic. Mr. Worden contacted the clinic, and luckily for the wayward kitty, we had a record that matched the chip’s serial number to her human family.

So against the odds and thanks to the Wordens, another lost kitty made it home because of a microchip purchased at SNAP. It pays to microchip your four-legged pals, but don’t forget to register those chips when you get home! SNAP keeps the numbers in our database, but your animal will be much more likely to get home—and sooner—if you do.
Call the SNAP clinic nearest you for more information about microchipping your furry pal(s)!
Upcoming SNAP Events
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, 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.

Hedda HoundHedda Hound Banner
Hello Darlings!

Do you know someone who believes that vaccines are dangerous? A small but vocal portion of the human population has come to believe that vaccines may cause diseases that are as bad as or worse than those they are intended to prevent. Read this month’s letter from Pauline, a Poodle from Pearland, to learn more.

Dear Hedda,

My human mom, Anne, likes to read news on the Internet. She saw a story a few days ago by someone who is claiming that polio vaccinations can cause the disease autism in human beings. She was talking to me while she watched and mentioned that she was going to rethink the vaccinations I get every year. She said, “If human vaccines are dangerous, who’s to say doggie vaccinations aren’t as well?”

What do you think, Hedda? Do vaccinations really cause other diseases? Does the pound of prevention really come with a pound of potential danger as well?

Sign me,
Pauline Imperiled?

Dear Imperiled,

There, I said it. You are imperiled. Life is full of risks, but the greatest peril you face is not from a vaccination but from the diseases you may contract if someone doesn’t talk some sense into your two-legged mama. Over the past 60 years, vaccines have virtually eliminated a number of deadly human diseases in the U.S. and around the world. This isn't to say that adverse reactions to vaccines never happen, but they are quite rare and even less frequently fatal.

Recently, an anti-vaccination movement has arisen questioning the value of vaccinations and attempting to establish a link between them and afflictions such as autism. Those who support the view that vaccines are dangerous point to scientific studies they say substantiate a connection. Those on the other side of the fence cite studies that say just the opposite. It should be noted, however, that the first study to conclude that vaccines lead to autism was later withdrawn by The Lancet, the medical journal that first published it, after questions were raised about the methods and veracity of the researcher.

In the face of conflicting reports and studies, what is one to do? Consider the fact that a similar suspicion regarding the measles vaccine caused untold numbers of parents to avoid having their children vaccinated over the past decade or so. As a result there was a multi-state outbreak of the disease traced to the Disneyland theme park in California. While none of the 118 children diagnosed from this particular outbreak have died, 15 have required hospitalization.

The anti-vaccination movement, as your letter illustrates, Pauline, is now starting to spread among some animal lovers. Before jumping on this bandwagon, however, you should know that for every study that indicates vaccines are a major hazard, there are at least as many that conclude the risks are minimal. Whether you choose to believe the assertions of the so called "antivaxers," you should know that vaccinations have been shown to be highly effective at preventing deadly diseases. Rabies, for example, used to be common among domestic dogs and cats. Today it is quite rare for our furry friends to become infected, and that is because so many of us have taken the responsibility to have our animals vaccinated.

Despite this success, rabies has not been eliminated. On January 23, 2015, Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) and the Houston Department of Health and Human Services (HDHHS) received confirmation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that a stray dog in the Tomball area (zip code 77377) had tested positive for rabies.

Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be spread from animals to humans. Anyone who may have been in contact with this dog may themselves be infected, and rabies can be deadly if not treated early enough. The spread of the antivaxer movement into the world of veterinary medicine is thus all the more ominous.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recently issued a statement saying the anti-vaccination movement “could also have devastating effects for our pets.” According to AVMA President Dr. Ted Cohn, “Unvaccinated pets are not only at risk themselves, but pose a threat to other animals, including young pets that have not yet received their full series of vaccines and thus are not fully protected, or those individuals that can’t be vaccinated due to preexisting health issues.” Cohn went on to say, “Vaccinating your pets helps to keep them safe from serious preventable diseases, while also protecting the health and well-being of these vulnerable populations.”

Realize that while some may promote theories that vaccines lead to other diseases, neither the AVMA nor the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) support these ideas. The CDC in 2010 published the results of its own study finding no significant link between vaccines and autism. What we do know for certain is that vaccines are highly effective at preventing the diseases they were created to fight. Given the available research, the prudent course is to protect your animals (and yourselves) with vaccinations against deadly diseases. Tell ‘em Hedda said so.

SNAP Hosts Student Researcher Jacob Plumb

Student Observes and Records Canine Data at Houston Clinic for Science Project
SNAP hosts student Jacob Plumb for canine science project.
Jacob Plumb, the 11-year-old son of former SNAP CFO Steven M. Plumb, is a 6th grade student. He is also an animal lover and a budding scientist. When he was assigned a science fair project at his school, he decided to combine these two interests to focus on the physiology of dogs. He needed help to gather data for the project, which involves determining if there is a correlation between the heart rate of a dog and her weight. His goal was to determine if smaller dogs have faster heart rates than larger dogs. The young researcher and his father thus contacted SNAP to see if we could be of assistance. It wasn’t long before Jacob was at the clinic—observing as our veterinarians and veterinary technicians measured the weights and heart rates of various dogs brought in for wellness exams.

Jacob’s experiment involved measuring both the active and resting heart rates of a sample population consisting of three dogs 25-35 pounds, three dogs 40-60 pounds, and three dogs 70-100 pounds. He obtained the data he needed and enjoyed his day at SNAP. Jacob’s father, Steven, was very complimentary of the clinic staff, saying, "You really went all out and way beyond our simple request! He [Jacob] is overwhelmed with the data, and that is a good thing."

We wish Jacob great success with his project and with his future as a scientist. The more young people like him pursue the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) disciplines, the brighter our nation’s future!
SNAP Veterinary Technicians Get Certified
Houston and San Antonio Staff Members Complete Workshops and Exams
SNAP Veterinary Technicians Nancy Troung and Joe Herrera.
SNAP veterinary technicians Nancy Troung and Joe Hererra. The two recently attended an AVMA workshop in preparation for taking exams to become Level One Certified Veterinary Assistants.
SNAP is excited to announce that San Antonio clinic staff members Stephanie Funari and Tonia Floresvega both recently earned their Certified Veterinary Assistant Level One certifications. SNAP Houston clinic staff members Joe Herrera and Nancy Truong are also working on obtaining certification. Both recently attended a Texas Veterinary Medical Association (TVMA) Veterinary Assistant Training Program workshop. The workshop was in preparation for taking practical and written examinations required to earn certification. Herrera and Truong will be taking their exams in a few short days. The workshop was conducted at a TVMA facility in Austin, Texas, and took place on the weekend of January 31-February 1, 2015.

The Veterinary Assistant Training Program, according to the TVMA website, documents the basic skills and competencies required for animal care and assistance. The program will educate veterinary assistants in the essential skills and knowledge needed to become effective contributors to the veterinary medical care team.” Those seeking to be certified must successfully demonstrate proficiency in “100% of the required skills and competencies” even though some may not be practiced in the clinic where they currently work. There are, for example, aspects of the program related to equine veterinary care.

SNAP is immensely proud of Stephanie and Tonia and commends Joe and Nancy on their efforts towards obtaining their CVA Level One certifications!
Madame AstroCat[object Object]
Dear Readers,

College can be a wonderful time in a person’s life. There is so much to learn, and there are so many wonderful activities going on at the average campus. It can also be a very stressful time too. The struggle to excel in the face of demanding material and frequent tests can drain one’s energy and tax the nerves. Dorm life is a new social experience for the great majority of students with both pluses and minuses. Can you think of a way to make one’s dorm room more soothing and relaxing? How about bringing your cat along? There are colleges and universities that will let you do it! You can learn about some of these schools in this month’s top ten list.

10) Saint Mary's, Notre Dame, IN - Saint Mary’s College is a women’s university operated by the Catholic Church in Notre Dame, IN. The school announced in 2012 that it would allow seniors the option of keeping one cat or dog in its dorm rooms.

9) Principia College in Elsah, IL - This college run by the Church of Christian Scientists describes itself as a liberal arts and sciences institution. The pet policy at Principia College in Elsah, IL, comes in the form of a PDF, so you will need Adobe Reader to read it.

8) University of Washington, Seattle, WA - The state university of Washington permits pets in its Radford Court 12-month lease apartments. The privately managed units offer views of Magnuson Park and Lake Washington and are just a 5-minute walk from the campus.

7) Washington & Jefferson College, Washington, PA - This small university in Washington, PA, allows pets in just one of its dorms, but with its claim to rank “among the top liberal arts colleges in the country,” that may be enough. Like Principia College, this school publishes its pet policy as a downloadable PDF file, so Adobe Reader is required to view it.

6) Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL - Eckerd College is a small liberal arts college with a waterfront campus on the Gulf Coast of Florida at St. Petersburg. Its pet policy is liberal as well—allowing most commonly kept animals including not only (small) dogs and cats but snakes and even sugar gliders.

5) Stephen's College, Columbia, MO - The pet program at the second oldest women’s college in the country not only welcomes “cats, dogs, birds, lizards, rodents and other pet friends,” it even encourages those without animals to foster them. In some cases the school—which says it offers “innovative, career-focused programs sound in the liberal arts with a focus on creative arts and sciences”—even offers scholarships for doing so!

4) University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana-Champaign, IL - This large university allows only aquariums in its undergraduate dorms, but the pet policy for its Ashton Woods Graduate and Family Housing is much broader, allowing cats and most breeds of dogs weighing 50 lbs. or less. Its policy is also in the form of a PDF file, so download Adobe Reader if you think this school sounds right for you.

3) State University of New York, Canton, NY - SUNY notes on its website that its Canton campus was named a “a top ten "Pet-Friendly College” by in 2012. That said, Madame Astrocat was unable to find information on the website regarding accommodations for animals in the school’s student housing. Crowing about being named a pet friendly place means that a policy likely exists. An inquiry with the institution’s housing authority might yield useful details.

2) California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA - This revered school of technological learning welcomes up to two cats in each of seven undergraduate dormitories. Its graduate/post-doctoral housing at 250/252 Catalina, however, permits two cats per resident. If you are an undergraduate, don’t wait to apply. If you are a graduate or post-doctoral student, you have a bit more time. See the Caltech “Cat/Pet Policy” for complete information.

1) Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA - MIT allows cats (but not other animals) in four of its dorms: East Campus, Senior House, Bexley Hall and Random Hall. Its pet policy also stipulates one feline per resident, but with a limit on the total number of kitties, that effectively means not everyone can have one. Get those applications in early!

Quote of the Month
"Animals are such agreeable friends. They ask no questions, they pass no judgments."  ~ Unknown
No-Birth is the First Step to No-Kill
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