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Modern Americans have developed a peculiar habit: we are dedicated to standing in line. We assemble in neatly organized queues for the latest thrill ride, camp overnight to snag the next Apple product and assemble in costume to catch the new superhero movie.
Not every early-morning line is assembled in anticipation of the next big thing. For many, the chance to do the right thing for their pet is enough motivation for that early wake-up call.
That was the case in Phoenix, Arizona, when PetSmart Charities® offered the public free spay/neuter surgeries and vaccinations for their pets.
During the ABC-15 PetSmart Charities Fix Your Pet Weekend, 4 local animal welfare groups completed more than 900 surgeries. Demand for services was so high that they handed out vouchers for more than 1,200 additional pets to receive free surgeries and vaccinations at a later date, compliments of PetSmart Charities.
Hundreds of dedicated pet parents arrived before sunrise to secure a spot for their cat or dog. Residents were grateful for the opportunity to keep their pet healthy and do their part to reduce pet overpopulation in Phoenix — the second-largest city for pet homelessness in the nation.
Cats, dogs and families of all types participated in the event.
Pam Birchfield and her husband drove 70 miles overnight to bring their Shih Tzu mixes, Sydney and Bella, in for surgery. They were the first in line at 2 a.m. A few months earlier, they had only 2 dogs at home. But they weren’t fixed, and soon Sydney was pregnant with puppies. The couple has been bringing mom, dad and each puppy in to be fixed as their schedules and finances allow.
Manuel waited in line with his new cat, Sonny, who he and his daughter Anna got from a neighbor. Sonny joined the family’s older female cat Cher, who was already fixed. The family wanted to make sure Sonny was happy and healthy, too.
When Czdolia Lunsford noticed a box full of puppies on the side of the road, she knew she needed to help. She brought one of the puppies home to join her Malti-poo, Xena, and named her Annie. Czdolia’s mother, Scottie, heard an ad on television for the event and they jumped at the opportunity to get Annie fixed. They wanted to do their part to help control pet overpopulation, and “make sure Annie was taken care of,” Czdolia said.
The event was a family affair for Lisa Lingnau, Toby Lopez, and Charlene Ferre. Lisa and Toby recently adopted a new dog, Lexi, who had an uncanny resemblance to their previous dog. Their friend Charlene brought along her recently adopted dog, Zander, who was Lexi’s littermate. Lisa and Toby’s other dog Pixi was already fixed but came along for the ride.
Ann Withey and Mark Stambaugh were second in line at the event with their cat, Rocky, and dog, Chopper. One of Ann’s previous cats, who wasn’t fixed, got out one day and never returned. As a result, Ann and Mark were committed to making sure Rocky and Chopper were both safe, healthy and happy at home.
Patty Spargur and Melissa Middleton brought their dogs to the event together. Both friends got their pets from acquaintances who were trying to find homes for pets from accidental litters. Guapo, Melissa’s Chihuahua, has been “part of her family” for a year, and Patty just got her 4-month-old black Lab, Emma. They came to the event because they felt it was important to fix their pets. “It’s hip to snip!” Patty said.
Elisa Hickman got her kittens, Emily and Katalina, when they were only 3 weeks old. After several weeks of bottle feeding, they were healthy, strong and ready to be fixed. Elisa is committed to keeping the 4-month-old sisters as indoor cats, but wanted to get them fixed just in case they ever get loose. “There are just too many pets out there,” she said.
Felicia Daniels-Griffin and her daughter Jaztyne Griffin brought their dog, Baby Linnea, in for surgery. Baby Linnea’s mom wasn’t fixed, so she kept having litters. The family didn’t want 1½-year-old Baby Linnea to endure that stress.
When her son’s dog had an accidental litter, Claudia Mosso took in one of the puppies. She brought Frankie, a 2½-month-old Pekingese/poodle mix, to the event because, “it’s best for him. He doesn’t need to have litters.”
Natasha Upshaw brought her dog, Mavis, and her cat, Elsa, to be fixed at the event. Her children, Juliana, Dominic and Duke, came to help. Both pets like to be outside, so Natasha felt it was important that they get fixed.