by Kathleen Des Maisons
As many of you have heard, No More Homeless Pets of NM received a $130,000 contract from the city to go from July 2004 to June 2005. We went through a competitive bid process to provide a clearing house that would receive requests for service, qualify people, send out vouchers for surgeries at local vets, and compile information on the status of all the requests. We have two phone lines to handle incoming calls, and we work out of donated space with a donated fax line, and donated furniture. All the time and effort involved in program management is donated.
The contract was given to us to spay and neuter 2100 animals. It is based on an average projected payment of $60 per animal. Fifty dollars of this is designated towards surgery and $10 to cover the administrative costs of the program. In reality, our costs this summer were higher because we pay the vets different fees depending on whether it is a dog or cat and whether it is male or female. We give the vets $80 per animal to spay female dogs because that surgery is more complex. If by chance the proportion of female dogs is higher, we pay out more money than we receive back from the city. This year, we are getting a lot of female dogs. People donít want more puppies and realize that to end the puppy problem, the females must be spayed. We will be doing a lot of fundraising this year to make up the difference.
Since we started the program, we have had people call us about almost 5000 animals. About 1300 of the people who inquired did not qualify and almost 500 calls came from people outside of Albuquerque. We have completed more than 1600 surgeries and have about 1500 animals in the pipeline waiting for surgery.
Our outreach program is paying off. Recently we have been receiving about 150 calls a day. You can imagine that it is a big job to gather information for every one of them. We gets calls about spay or neuter and about any problem someone might have with their pets. We hear about lost animals, sick animals, injured animals, feral cats, puppies, and the life stories of many owners.
We have been actively recruiting volunteers to help us handle the phone calls, help with the paper work, and do community outreach. Since we work out of two rooms, sometimes it sounds like a telemarketerís office there. But the system is working.
We have been doing a lot of outreach including putting up posters all around those parts of the city that have high concentrations of low income people, having a booth at the flea market every month, and setting up tables at Wal-Mart and Kirtland AFB. We do a lot of education about spay and neuter and our program at these events. We attended Summerfest, too. A lot of people stopped by our table to ask questions about the program before the evening concerts began.
You may have seen one of the NMHP billboards around the city or may have heard Steve Stucker talking about the program with our little mascot baby Bo. We plan to be at the state fair every day and will be setting up shop at TVI and Kirkland AFB. We are also talking, talking, talking to anyone who is connected to services for low income folks. We developed a local event with Hooters called Hooters for Neuters that was modeled after a highly successful event in Utah. Chickís Harley-Davidson will be following suit. We hope these two events will continue every year.
The success of all of these programs is dependent on YOUR help. Volunteers make the program possible. Call us if you want to have fun and be part of a real solution for homeless animals in the city. CALL TO QUALIFY at 345-6647
DOGFEST 2004 - THE EVENT
by Chris Dalton
OK, as you may or may not know, our first choice of venue for DogFest 2004, Madstone Theatre, has closed its doors for good. As soon as we heard this news, Kim Snitker, the owner of the bakery, started looking for a new site. After many phone calls and a lot of footwork, she landed yet another amazing space. This year DogFest will be held at the Albuquerque Botanical Gardens.
Picture yourself enjoying a fall day with your dog amidst thick native foliage. As the sun sets, the films begin, and you get to experience, first hand, the creative talents of dog lovers from all over the country. Are you excited now? We are! Itís going to be an amazing event for all dog lovers. If youíve never been to DogFest before, this would be the year to attend.
For the past five years this event has been very close to my heart. There are always a lot of laughs and funny dog encounters to share. I could go into detail again, but Iíve told those stories time and time again in my writings. However, if you really want to hear them, come to the bakery and Iíll give you the unabridged version.
We have not secured a date for DogFest as yet, but it will be in late September or early October. The weather is still warm then, but not blistering hot, which will be very nice for those of us who attended last year.
Check in at the bakery for more details. You can also check www.abqdog.com. As soon as we have the date set in stone, Rebecca will have it posted on her website.
Speaking of Rebecca and her fantastic site, (thatís Rebecca Loring, who started www.abqdog.com and sheís awesome), the deadline for the ďDogs of All SeasonsĒ photo contest was August 31. I hope you entered your photos. Itís another chance each year for you to show your creative side and get your dog involved with you. Photos can always be dropped off at Three Dog Bakery or submitted online at the website, www.abqdog.com, in digital format. Rebecca and her crew have mulled over this yearís entries and will announce the winners and present some fantastic prizes to them at this yearís DogFest. Winners will also receive that ever so fleeting and exciting 15 minutes of fame. Who knows, maybe youíll be discovered as a photographer and become rich and famous. Itís a long shot, but anything could happen, and wouldnít it be cool if it happened to you? Get out your cameras and start snapping pictures of your dogs for next yearís contest. Contest details are available at www.abqdog.com. Itís picture perfect fun for you and your dog.
Iíd like to wrap up this issue by thanking all the people who have done their part in making Albuquerque a dog city. Nothing is possible if we donít all do our part. So good for all of you Ė and you know who you are. Special thanks to:
> All of you who have responsibly ďfixedĒ your animals and are helping to end the pet overpopulation problem in New Mexico.
> People who thoughtfully clean up after their dogs at the parks and trails.
> Helpful people who donate plastic grocery bags for the dog poop containers at the parks and trails. The containers donít just fill themselves. We want you to know that we do notice those things.
> All of you who read this publication and get involved with animal issues in New Mexico. > All of you who care enough to donate time, money, energy, and heart to benefit the animals of New Mexico.
Over the past few years Iíve seen life for dogs change in Albuquerque. Dogs are now welcome on many restaurant patios around town, but this didnít just happen. Responsible dog owners paved the way, and itís up to us to continue on the road to making Albuquerque an amazing and fun place for a dog to grow up.
We look forward to seeing you at the bakery so you can share the upcoming holidays with us. Keep up the good work youíre doing, and weíll see you at at DogFest.
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