Some people like numbers, others prefer pictures, but I like names.

We are celebrating the results of our March “Prevent a Litter” campaign this week. The numbers are what the media will (hopefully) promote: 197 pets (109 dogs and 88 cats) were fixed in March 2013 as part of our campaign (discounted rates + coupons from ACHS). A picture of a reluctant mama dog with her fourteen puppies (see Gracie, above) might be a better reminder of how quickly they can multiply. But for me the names make it real: in 2013 we helped calm down Bruiser, Roger, Fuzzy, and Garfield. And Snickers, Little, Sissy, and Gaga won’t be having any more unwanted litters of kittens or puppies. That’s fantastic news, because there would not have been enough homes for all of them.

It’s hard to believe that in 2014 we’ll hold our FIFTH annual “Prevent a Litter” campaign. We are already at the point when people anticipate the event in the springtime: our shelter manager says that folks start calling in January. That’s because we are offering help that they desperately need. It probably only takes personal experience with one “oops litter” to teach people that it’s true what they say: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is certainly cheaper to spay/neuter a pet than it is to care for a pregnant mama for nine weeks (they are eating for six … or fifteen in the case of Gracie!) and a nursing mama and her young ones for eight more weeks. It is certainly cost effective to spay/neuter.

But who should pay the bill? Are you willing to make a special donation to your local Humane Society so that we can continue to prevent the birth of unwanted cats and dogs?

We hope so, because the ASPCA – the national animal welfare organization which provided partial support for our campaign for the first three years – has decided that it is time for us to make it on our own. Like baby birds, it’s time for us to fly and start supporting ourselves. And certainly the time is right, now that we have a track record of four very successful campaigns and the endorsement of all three veterinary clinics in Kirksville (not to mention clinics in La Plata, Lancaster, Unionville, and Edina). The time is right for individuals within this community who care deeply about animals to help sustain this very worthy project.

And if you or someone you know is one of the people who benefited from a $50 spay/neuter certificate or the reduced rates, could you do us a favor? Tell your friends and co-workers how much you appreciated this help, and consider paying it forward: even a small donation ($5 or $10) can make it so that someone else can benefit like you did during our next PAL campaign.

You may donate by writing a check to the Adair County Humane Society (write PAL 2014 in the memo line) and either drop it off at our shelter (Hwy. 6 east of Kirksville) or mail it to P.O. Box 481 in Kirksville. Or go online ( and donate via credit card or PayPal. Either way, your money will go a long way toward reducing animal suffering in your community.

Gracie, Garfield, Gaga, and the 697 other animals who have been helped by this campaign thus far thank you.