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Let’s Do Away with Misconceptions

By Megan Gabel

Before I began volunteering at the SPA, I thought that if I found a dog or cat and couldn’t provide a home for that animal, I could drop her off at the SPA and go on my merry way. Frankly, it wouldn’t have occurred to me to leave a donation—after all, I had saved an animal so, in my mind (pre-SPA days), I had done my part. I didn’t know, or appreciate, the fact that a shelter’s resources are limited.

Apparently, my former misconception about the SPA is still held by others. I recently promoted a fundraiser started by the son of one our volunteers. It required liking and sharing a Facebook post with the possibility of winning 40,000 pesos, which would have been a marvelous windfall to the SPA. In response to my post, I received a scathing e-mail from someone who said the SPA has “lots of money” to support our “cute little enclave of protected animals,” and that we were failing the community because we did not send out people to pick up and bring back starving street animals. The writer obviously ignores that the SPA has limitations on space, personnel, and financial resources. He apparently doesn’t realize that donations are our only source of income and, despite all our efforts to economize, it is virtually impossible to make ends meet. We don’t get any government support. He doesn’t seem to recognize that our shelter is comprised of animals that were strays, abandoned, and/or desperately needed to be rescued—just like the ones he thinks we have failed. It didn’t occur to him that the animals we house require a steady source of income to support them.

The SPA is a no-kill shelter. Not only do we provide our resident animals (totaling about 100 cats and dogs) with clean and safe quarters, but we feed them, vaccinate them, sterilize them, monitor their health, and give them the professional care they need. In addition, we love them and shower them with the attention they deserve. We have four cages for puppies and 34 “casitas” for the rest of the dogs. Cats are not kept in cages and are in separate sections—rooms that have limited space. We have waiting lists for animal arrivals. When adoptions are slow, waiting lists don’t move much.

There are many times when we tell people that we can’t take the animal they chose to save off their hands because we are full. People are not very pleased to get that message, and neither are we very happy to convey it.

Please help us encourage the adoption of shelter animals like Spice and Madeline. Come and meet all our animals at the SPA, Los Pinos 7, Mon–Sat, 11am–2pm. Adopting a shelter animal saves two lives—the one that is adopted and the one we now have room to take in.


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