Fundraiser helps Valley Animal Partners to spay or neuter pets

February 10, 2010

By Staff

NEW — 2:52 p.m. Feb. 10, 2010

Danny Bookter and his Snoqualmie family’s border-collie-Lab mix Biko, play together during a lighthearted moment. Biko was spayed with help from Valley Animal Partners, which is holding neuter fundraiser Feb. 20. (Photo by Laura Geggel)

Danny Bookter and his Snoqualmie family’s border-collie-Lab mix Biko, play together during a lighthearted moment. Biko was spayed with help from Valley Animal Partners, which is holding neuter fundraiser Feb. 20. (Photo by Laura Geggel)

Marika Higgins used to live with a large crowd of people and pets.

When she got her border collie-Lab mix, “I was living with three other people, four dogs and a cat,” Snoqualmie resident Higgins said. “It was just nuts.”

One of the dogs was not neutered, “and I was not trying to have pit-bull-Lab-border-collie puppies,” she said.

When Higgins looked into having her dog, Biko, spayed, she learned it was not cheap. The lowest price she found was $300, far above her price range.

Then, her mother put her in touch with Valley Animal Partners, a non-profit working under the umbrella of Pawsitive Alliance.

Together, the partners raise money to help pet owners afford to spay or neuter their pets. Since it started in 2007, the Snoqualmie Valley organization has helped 65 animals get fixed.

When Higgins learned she qualified for their services, she had her canine neutered by a veterinarian in Kent who networks with Valley Animal Partners.

Now, Valley Animal Partners is asking the community to help them continue their efforts. The group is holding a fundraiser to help local pet owners either spay or neuter their animals.

The group also hopes to raise money for pet check-ups or emergency medical care.

“People call and say their dog got hit by a car, can we help?” said Cathi Linden, owner of U-Dirty Dog! in North Bend. “It’s so hard to say ‘no.’”

Linden said it is important to spay or neuter animals so that their offspring would not end up in shelters, where they might be euthanized.

“If people know there are services they can use to provide that minimal, little surgery, they can just enjoy their animals and not worry about them going out and procreating,” Linden said.

Karen Lee, owner of No Worries Pet Sitting, said spaying and neutering has health benefits, as well.

“It literally extends their life, reduces cancer risks and reduces unwanted puppies and kittens,” Lee said. “I drive around the Valley all day taking care of people’s animals. You see these stray kittens and dogs and you want to stop and pick them up, it just breaks your heart.”

Pet owners who are veterans, seniors, on any type of public assistance or who make less than $36,000 per year ($90,000 for a couple) qualify for Valley Animal Partners services, Linden said.

The group asks for a co-pay of $5 for cats and $15 for dogs (Pit bulls are $3), but “If they can’t afford it, they’ve never been turned away,” Linden said.

Today, Higgins’ spayed dog is living the life.

“My dog has so much energy,” Higgins said. “She’s just the light of our lives.”

Get involved

The Valley Animal Partners’ chili dinner and dessert auction will be held from 5-8:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, 8200 Railroad Ave., Snoqualmie.

Tickets are $10 for adults, $7 for seniors and $5 for children ages 6-12.

Tickets are available at the door or at U-Dirty Dog!, 301 W. North Bend Way, North Bend or Renaissance Pet Boutique and Spa, 213 Bendigo Blvd. N., Suite 2, North Bend.

E-mail info@valleyanimalpartners.com to donate or to learn if your pet qualifies for a reduced spay or neuter surgery.

Laura Geggel: 392-6434, ext. 221, or lgeggel@snovalleystar.com.

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