Spay and neuter surgeries change the lives of free-roaming cats. For females, it means a lower risk of infections and pregnancy complications; for males, less fighting and fewer health problems. When the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project started in 1997, the mission was to spay and neuter as many free-roaming cats as possible, helping reduce overpopulation and the need for euthanasia deaths in community shelters.
Today, the organization has expanded its work to include all cats, including those with homes. When a cat arrives for surgery, it also receives a basic health exam, rabies vaccination, and, for free-roaming cats, an ear tip to identify it as spayed or neutered. Since its inception, the Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Project has performed the surgery on more than 82,000 cats. The organization collaborates with other like-minded groups and individuals striving to care for animals in a safe, humane environment.
Situated on 10 glorious acres, Gold Creek Equestrian Center's two barns house nearly 100 stalls—each comfortable quarters for private boarding and the horse haven's own 30 steeds, which are available for lessons. Outside on the 135'x240' sand arena, equestrians can conquer an Olympic PVC jump course or practice kicking up a sandstorm worthy of a John Wayne reenactment. Meanwhile, two indoor arenas host trotters as they rehearse dressage routines during the cooler months. Private and semiprivate lessons can be tailored to each student's age, skill level, and favored style of riding, including English and American Western flavors.
As one of the largest no-kill shelters in Washington, Homeward Pet Adoption Center helps find permanent, loving homes for more than 1,400 cats and dogs each year. Forty percent of its animals are owner surrendered, and sixty percent are rescues from shelters that euthanize. A range of rescue, shelter, and adoption programs help the small staff and more than 350 volunteers in their mission to give homeless and abandoned companion animals a second chance. Additionally, Homeward Pet’s onsite veterinary-care team spays or neuters all the animals that enter the shelter, along with providing a general health assessment, a microchip, and any necessary treatments or vaccinations.
Homeward Pet also extends help to animals in the community with owners in need of financial assistance. In 2012, Homeward Pet’s low-cost clinic spayed or neutered more than 500 pets, and its pet-food bank collected and distributed more than 40,000 pounds of pet food to local families struggling to feed their animals. It also offers year-round discount microchipping and free microchipping three times a year, to ensure the safety of pets in the community.
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With 18,000 square feet of boarding facilities and 10 park-like spaces for pups to romp in, the Academy of Canine Behavior is a true pet-care destination. Dogs bunk down with the staff of trainers and behaviorists for the signature five-week Board and Train program, during which they learn proper manners, such as how to share toys, greet guests, and do their own taxes. Both boarding and daycare guests frolic in indoor or outdoor dog runs during the day, and cats can daydream about enemy birds in their own exclusive area. Owners can also schedule sessions with the on-site groomer, who has experience with hard-to-handle animals, especially those who insist on doing their own makeup.
Dorothy Moore, owner of The Dining Dog, indulges canines with her full menu of meals and treats oriented to dogs' particular senses of taste. Tongues lap up doggy cocktails with names such as the Barkarita, and teeth happily crunch into entrees of fresh veggies, turkey loaf, steak, or chicken that have attracted the attention of local press and celebrities alike. Owners can further reward pets or buy their eternal silence with cupcakes in flavors that range from steak and cheese to peanut-butter bacon.