Junior's Journey

Should you spay or neuter your dog or cat? YES! There are so many reasons why, but you can learn from one family’s near-tragic experience to discover one important incentive.

The benefits of adopting a stray or homeless dog far outweigh any concerns a potential adopter might experience when they are considering this commitment. Being a responsible dog owner includes many variables, but if there is an understanding of the needs of the animal, the foundation is already strong. For potential “forever homes,” spaying or neutering the animal is crucial to this equation.

Photo of Junior Open arms (and doors) welcomed Junior, but he was too frightened to enter his new home.

Junior, a small four-legged mix, comes from a Northern Plains reservation in South Dakota. It’s not clear what his background may be, but some have said he is full bred Pomeranian and others have guessed German Spitz or Keeshond, or a mix of all three. Before arriving at his final forever home, he had been passed along to a couple of “forever homes” before he found a place in the city. Relatives of his reservation home had taken in too many stray dogs and offered Junior to their city cousins a few hours away.

Open arms (and doors) welcomed Junior, but he was too frightened to enter his new home. He stayed in the garage for almost two days before he came in through a door that had been left open for him. He was infested with fleas when he arrived and it wasn’t known whether or not he had shots. He had not been neutered. The groomer shaved his matted coat and Junior received his first flea bath. A vet visit caught him up on his vaccinations, but the family decided to delay neutering. He seemed so young to get the surgery. He played and looked like a young pup and his new parents thought neutering might make him fat and listless. (By the way, this is a common misconception.)

Since Junior roamed the reservation on his own before, it was hard to convince him of the perks of being a “house dog.” Being an indoor dog didn’t sit well with him and on occasion he would escape to explore the neighborhood. His parents would always look for him. Sometimes they were able to retrieve him down the road and other times Junior would return on his own, typically late in the evening.

Junior could have avoided all the pain and suffering by being neutered.  

This past winter, Junior got out and did not return in the evening or even the next morning. After many searches and submitting a lost pet report to the area humane society, his forever home received a call the following afternoon. A garbage truck driver found Junior… he was listless and shivering by a garbage can.

After a few days of homecare, the family took Junior to the vet. After examining Junior, the vet determined that the small dog had been bitten. His winter coat covered up the bite marks and it wasn’t until he was shaved that the bites were discovered. The vet needed to perform surgery to treat the wounds. He inserted tubes in Junior’s hind leg to allow for the infected area to drain.

Photo of Junior after surgery All of Junior's pain and suffering could have been avoided with a simple procedure.

All of this pain and suffering could have been avoided with a simple procedure. Even though neutering can cost between $100 and $300, this preventative procedure would have been far less expensive than the treatment Junior had to receive for his bite wounds.

With studies and experts attesting to the benefits of spay and neutering, forever homes must be willing to accept the challenges, rewards and financial obligations of providing companionship to homeless or stray animals. Analysis also shows that neutering has little to no effect on basic personality and activity levels. One study indicated a decrease of 90% in the tendency of neutered dogs to roam. Neutering is well worth the investment.*

The RAR program collaborates with several Program Partners on Southwest and Northern Plains reservations to help ensure that spaying and neutering costs are not prohibitive for a forever home and a healthy animal.

Thank you for helping to make this happen!

Why Spay and Neuter your Pet?

Photo of Cat Chart
Photo of Dog Chart

Plus, your loving companion will typically be happier and healthier. Please spay and neuter! Do it for them and do it for you.

* Sources and more information: