Today, we are thrilled to share the story of a nonprofit we have gotten to know over the past year through our collaboration on another project, which we’ll be sharing more about in our next post. Special thanks to Robyn Luchs, founder of SNIP, for taking the time to talk with us today!
BIG SMALL BRANDS: WHERE DID THE SNIP BRAND STORY BEGIN?
SNIP: The idea behind SNIP started with my volunteering at our local animal shelter when I noticed that the strays and abandoned pets were made up of cats/kittens, small mixed breed chihuahuas, and pit bull mixes. With all of these pets being so readily available, they are often given away or sold for a very small amount of money, making them easily available to everyone who wants an animal. While every pet deserves a loving home, not everyone can afford to spay or neuter their pet to help lower pet overpopulation.
I volunteered at a number of events for both homeless and low income families, and for many of these people, their furry family member was their most important relationship. It seemed to me, as a result, that if you helped people to do the right thing, it would benefit our community and reduce shelter population.
BSB: WE’RE inspired by your goals to improve access to care for pets of low-income families, and to eliminate housing barriers to pets and their guardians. Can you Talk to us more about what you are doing here?
SNIP: Shortly after starting SNIP, it became very obvious that the need for spay/neuter surgeries was a way to help people transitioning off the street and into housing. On multiple occasions, I had people who were being offered housing and were choosing to stay on the street because they couldn’t take their pet. When that happened they were immediately moved to the front of the line and one of our wonderful volunteers picked up the dog or cat dropped it off for surgery and then reunited the pet and owner in their new apartment in the afternoon. I’ll never forget the phone call I took from a senior. She was in tears over the fact that she was moving into subsidized housing, could no longer afford to live on her own, and wasn’t able to take her 12 year old dachshund with her because it wasn’t spayed. We got her dog treated and she was able to take it with her to her new apartment. No one should ever have to choose between keeping their pet and having a roof over their heads.
In addition to removing barriers to housing, spaying and neutering prevents a bunch of health issues as our pets age. For low income families those health problems are often the reason a very difficult decision has to be made. By providing spay/neuter surgeries, a host of expensive health issues can be avoided and again we help prevent pet overpopulation. With housing and cost of living increases more and more, families are living on the edge financially, and we get so many calls for help on a weekly basis.
I know there are a lot of people who think you shouldn’t have a pet if you can’t afford it. I say what are we as a society going to do with all the pets people can’t afford? If we all work together, we can keep families intact and that includes the furry members too.
BSB: WHAT ARE YOUR TOP AREAS OF NEED THIS FALL/WINTER?
SNIP: As we head into the fall and winter months, our biggest need is always more surgery spots. We partner with some wonderful clinics who significantly reduce the cost of spay/neuter surgeries for us, which helps tremendously. The wait list is always long, so more clinics providing one or two surgeries a week would be fabulous. We also pay our clinics a small amount for each surgery, so with more surgery spots, we need more money.
BSB: Thanks for talking with us about this important issue!
Stay tuned in our next post for more about SNIP’s partnership with an exciting new community for people who love their pets.