Help us care for our shelter animals until they find their forever homes...


Articles by Cheryl Wicks

Co-Founder of Sammie's Friends

Printed monthly in The Union newspaper

Nevada County


We all think of Valentine's as a time of love, romance, chocolates, flowers, jewelry.  Us ladies get courted and made to feel special.   So much fun!

Now, right now, is the perfect time to get your cats and dogs spayed/neutered.  Keep reading I will tell you why. 

Valentine's Day is also early mating season for cats and dogs.   Let's see what romance looks like in the animal world.   Cats can go into heat as young as four months old.  Short kittyhood!  Who deserves this after four short months of being on this earth.  Would we want our 10 or 11 year old having a baby?  I think not.  When an unspayed cat goes into heat any neighborhood unneutered  male cat  will mate with her.   It looks like rape.  The male cat grabs the female by the nape of the neck, locks her down and impregnates her.   This will happen with every male cat that gets ahold of her.  Female cats have a gestation period of approximately two months.  They give birth, have the life sucked out of them for six weeks, wean their kittens, who then go to new homes and are never seen again by the mother cat.  What fun!

Imagine if, as a human, you carried your baby for nine months, nursed for approximately 12 months and then gave it away, never to be seen again.  This seems abhorrent, doesn't it?  Well it is, but it's pretty terrible for the animals too.  They are thinking, feeling beings just like we are.

At Sammie's Friends animal shelter last year we received over 400 kittens.   Many were brought to us without a mother, sometimes only days old.  Last year we took in approximately 2,000 animals, the most I have seen since my first appearance at the Nevada County Animal Shelter in 2001.  Sammie's Friends has given out 7,511 spay/neuter vouchers since July of 2011 at an expense of $257,202.00.  Vouchers were given out prior to 2011; we don't have the numbers available.   The “Cat Crisis 2017” program spayed/neutered another 800 cats.  In addition Pound Puppy Rescue has paid for approximately 1,000 dogs to be spayed/neutered.  AnimalSave has spayed/neutered over 22,000 animals since they purchased their spay/neuter van in 2008.

What would our county be like if we didn't do all this spaying/neutering.   We can't keep up.   I am begging the public to get your dogs and cats spayed.   Now is a great time;  as we are on the edge of the females going into heat and the males in waiting for this event.   Then we wait two months and we have more kitties and puppies than we ever dreamed possible.

4 to 5 million animals get euthanized every year in shelters because there is no home for them.  They are good animals.  Very few of them have done anything seriously wrong.   It breaks my heart.   At Sammie's Friends we do not euthanize anybody.  In order to do that we have to work so so hard to take care of the animals and find them all homes.  Sammie's Friends has a team of the hardest working, loveliest, dedicated people one could ever find.  Not only do all of these unnecessary matings lead to an unbelievable amount of work to take care  of  the offspring, by the small staff of Sammie's Friends, and so many volunteers and our beloved foster homes also work so hard.  We couldn't do it without them. 

The situation for dogs is just as serious, as it is for cats.   We do not get as many puppies as kittens, but we do get enough.  If you can afford to get your pet spayed/neutered just do it.  If you need help one of the organizations mentioned in this article will help.   Both AnimalSave and the Animal Spay/Neuter Clinic in Auburn are non-profits and spay/neuter at low cost.

Let's make it a Happy Valentine's Day for all (two legged and four legged).

Cheryl Wicks is the Co-Founder and President of Sammie's Friends