Meet a board member: Joe Ponepinto!

When I was a boy I always seemed to have a pet, whether it was a bird or a turtle, or the snake my mother couldn’t stand, or the mouse that must have been pregnant when I bought her and freaked out Mom even more when it gave birth to a dozen babies. But it was my dog, Queenie, who was my constant companion in those days, and my memories of her are the strongest. I grew up and left home, and didn’t have a pet again for a long time.

Now, many years later, my wife and I are the proud parents of Henry, a cocker spaniel-schnauzer mix, and I wonder how I went for so long without the friendship of a little guy whose antics always seem to brighten the day.

Maybe that’s why, when I attended the Northwest Spay and Neuter Clinic’s annual Whiskers and Wine fundraiser a couple of years ago, and Executive Director Melanie Rushforth mentioned they were looking for new board members, I jumped at the chance to serve.

For so many people, especially those of limited economic means, having a pet dog or cat is one of their only links to the rest of the world. There’s something about pets’ ability to connect to us that touches our capacity to care, and reminds us of what being human is about. So helping provide low-cost spay and neuter services means many people don’t have to pass on the opportunity to have the kind of companion that has made my life a little fuller.

I also get to help the animals too, and that is just as important to me. Feral and unwanted cats and dogs are a problem most of us are aware of, but rarely think about in depth. That doesn’t mean it isn’t important. In fact, if the public knew just how big the numbers are there would probably be much more action to help our furry friends. NWSNC just performed its 120,000th procedure, which helps keep those populations down, so you can imagine the size of the problem if we’ve done so many.

I’m happy to finally have the chance to give something back to the animals that give us so much. I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to do it.

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