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JoAnna Lou
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Christmas Gift of Spaying
Georgia woman offers to spay all of the Macon's female dogs

Earlier this month, dog lover and pet foster parent Kerry Hatcher Fickling was inspired by what seemed like a particularly overwhelming week of strays and abandoned litters in Macon, Georgia. Kerry regularly donates time and money to local rescue groups, but this time she wanted to do something that would really get to the root cause of the city's overpopulation problem. So she posted a "Christmas gift for Macon" on Facebook, offering to pay for any female dog to be spayed.  Kerry is even willing to pick up the dogs in the morning, bring them to the vet, and return the pups in the evening after their surgery.

So far she's paid for almost 50 spay procedures and has been fielding hundreds of calls from other interested people.

Kerry is hoping to eventually reach a goal of 2,000 spayed dogs. Even at the discounted rate of $55 offered by the Gordon Animal Clinic, 2,000 dogs will run her a $110,000 tab. Kerry credits her real estate business and healthy savings with being able to fund this initiative.

In order to achieve her goal, Kerry is planning to start canvasing neighborhoods to reach people who don't have computer access and don't know about her spay offer. Kerry also realizes that part of her mission is now education. Making a difference can be as simple as letting people know that dogs don't need to have a litter or two to have enriched lives, a common misconception around Macon.

Perhaps this will inspire others to think about starting similar programs in other cities. Most people wouldn't be able to afford 2,000 spay procedures, but multiple people sponsoring one $55 operation each could be a possibility. It could be the start of a great holiday tradition! 

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JoAnna Lou is a New York City-based researcher, writer and agility enthusiast.
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