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Innovating to Save Lives

Innovation is a lifeline for homeless pets and the people who care for them in today’s complex environment for animal shelters. Puppy mills, failed rescues, natural disasters, disease, and lack of access to care all swirl around the sheltering industry like a tornado, striking here and there along the path. BISSELL Pet Foundation is committed to helping shelters when they need us most. In the center of the tornado, an opportunity for innovation through access to care emerged. 

Over the years, BPF has provided millions of dollars in spay/neuter grants. Increasingly, partner organizations were not able to use all the grant funds because they lacked access to veterinarians for surgeries. Last year, this trend became increasingly common and disturbing. Adoptions were slowing down in shelters without an adequate number of spay/neuter surgeries and community programs were hundreds deep with waiting lists. I kept wondering: How do we solve this problem without veterinarians all over the country? The answer was right in the question. 

Last fall, BPF piloted a high-volume, high-quality relief veterinarian program. Starting with a few veterinarians in the Southeast, we quickly learned that the need was immense. We also learned that hundreds of high-volume veterinarians nationwide were willing to do relief work. Fast forward to today and our appropriately named Fix the Future™ program. This program not only prepares shelter pets for adoption but also provides crucial services to community-owned pets through clinics for $25 or less. We now have a database of over 165 relief vets at 62 destinations and counting utilizing the program in 18 states, and we are nearing our 15,000th surgery in less than six months!

Here are just a few Fix the Future success stories:

  • Cincinnati Animal CARE was 700 surgeries behind when they contacted BPF’s Fix the Future team. The first week in April, they celebrated their 1,000th surgery under the program.
  • Jefferson Protection and Animal Welfare Services (Jefferson Parish, LA) has exceeded 1,500 surgeries under the program and increased access to owned pets with an additional day of surgery each week.
  • Southern Pines Healthy Pet Clinic (Hattiesburg, MS), also on their way to 1,500 surgeries, has increased surgery days and addressed their backlog.
  • Good Shepherd Humane Society and Humane Society of Saline County, both in Arkansas, are using the Fix the Future program to reach out to communities throughout the state and provide much-needed access to spay/neuter services.
  • Terrebonne Parish Animal Shelter (Terrebonne Parish, LA) has numerous Fix the Future vets circulating in and out to perform surgery each week to the tune of nearly 1,000 surgeries completed.
  • In BPF’s home state of Michigan, 910 pets from 14 counties were impacted during our Operation Fix the Future™ Grand Rapids Free Spay & Neuter Clinic over four days in March, and 718 surgeries have been completed at Big Lake Community Animal Clinic in Muskegon by Fix the Future relief veterinarians in seven months.
  • This week alone (April 22-28), we have 31 days of surgery with 930 anticipated spays/neuters. 

The list goes on! The Fix the Future team has no intention of letting up on the push to provide services to shelters and families that need it the most. We are honored to be working with incredible veterinarians who have helped us shape this program and destination shelters that are working tirelessly to save lives through spay/neuter.  

If you are a high-volume, high-quality veterinarian interested in joining our movement to Fix the Future, please email FixTheFuture@BISSELL.com. Far too many shelters and communities desperately need access to spay/neuter services. Help us reach them. 

I cannot stress enough that we must allow the people within the sheltering community to innovate. Fix the Future was an idea, a project we tried, that far exceeded our expectations. Not every idea will knock it out of the park, but we must encourage new ideas, collaborate, and learn together to save more save lives.

Until every pet has a home,