World Spay Day

If a street dog or cat could read a calendar, it would circle in red the last Tuesday in February. It’s World Spay Day, when volunteers round up strays in an effort to humanely control their populations.

In Russia, street dogs and cats are a common sight, sometimes even riding on the Moscow Metro. To be fair, they’ve played an important role in Russian society. Drooling street dogs helped Ivan Pavlov win a Nobel Prize. Laika, a street dog from Moscow, was the first living being in space. Feral cats protect the artifacts of the State Hermitage Museum from marauding mice and rats.

Read More: National Geographic, Voice Blog

Tomorrow is World Spay Day, an event started in 1995. By spaying and neutering shelter and stray animals, we can reduce the number of cats and dogs euthanized each year. The program has been very successful. In 1995, 17 million shelter pets were euthanized in the U.S. Today, "only" 2.7 million. We can all do our part by adopting our next dog or cat. My pound mutt Bandito has enriched my life. Another way to help is by volunteering at a shelter (or donating). I wrote about how this program can help Russia, for my latest @natgeo and @the_fulbright_program blog. Link in bio and here: #worldspayday #spayandneuter #streetcat #streetdog #shelterdogs #sheltercats #animalshelter #thepound #humanesociety #dorisdayanimalfoundation #volunteer #straycat #straydog #petadoption #feralcat #feraldog #photojournalism #photosociety #documentaryphotography

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Ryan Bell is traveling through Russia and Kazakhstan for his project #ComradeCowboys. Follow his adventure on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Get updates about his work at Storify.