It's obvious Tuxedo, a 7-year-old Siberian husky, is spoiled.

As he looks around the office of Dr. Mary Lombardo at the Mahoning Valley Animal Hospital, he invites petting with his mannerism, but shows little appreciative reaction.

"He was a show dog," said his master, Debbie Carroll of Hazleton. "He's taught not to lick people or get sidetracked."

But Tuxedo, none-the-less, is very friendly and mild-mannered.

He was at the animal hospital for sutures this week after having two tumors removed. Carroll said she believes the tumors are the result of not having her dog neutered.

"Fortunately they are benign," she said.

It was by coincidence that Carroll was at Dr. Lombardo's office at the same time she was holding a small media gathering to get the message out that February is Spay and Neuter Month. The veterinarian couldn't have selected a better spokesperson had it been planned.

Carroll said show dogs aren't neutered until they're finished showing.

Dogs cannot participate in shows once they are neutered.

According to veterinarians, older dogs are at greater risk for some cancers, and neutering can remove some of that risk.

Once their breeding and show careers are over, female dogs should be spayed. Spaying stops annoying heat cycles and almost eliminates future "female" cancers, according to vets.

Dr. Lombardo was one of the organizers and is director of the Amazing Grace Spay and Neuter program, which offers assistance to individuals who can't afford to have their pets "fixed."

"Although February is Spay and Neuter month, Amazing Grace Spay and Neuter is a year-round program," she said.

Thomas Zimmerman IV, president of Amazing Grace, said the program has helped quite a few people in Carbon County.

He said information can be obtained by visiting the program's Web site at www.amazinggracesnp.org.