May 7, 2020

Hello Friend of the Animals

Friends and supporters like yourself have asked how our staff and volunteers are doing, what life is like at the shelter in these times of COVID-19, and importantly, how are the animals.  Your support is keeping service to community active.

Pet companions going home

Last week, I shared the launch of “no contact” adoptions and the positive experience that adopters shared with us early in the new process. In just a week, 15 pet companions have been rehomed with their forever families. Pet families include singles, couples, and families with children of all ages. We are delighted that cats of all ages too are being adopted including those at 1, 2, 7 and 8 years of age.  An additional 24 adorables  – guinea pigs, kittens cats, puppy and dogs – are being readied for their forever families.

Safe surgeries

Health checks and surgeries have required the development of new ways of work or revised standard operating procedures. These are guided by health and safety practices – physical distancing among staff and animals, and effective personal protective equipment (PPE) worn at all times. Early in the pandemic, surgeries for animals in care and those living in the community were not possible. Then, we piloted neuters for street cats, without which cat overpopulation only increases. And now, with a final review underway of robust procedures allowing for drop off and pick up of owned animals requiring surgery, the Companion Animal Hospital will do about 9 surgeries a day. While hospital capacity is 15-20 surgeries a day, this is a good beginning.

Our People

Most importantly, our staff, whether on site or at home, are healthy.  The shelter itself is quiet.  A handful of volunteers are walking dogs and keeping the fundraising office active. The staff team on site is lean and safe in their zones. Some of us rotate working at home. And some have been on more ZOOM meetings in the past month than in the past 5 years! We are all missing the banter, the face to face collegiality, the corridor discussions, and the number of miracles every day. But “no contact” adoption, end of life care, street cat support, help on the phone, and emergency response continue to make a difference every day, all for the animals and their families.

Looking ahead

There is no time like the present for innovation. No contact adoptions are here to stay and will offer an alternative approach for adopters in the future. Physical distancing will shape our service to community for a long time, and still, leave no animal behind. Telemedicine and help on the phone and by video are amplifying our efforts to keep pets and their people together, prevent unnecessary admission to shelter, and shape curricula for coop students and veterinarians in training. It’s the right thing to do.

You can help

Innovation is shaping the critical ways your local shelter is serving community, and making safe the provision of compassionate support, emergency response, and the rehoming of animals at risk. Here are some of the ways you can help support innovation, all for the animals.

Sew some masks.  Find details and instructions here /donate/wishlist/

Be a local hero and become a monthly donor /donate/monthly-gift/

Purchase Spring Lottery tickets at /donate/lottery-tickets/

OR, if you are able, please support the Hamilton/Burlington SPCA with a donation of any size.

Like you, we are grateful in these uncertain times for our health, the gifts of family and friends, the advent of Spring, and the bonds we have with pets, ours and those in other families.

I wish you health and safety.


Marion Emo
President and CEO
Keeping Distance Staying Connected.