November 6, 2020

Dear Friends of the Animals 

It’s November and the weather is bringing out the best in us. Pumpkins and goblins are behind us. The carpeted landscapes basking in the warm sun are postcard perfect.

The shelter on Dartnall remains open for service by appointment. Pet parents bring their pets for spay and neuter surgeries to the Companion Animal Hospital entrance and pick them up mid afternoon. Royal Canin food purchases, prescribed medications, and purchased calendars and Christmas cards are ready for pick up just inside the front entrance.  Adopting families are greeted with much fanfare outside as they take their new family member home.

And so it is not unusual for staff to be asked – What’s going on in the shelter?

Here’s a day in the life at 245 Dartnall.

Day surgery patients start arriving at 7:30 am. On this day, 14 cats are scheduled for surgery. On arrival, each patient’s sex is confirmed – yes, sometimes Poppy turns out to be a boy!  Body weight is measured, and each pet is outfitted with an ID band.  At the end of the day, a home care package accompanies parent and pet on their way.

Five families arrive for end of life support for their pets – all dogs this morning. These are sad departings; the only gift is the end of crippling pain, disease, and relief from the intense frailties at the end-of life.  The decisions are hard for families and always in the best interests of their loved ones.

Inquiries, both by email and phone are non-stop. This window on the community tells us that pet families are stressed in the Times of COVID; veterinary care is unaffordable for many. Demand for spay neuter surgery is high. Advice flows on any number of issues including vaccines, nutrition, post surgery support, pet surrender and pet behaviour issues at home.

Today, there are no dogs in care. Over the last few years, dog intake has declined, and the population has been variable. Dogs that do arrive for care, rehab and rehoming have often had a tough life; patience and lots of love are required to get them home and happy.

At the same time, one never knows what a day might bring.  Late in the day 33 cats (and one cockatiel) arrive for intake; one cat’s injured jaw will require regular flushing and antibiotics. Each cat in turn is weighed, examined by the shelter vet, treated for fleas and internal parasites, vaccinated to prevent disease, and nails are trimmed. By the end of the intake process – 4 staff have worked a 12-hour day.

The large intake makes for a total of about 70 cats in care at the shelter now and about 15 in foster care. Supportive care for all during their stay includes kennel cleaning, food and water, post surgical checks for some, medications when required, and most importantly – play.

In the later afternoon, barks signal the  beginning of the first of two dog training sessions (sometimes called people training sessions😊) and the auditorium is filled with 6 sets of pet parents and their best friends, all physically distanced. Class sizes are reduced in the Times of COVID and demand is high.

Rescue, just in time care, recoveries, and rehoming – miracles happen every day at the shelter. Staff respond to animals in need on a dime. Donors make this possible, every day.

Thank you.

Be safe, be kind.

How can you help these days?

Purchase a calendar

Donate in a friend or family members name

Purchase your HBSPCA Holiday Cards