Choosing between caring for your pet and caring for your well-being is not a fair choice for vulnerable members of the community. That’s why, with the generous support of $175,000 from PetSmart Charities® of Canada, we are committed to preventing the separation of animals and pet parents experiencing crisis through our latest community support program – the Urgent Care program.
In 2020, our Urgent Care program launched as a preventative, response-based initiative, offering temporary foster care for pet owners experiencing a short-term crisis. Whether a community member faces sudden hardships that may involve fleeing a domestic violence or abuse situation, the loss of a house or housing instability, or receiving medical treatment, we have support available.
In 2020, we admitted 75 animals, helping to keep families together and increase access to pet care. One of those families is Steven*, a father of an infant child with a large breed dog named Spot*.
Steven lost his wife due to a progressive illness. He was unable to maintain the cost of living for him, his daughter and his dog, and sadly, they were evicted from their home. There are limited regional-base shelters that are suitable for a father with an infant daughter, but Steven found a willing friend to reside with.
And then, Covid-19 hit. Steven lost his job and the friend’s housing circumstances changed. Steven had move again, but this time, he was unable to bring his beloved dog with him. Looking for options other than surrendering his family member, Steven reached out to Toronto Humane Society for help.
Spot was placed into a foster home for temporary care. He is described as a very friendly dog, but he also had reactivity to other dogs. His foster parent worked diligently with our training team on his reactivity, and now Spot can play with other dogs of similar size, enjoys swimming, hiking, playing chase, and has learned a host of new tricks!
With Spot being taken care of, Steven was able to focus on himself and his family. He re-gained employment, secured pet-friendly housing, and was able to reunite with his family!
The Urgent Care program is consistently looking to diversify and meet the rising demand for our services with a primary goal of reaching as many families as we can that are in need. As of July 2021, we have already seen a major uptick in community need for this program, with 80 animals admitted since the beginning of the year.
We are reaching out to community members to ask for support with the expansion of the Urgent Care Program. You can help by spreading the word about the program, raising donations, or opening your home to foster these deserving animals.
Please join our movement to reduce unnecessary surrenders and keep pets with their loving families!
*Names have been changed to protect the identity of Urgent Care program users.
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