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Urgent Care

Sponsored by our key program funder PetSmart Charities® of Canada 

Preserving the human-animal bond

The bond between an animal and their human is significant. The joy, the trust, the unconditional love and more all contribute to the unique nature of this relationship. But for many loving pet owners, this precious bond can be broken by circumstances beyond their control. Sudden illness, housing issues, or domestic violence are just a few of the reasons why families are separated.

By providing shelter and safety for people’s pets during times of crisis or transition, our Urgent Care program gives people the reassurance that their animal is in good care and is safe until they can be reunited.

How does it work?

Urgent Care is a response-based, preventative program, offering temporary foster care for pet owners experiencing a short-term crisis which impacts their ability to care for their pet.

Some examples of Urgent Care might include a caregiver who is fleeing domestic violence or abuse; experiencing sudden housing instability and/or homelessness; or being admitted to a care facility to seek treatment for their own health.

The program is available to pet owners who have no other options, and do not wish to be separated from their animal.

Pet parents in-need complete an online application, which is then assessed on an individual basis with program acceptance based on our ability to successfully, and safely, place the animal in a foster home.

How to apply

Pet parents in-need can complete an online application here. Upon receiving a completed application, a member of the Urgent Care team will be in contact within 48 hours.

Once the online referral form has been submitted, and we have determined we can accept the animal into the Urgent Care Program:

  • Animals receive a full physical exam by our medical team. Toronto Humane Society assumes all costs for any necessary veterinary care at point of intake & throughout the foster period (rabies, spay/neuter/etc.). If required, the animal may also be seen by our training and behavioural support team.
  • We place the animal with an appropriate foster home for the duration of their foster period.
  • Toronto Humane Society foster parents undergo species-specific training to support the animals in their care. Foster parents have access to the veterinary and training teams during the foster period, as often as necessary.
  • Animals are offered fostering for a minimum of 2 weeks, up to 1 year (365 days)
  • Owners will receive regular updates and photos
  • When the time comes to be reunited, we coordinate pick up details with owner

Why Urgent Care?

Animals are an important part of our lives. They are our best friends, teammates, confidants and companions. They get us moving when we don’t feel like moving, help us smile when we don’t feel like smiling. They are there for us, we for them, and the bond we share creates memories that last a lifetime.  

For many responsible, loving pet owners, this bond is threatened by larger systemic challenges. Intersecting oppressions and discriminations that impact marginalized populations, create economic disparities which lead to further barriers down the road. These issues can have direct impacts on pet owners’ access to, and ability to engage with, pet care.  

No one, no matter their circumstances, should be denied the joy and comfort that comes from the human-animal bond. 

Urgent Care offers an alternative to surrender, keeping people and their pets together, and furthering the human-animal bond in the community.  

Resources to Support other Animal Welfare Agencies

Toronto Humane Society is committed to championing and supporting the Human-Animal Bond, and supporting our community of colleagues in animal welfare to do the same. It is through our desire to help strengthen the industry that our team of experts created the Urgent Care Resource Manual to help guide and support like-minded agencies in starting and operating their own Temporary Care Fostering Programs.