Because of YOU

Dear Community & Supporters of the Georgian Triangle Humane Society,

As the holidays approach, I would like to tell the story of Adam.

Adam is young adult that is developmentally delayed and lives with his mother in Collingwood. Adam has a dream. He dreams of having a job and slowly through this employment, earning his independence.

Adam has struggled with this dream due to social challenges, anxieties and the ability to connect with peers. Adam’s story is special to us, but unfortunately not unique. Our reality these days is that a greater number of youth face challenges similar to Adam’s on a regular basis. Although they may not be developmentally delayed, youth experiencing feelings of social isolation, anxiety and depression are being considered an epidemic in our society.

Adam’s story begins with us when he took the brave step of joining GTHS Humane Education program. He and his peers would visit our Animal Centre regularly as part of scheduled sessions where he would spend time with shelter dogs and cats in our adoption rooms. 

His work in these programs centered around the human-animal bond and learning about how animals think, feel and communicate.

Over my last six years as Executive Director I have had the extraordinary privilege of witnessing our work in action and marveling at the deep connection between people and pets. 

I have witnessed hundreds of people like Adam, live richer, fuller and healthier lives as a result of their link with animals. In fact, throughout Adam’s time in our program, we measured an 25% growth in his emotion and social skill development.

In our community, I have witnessed pet owners that have a renewed sense of optimism because of the programs we are offering them.

I have witnessed senior adopters that have become healthier because their new pet gives them purpose.

I have witnessed members of our community prioritize food for their pets over nutrition for themselves.

I have witnessed profound empathy from humans to animals and from humans to humans, which, in a world that is becoming increasingly polarized, radicalized and fundamentally burned out, the need for this empathy, compassion and inclusion for each other is greater than ever before.

Last year I wrote to you and told you about how a pet owner in our community, living in poverty and suffering from depression that inspired us to think ‘outside the box’ and launch a new program centered around keeping pets and people together.

I spoke of our commitment to address the needs of vulnerable pets and people and do so by engaging in long-term solutions to pet overpopulation.

12 month later, I am filled with pride, because we have followed through on each and every one of our commitments.  

In 2019, launched a Pet Retention Program providing access to emergency veterinary care for pet owners facing crisis and emergency boarding services to families without housing or women fleeing domestic violence.

Over the past 12 months, with our partners at the Niagara SPCA and local municipalities, we have increased access to veterinary care for over 300 pet owners through our mobile clinics.

In April, we opened a fully accredited Companion Animal Hospital in our very own shelter. This hospital radically improves the health care we can provide to homeless animals and allows us to fix community cats efficiently and responsibly. Several weeks ago, we reached our 700th surgery at our clinic.  

We have visited over 250 classrooms and impacted 3500 youth through our Humane Education program strengthening the next generation with resilience, compassion and kindness.

In short, because of you, we have had the courage to take steps towards our dreams and the optimism to envision a world rich with compassion and empathy.

Upon completion of Adam’s program at the GTHS, his dream of employment was realized. He found his first part-time job at a local retail store and was even recently nominated as Employee of the Month. He remains a faithful participant in the program and his mother reports he has never been happier. When talking to Adam he said, to him, the GTHS cat room is very similar to our community. Everyone is different, but everyone wants the same thing; to be understood, to be accepted and to be loved.

This holiday season, after 20 years of service and over 10,000 lives impacted, our organization is celebrating a profound truth:

“that compassion for animals is rooted in compassion for people.” 

We simply cannot do this work without you. Your support is changing lives and building a kinder world for us all. Thank you so very much for giving generosity to our animals and community members this holiday season.

Wishing you and your family a joyous holiday season.


Sonya Reichel
Executive Director

Stay informed on GTHS events, initiatives and programs. Learn how the GTHS team is serving the pets and people of the South Georgian Bay Area. Read heart-warming Happy Tails about GTHS Alumni. See a lot of really cute pictures of dogs and cats!