Monthly ED Update – March 2023

March is upon us and it’s hard to believe that January and February are over. Spring feels like it is around the corner; a season that brings warmth and renewed energy.

At the Humane Society, our world is a buzz of activity. So far this year we have accepted in 80 pet surrenders, a number that has increased from 55 in the same period in 2022. Pet relinquishment is continuing to rise (we saw a 94% increase in dog surrenders in 2022 alone), as pet parents struggle with housing insecurity, rising costs (including veterinary care) and access to resources (such as behavioural support). Just last week the CBC wrote about pet abandonment rising – an alarming trend that we are also witnessing in the south Georgian Bay region. Weekly we are receiving calls from landlords whose previous tenants have left pets behind. Personally, I will not forget the day a resident walked into the Centre carrying a cage with two baby domestic rabbits that had been found in a snowbank on the side of Hwy 124. The challenges are real and continuing to grow.

Simultaneously, our Access to Care programs are overwhelmed with calls – often at all hours of the day. I have a tremendous amount of gratitude for our Outreach Team because I know emergencies are not scheduled – and frequently present themselves at the end of a long day. Even just last week, our team helped two local dogs that found a porcupine and acted out of instinct. Covered in deeply nestled quills, both dogs needed surgery and were quoted thousands of dollars for the procedure. The owners being hardworking farmers, this cost was unattainable, so they called the GTHS emergency medical assistance program to find a solution.

Bottomline? Our charity is busier than ever and our gratitude to our volunteers and donors is unending. The light at the end of the tunnel, is our hope for a new home – a home we desperately need. From dogs in the garage to cat cages in hallways – we simply need more space and fast. We cannot escape the fact that our south Georgian Bay community is growing rapidly – and more and more families are welcoming pets into their lives. This reality is a celebration, as pets increase wellness, reduce anxiety, improve mental health and provide unconditional love. However, as the number of pets in this region explodes – so must the capacity of our programs and services.

Over the weekend I spoke to a friend who teaches for a local school Board. She told me about how she had happened upon a young girl at her school, crying inconsolably due to the loss of her pet cat. My friend went to our social media page and shared the story of the 8 orphaned kittens that joined the GTHS during a snowstorm. The student planned to visit the humane society for some cat therapy – another example of how our work continues to build compassion, empathy and kindness beyond our walls.

In exciting news, on February 28th we welcomed Dr. Steph Dam to our Medical Team as our new Director of Veterinary Medicine. Stephanie joins us with extensive experience in spay/neuter surgery and shelter medicine. It is only day two and it feels like she has been here forever. When we asked Dr. Dam of her passions she said; “the common thread is a love of surgery, a deep passion for shelter animals and community outreach programs.” Welcome to the team Dr. Dam!

Enjoy the start of March and let’s hope it goes out like a lamb, as the saying goes. Don’t forget to register for our numerous Spring programs, as registration is now open for dog obedience classes, rabies and microchip clinics and our after school programs. Finally, with warmer weather comes flea season – stop by the humane society for your six-month package of flea and tick treatment and let’s keep our pets safe and protected.

With gratitude,

Sonya Reichel

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!