COLLINGWOOD, Ontario – The email arrived in the middle of the night to the Georgian Triangle Humane Society (GTHS) in Collingwood from a woman in an abusive relationship. She desperately needed to escape the abusive home with her baby, but her abuser had threatened that if she left, he would “get rid of” her two dogs. “I can’t take the dogs with me, and I’m afraid of what will happen if I leave them,” wrote the woman in her email. “Can you help?”
Staff and volunteers at the GTHS sprang into action, arranging to bring the two traumatized dogs to the shelter on 10th Line in Collingwood. The facility’s dog kennels were full, so foster care providers agreed to take two of the existing dogs to make room for the new arrivals – named “Thelma and Estella” by the shelter team.
“We simply couldn’t say no to this woman,” says Courtney Hancock, Canine Behaviour & Program Coordinator for GTHS. “This woman and her child needed to get to a safe location, and so did the dogs.”
This is just one of dozens of stories of the animals who come to the GTHS shelter every month. While many of the dogs and cats arrive under less dramatic circumstances, the need is the same – the animals need a safe, caring environment where they can be housed and cared for until they can be adopted to new families. The GTHS refers to these adoptions as “forever homes.”
Due to its growing reputation as a well-managed shelter focused on saving animals, the GTHS saw a sharp rise in the number of dogs and cats needing care in the first quarter of 2017, up 25 per cent to 225 animals in Q1 of 2017.
“We are a small shelter that is performing massive feats in terms of impacts in animal welfare,” says Executive Director Sonya Reichel. “We are doing everything within our power to ensure that every pet that comes to us is safe and finds a loving home.”
However, the increase in animals needing care also means the costs for the shelter are going up, and the GTHS relies solely on donations. “We receive no government funding of any kind – federal, provincial or municipal,” notes Reichel, adding, “We’re so thankful for the volunteers and the adopters and the donors who are coming forward and standing up for the voiceless. Without them we wouldn’t be able to do the work we do.”
Every animal that passes through the GTHS shelter receives a full medical examination, vaccinations, flea treatment and a microchip. Many of the animals also require medical testing, surgery or extended medical care, which add to the costs.
“We provide a very high standard of care to all the animals who come through our doors,” says Reichel. “Almost daily, we are doing whatever we need to do to alleviate pain, reduce suffering and provide every animal with the care needed to live a long and healthy life.”
In one recent example, a dog named Zoe arrived at the shelter unspayed and never having seen a veterinarian. Examinations and testing revealed that Zoe had Chronic Active Hepatitis, a condition that, left untreated, would end her life in a short time.
Through donations, the GTHS raised the $3,000 needed to provide Zoe with eight months of medication to restore her liver. Zoe is now receiving treatment and loving life in her “forever home.”
“Of the 120-150 animals that come to our shelter on a monthly basis, 10-20 per cent of those animals need extensive medical treatment or surgery – dental cleaning, tooth extractions, diagnostics, heartworm treatment, surgery, long-term supportive care to recover from illness,” says Reichel. “We greatly appreciate how much our community cares about these animals, and consistently steps forward to offer financial support.”
Those interested in donating to the GHTS can find out how by going to http://gths.ca/donations/
Written by: Janet Lees
For further information, please contact:
Executive Director, GTHS
705-445-5204, ext. 225