Whether you have recently moved to the area or you have been living here for many years, you may not be aware that the Georgian Triangle Humane Society (also known as the GTHS) in Collingwood is a not-for-profit charity that operates as an Animal Centre at 549 Tenth Line. Treasure Tails, the GTHS thrift store in downtown Collingwood, is a store where people can donate a variety of goods and the proceeds support the GTHS. Providing shelter for homeless cats and dogs, the mission is to deliver innovative programs and compassionate services that enhance the lives of pets in need and the people that care for them. Over the past 11 years the GTHS has experienced tremendous growth in response to requests from the community. As such here are five things you may not know about the GTHS:
1. The GTHS Operates a Spay/Neuter Hospital
While the GTHS team of 24 staff and 250 volunteers works daily to provide shelter to homeless cats and dogs, folks may not know that hospital services for public pets are available as well. Since July 2020, the GTHS Animal Hospital works with the community to make a long-lasting impact on pet overpopulation and increase the wellness of animals in the south Georgian Bay region. Open Monday to Thursday, this service is for financially limited pet owners.
“I went to the humane society pretty overwhelmed because I couldn’t get my cat fixed through my vet,” said Gabriella, who came to the GTHS in 2020 to take advantages of these services for her cat.
The animal hospital serves 1600 public pets for spay/neuter surgery.
2. Community Support and Compassion are Vital
The Georgian Triangle Humane Society is a registered not-for-profit charity, that relies on donations and fundraising to run essential public services. The society is a grateful recipient of a 3-year Ontario Trillium Foundation grant allowing them to run programming for youth impacting over 2000 individuals annually. Otherwise, the organization does not receive any form of ongoing government support. Simply put, without support from donors, volunteers and local businesses, the GTHS would not be able to provide essential services to pets in need and programs which enrich the lives of people.
At its core, the GTHS believes in teamwork, responsive solutions, and compassionate service. Understanding the power of the Human-Animal bond and the importance that pets have in people’s lives, services have been developed to keep families and individuals together with their pets during crisis. GTHS Pet Support Services provides support to pet owners that need emergency boarding, emergency medical services, or supplies for their pet. An educational short video about PSS can be viewed here.
3. Supporting Youth and Mental Health
The GTHS Humane Education program provides services to 2000 local youth annually. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, 20% of Canadian youth are affected by mental health challenges. The GTHS understands that learning about, and interacting with, animals will increase the production of serotonin and dopamine which can help decrease depression, anxiety, and overall stress.
As listed on the Human Animal Bond Research Institute, pets help people develop routines that provide emotional and social support – in fact, the GTHS Humane Education programs have measured an average 18% increase in the social and emotional skill development of youth in their programs. GTHS courses explore relationships with animals using hands-on, activity-based lessons that foster empathy and kindness. Available programming showcases age-appropriate subject matter on animals for students age 8-18 which includes certificates of completion for all youth involved.
4. Collaboration is the Name of the Game
The GTHS believes strongly in the power of collaboration – working together to build strong communities and improve wellness for animals. When taking in homeless pets, the GTHS directly serves half of Simcoe County, Grey County and Bruce County taking in 1000-1300 pets directly from these areas annually. The GTHS is fortunate to be situated in a pet loving community with high adoption rates and if the animal centre has space, staff and volunteers will work collaboratively with donors, and rescue partners.
Although local needs are prioritized first, the GTHS works closely with northern rescues and communities to support pets in need. In 2020, 154 dogs were transferred as part of this program to find loving adoptive homes through the GTHS adoption program.
5. The GTHS is Bursting at the Seams
Over 25 years ago, the GTHS Animal Centre was designed to provide shelter to 500 homeless animals per year. Today, the GTHS annually serves 1500 homeless animals and over 4000 people in the community. Space and parking are incredibly cramped due to rapidly expanding programs and services. Without options to expand on the current site a future home is vital in ensuring the GTHS can continue to provide essential public services to the community.
Recently it was announced that the GTHS has purchased a five-acre property on Sandford Fleming Drive in south Collingwood. The expansion plan includes a building which will feature a community room for programs with youth and older adults, walking trails for volunteer dog walkers, resources for pet owners in crisis and community-centric programming for all demographics.
Though these are five things you may not have known about the Georgian Triangle Humane Society, you can learn more about the organization on the official website – gths.ca.