And what have you done. (click for a lovely video.) Looking back at 2011, I am proud of what STDOA has done. It has been a hard year here, with plant closures and the world economic debacle. A deluge of abandoned pets reflects that. It’s not just a local problem. QMI columnist Anthony Furey wrote about “Christmas animal abandonment” at Ottawa shelters.
It was last Christmas Eve that I put the first Caring Pet Cupboard blue donation bins in local businesses. In one year, we have collected 5,439 lbs of kibble in 11 bins and another 4,355 pounds from Darford Pet Foods and Royal Canin. All of it, plus hundreds of cans and treats, has been distributed to people who need help feeding their pets.
But the pound and rescue groups are overwhelmed with unwanted animals. The need to pool resources to deal with the staggering numbers of animals led to the formation of the Animal Coalition, of which STDOA is a member. The Rogers telethon we all hosted raised nearly $6,000. Our thanks to all who contributed.
City Council struck a committee this year to deal with animal welfare. City staff and volunteer rescue groups sit on it. Joe Spencer represents STDOA. Hours at the pound have been extended and the website has been redesigned in order to make getting pets home easier. Treatment of incoming animals, particularly emergency vet care for sick or injured animals, has been discussed and steps taken to have basic care done. There’s still a long way to go, but it’s improved.
The creation of the City’s Animal Welfare Committee and the Caring Pet Cupboard are due, in large part, to two dogs. In fall 2010, Bear was abandoned at Dalewood and Bosco was left tied to the St. Thomas pound fence. Their plight struck a chord for all of us. They have happy endings to their stories, both now with new homes.
Other dogs haven’t been so lucky. Myles, a dog at the pound who needed help to trust people, was euthanized. A sick small dog just two nights ago died from unknown causes: unknown because vet care was not authorized. I hope their deaths serve as a reminder that care is owed to all creatures. Donations are welcome for Comet, a pound dog now in the care of All Breed Canine Rescue, who is presently getting treatment.
Through our new “subsidiary” Charity Cat, STDOA is now involved with homeless cats. When our Caring Pet Cupboard has excess food, we take it to rescue groups and cat caretakers. In getting to know those dedicated people, we found out their other needs. For feral cats, it’s money for spaying/neutering and vaccinations. While raising money for that, one member inadvertently became a cat caretaker. Cats were dumped, literally, on her doorstep. She’s looking after them and seeking new homes for lovely cats and kittens. Solved the problem of unwanted cats for some people and gave her the problem instead.
STDOA had the sorrow of the deaths of our first president, Luanne Demers, and friend and supporter, Gord Burt. With money given us by their families, we have started a fund for the purchase of a memorial bench to be placed midway on the main path in the dog park. Contributions are welcome. Happy Holidays to all.