The Alberta SPCA is excited to be taking part in Giving Tuesday, a global day of giving, on Tuesday Dec 1, 2020 in support of charities heading into the Christmas season. We need your help for animals to stay healthy during these difficult times.
Our goal during this campaign is to raise
This year we are raising money to support animals in crisis situations in Alberta
When people are in crisis, their animals are in crisis too. The Alberta SPCA's One Family Welfare Department offers temporary care for pets so their owners can take steps to care for themselves.
Please give today!
Your donation allows us to provide the following care
Watch Kierstyn’s story and how our Pet Safekeeping Program allowed her to leave an abusive relationship
Kierstyn was a client of the Pet Safekeeping Program in 2018. She was in an abusive relationship and wanted to leave, but was told she could not bring her dog Bentlie to the shelter. With no options for placing Bentlie in care, Kierstyn remained in the home with her young daughter and her abuser.
During this time, Kierstyn’s partner used Bentlie as leverage against her. He would deny Bentlie food and prevent Bentlie from going to Kierstyn during tense moments in the relationship. He knew his neglect and abuse of Bentlie would have an emotional impact on Kierstyn.
Eventually Kierstyn learned about the Pet Safekeeping Program and that we would care for Bentlie while she went to a women’s shelter. Within days Kierstyn, her daughter and Bentlie were out of the house. Bentlie stayed in the Pet Safekeeping program for about one month while Kierstyn worked to establish a new home and a new life.
The young family is now doing well and are on the road to recovery. Kierstyn credits the Pets Safekeeping Program for giving her the ability to break free from her relationship and take steps to start her life over free from abuse.
Sadly, Kierstyn’s story is not unique. Research shows two out of three survivors of family violence with pets admit to remaining in the relationship due to concerns their pets will be harmed.
Typical Program Expenses
$10 – One night of boarding for a cat
$20 – One night of boarding for a dog
$25 – Home away from home care package for cat/dog
$50 – Food for one cat or dog for one month in program
$100 – Spay/neuter for pet in care
$200 – Full medical exam, vaccines and spay/neuter for pet in care
The One Family Welfare Department receives hundreds of inquiries each year. Below are the totals for the department for the first 9 months of 2020.
675 – Total calls to One Family Welfare Dept.
81 – Clients accepted into OFW programs
143 – Animals accepted into programs
One month of care in the Pet Safekeeping Program
One month of care in the Crisis Care Program
Or watch our video and hear from One Family Welfare clients and stakeholders
Roger and his 14-year-old cat had been living under a tarp for several weeks without adequate protection from the heat and rain when our One Family Welfare staff became aware of his situation. Roger lost his job due to changes in the economy and eventually overstayed his welcome with family and friends as he couch-surfed. He refused to apply for government assistance because he had always been independent and felt there were those who needed it more. Roger survived for many months living off high interest credit cards he had obtained while working full-time. This left Roger in a situation where it became impossible for him to find his way out of debt without assistance. Eventually, with the support of our One Family Welfare staff, Roger’s cat was placed in our Crisis Care Program while he worked on finding stability. The One Family Welfare team referred Roger to a housing agency to help him find a new home for himself and his cat.
Roger faced many challenges in obtaining housing amidst the COVID-19 outbreak in the spring and summer of 2020. There was an increase in individuals across Alberta who needed more affordable housing while at the same time there was a decrease in affordable units on the rental market. The One Family Welfare department saw numerous clients waiting much longer than typical to find appropriate housing. Clients like Roger with bad credit were now waiting months instead of weeks to find housing they could qualify for. The One Family Welfare team was able to adapt to this need and kept Roger’s cat safe and happy until housing was eventually found. Roger told our One Family Welfare staff, “First I lost my job, then I lost my credit rating and my vehicle, then I lost friends and I lost my mother to leukemia. Because of you, I didn’t lose my boy too.”
Ken and Charlie's Story
Our One Family Welfare department received a call from a very concerned daughter. Her father Ken had been hospitalized due to quickly advancing dementia. Ken owned a cat named Charlie who was very important to him. Caring for his cat and spending time with her was one of the only things in his life that was not impacted by his diagnosis. Ken’s daughter was not sure if her father would be able to live independently any longer, or where he would be living if that were the case. The One Family Welfare team admitted Charlie into our Crisis Care Program while medical professionals and the family decided what would be best for Ken.
Ken’s hospital stay ended up being much longer than anticipated. While in hospital Ken was diagnosed with Covid-19 as well. While fighting the deadly virus and managing the advancing dementia, Ken always managed to ask, “how’s Charlie?” while speaking with his daughter. This did not surprised the One Family Welfare staff. Pets are a constant companion for their owners and often their care and well-being is the main priority for their owners when dealing with stressful situations. This was also not the first time One Family Welfare staff had a client with dementia remember their cat more than anything else. Charlie stayed in our program while we waited to hear about Ken’s future. Ken survived COVID-19 and once recovered, it was decided he would need to move into an assisted living facility. Unfortunately Charlie would not be able to live there with him.
Our One Family Welfare staff receive a number of surrenders each year through our programs. We understand the importance of pets to the family and the emotional toll when families are not able to re-unite with their animals. A very important aspect of our program is caring for these pets and supporting the clients through crisis so they are able to make this decision reasonably rather than out of necessity during a time of great stress.
Charlie stayed with us until she was placed with one of our partner sheltering organizations for adoption. We are happy to report she joined a new family shortly after being put up for adoption.