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Some humans are dogs’ best friends, especially shelter volunteers

Kristine Berey

October 2011

Choosing the images for this photo essay was almost as difficult as taking them. An animal in limbo is infinitely sad to behold and, as sentient beings, disturbingly human. The camera captures this better than the naked eye and not being able to show all the animals, or take them home for that matter, is frustrating.

Newspaper headlines exacerbate this feeling. When the largest puppy mill raid in Quebec came to light recently, leaving a small number of people coping with hundreds of maltreated dogs, we learned many of the dogs were pregnant and their numbers will soar by another hundred, to more than 600.

But there are small ways to help the animals without taking on the long-term responsibility of adoption, says Alanna Devine, executive director of the SPCA, such as donations or volunteering.

“Donations need not be only monetary. We’re always looking for fleece blankets for our animals, always looking for cat toys, which can be anything from ping-pong balls to anything you would buy in a store, or dog toys, which must be disinfectible—so no teddy bears.”

Lending a hand is also appreciated. Volunteers have a vast array of tasks they can choose from. They can use their photo skills to post pictures of animals to adopt on, they can come to play with the cats, which languish in their cages for long periods, or if volunteers are fit and strong, they can become dogwalkers.

“We always have a need for foster families,” Devine says. Some animals are too young to be adopted, recovering from a treatable illness or there are simply too many of them at the shelter. “Taking on an animal temporarily really helps the SPCA, but it’s not a permanent commitment.”

To offer help to the animals recently rescued, call the Humane Society International Canada at 514-395-2914.

To adopt, foster or volunteer at the SPCA call 514-735-2711 x 2243.



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