The Estevan Humane Society’s animal shelter continues to be inundated with a plethora of challenges, but they are also celebrating a couple of good news stories this week.
Jane Howard, a society board member, speaking on behalf of the society and its president Terry Williams, said the shelter’s staff and volunteers were able to attack the upcoming fall and winter season with some renewed vigour following the adoption of a couple of their long-term canine residents.
“We called him Ghost, for obvious reasons, and others called him the Littlest Hobo, from that old television series because he wandered around our city for over a year and evaded capture. He is a pretty clever pooch,” said Howard.
Ghost was eventually nabbed and rescued from a pretty taxing and potential short life cycle and brought into the shelter.
“He has now been adopted by a local family after nearly two years of adjustment,” said Howard. “He has always been friendly, that was never an issue. He is good with kids too, but he had it built into him that he felt he needed to be somewhere else,” she explained. “He escaped from a foster family and had to be relocated and resettled.”
During his sojourn with the temporary family, they learned that he turned very skittish and frightened every time he heard a diesel truck motor start up.
“So we suppose there was probably something of that in his background we’ll never know about,” she said.
But the friendly pooch with issues, was carefully handled and brought about slowly so that he no longer has a tendency to wander away. He’s very happy in his new home with kids to play with after two years in the shelter.
The other tale of happy tails is Roxy, who had also been in the shelter for nearly two full years.
“She came to us following an event at the Canada and U.S. border crossing. The officials believe she was probably used as a drug den dog, trained to be aggressive. So she has undergone about two years of social adjustments with a local volunteer who has worked tirelessly with her. She’s a real wonderful pet now. But you can see she’s from the pit bull family and the bull cross breeds have that pre-determined cross to bear among the public, so it could have been a different story,” Howard said. But the shelter has a no-euthanasia policy and Roxy has been socialized so that she behaves spectacularly in public and with her adopted family.
“It’s interesting how things like this can improve the morale among the staff and volunteers here,” said Howard, speaking to the Mercury from the shelter where she was spending some of her own volunteer time. The patience and hard work over a long stretch of time, paid off.
Howard said the local shelter works in concert with rescue groups in Saskatoon and Regina to deal with their always large cat and kitten population. They currently have a few litters of kittens in their care and some have even found their way to British Columbia where there is a demand for felines. Fifteen of them were sent there recently and were immediately adopted. That’s a good news story too since a few of the cats had spent more than a year in the shelter.
“So there are a few wins for us and we’d like the public to know about them,” she added.
The dog population at the shelter is down about 50 per cent thanks to inter-shelter movements and local adoptions.
Howard said the communication among shelters across the province, is better than ever which has allowed them to find homes for more than 60 cats within the past year, mostly through Regina’s shelter where they have a larger audience and take-up rate.
“The staff here put in long days just feeding and cleaning along with volunteer help. There are some orphan kittens that need continual care and special milk we have to ship in. It’s time consuming and a strain on resources and when you have five or six arriving all at once, it’s a challenge and there is never enough money, even with some generous donations. The formula we need for the kittens comes in around $200 a month. We’d love to have a mother cat take on a few kittens.”
On the volunteer front, Howard said help is always welcomed, even if it means folding laundry or doing some light grounds keeping. “They’re not all grunt jobs,” she said with a laugh. “Check on your Pokemon Go stops and walk a dog while you’re at it.”
Veterinarian costs can also mount up, especially if the animals need to be spayed or neutered of if they arrive with injuries or are sick. A lot of cats arrive with respiratory issues or urinary blockages that require treatment.
“Anything and everything is welcomed. For instance, right now we need a replenishment of some non-clumping cat litter. It never ends, but those good news stories sure help all of us to keep on going,” Howard said.