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The Edmonton Humane Society

January 1st, 2014

By: Michelle Dixon

 

Heading to the Edmonton Humane Society for the first time, I'm not sure what to expect. Turning right off 170th Street onto 137th Avenue I see a large, brightly lit building ahead. As I get closer, a large sign welcomes me to the Chappelle Centre for Animal Care, home of the Edmonton Humane Society.       

Humane Society Fund Development Manager, Jocelyn Brulotte, is my tour guide for the evening. Our first stop is the adoption centre. Here you will find the cats housed in homey 'life rooms' with toys, cozy beds, and even a fountain for those who've been here the longest. The dogs and puppies occupy large life rooms too, with large windows. They also get at least one outside group play time every day and individual walks as needed.

Smaller companion animals such as bunnies and hamsters, as well as the more exotic pets like reptiles and hedgehogs, are less accessible due to their more fragile temperaments. But for those who are looking to adopt such a companion, staff will bring them out for a cuddle. Blankets, beds, toys and natural light are standard issue for all the animals, and through the efforts of the staff and many volunteers, receive as much human interaction as possible.

"It can take as long as eight months for some of our animals to be adopted, so we try to enrich their lives in as many ways as possible," says Brulotte. "And we never euthanize animals due to space issues. We haven't had to do that in more than 10 years." She goes on to say, "We shelter nearly 13,000 animals every year, many of them coming to us through the City of Edmonton’s Animal Care and Control Centre, who pick up strays from around the city." Animal Care and Control is just one way animals arrive at the shelter. Other ways are through owners who no longer want or can no longer care for their pet, or from communities outside of Edmonton where they've been found as strays or abandoned and brought in by concerned citizens.

Every animal who comes into the shelter is given a full medical exam, vaccinated, spayed or neutered (if they haven’t been already), and assessed by trained animal behaviourists. Once an animal has been deemed ready for adoption, it will then be moved to the adoption floor. With at times as many as 700 animals in the building, it takes a lot of time and money to feed and care for them.  So how can you help? The number one way, says Brulotte with a big smile, is to adopt an animal!  "That's what we're here for, to match up homeless animals with owners who will make them a member of their family."

The Edmonton Humane Society is a non-profit organization, so donations are always welcome.  Whether given as a one-time or monthly gift, all cash donations are put to good use. Check out the Edmonton Humane Society’s online wish list to donate food, cat litter or a variety of other necessities.

If you have time to spare, the shelter relies on volunteers to a large extent.  From dog walking to fostering animals in your home, there are many ways you can get involved.

Help yourself while you help the shelter: take advantage of the many services the Humane Society has to offer:

 

  • Self-serve pet wash, doggy daycare, dog behaviour and agility classes (group and private), and a membership fenced off-leash area for your canine friends.
  • Free phone and online pet behaviour advice (phone 780-491-3521 or edmontonhumanesociety.com).
  • Classes on topics from cat aggression to getting your pet ready for a new baby.
  • Bingo's Pet Shop offers competitive pricing on food, bedding, toys, treats, and even hard-to-find specialty products.
  • Subsidized spay/neuter surgeries for low-income families.

 

Activities for children:

 

  • Summer and school break day camps
  • Muttley Crew offers hands-on learning most Wednesdays during the school year for children grades three to eight
  • Birthday party packages

Check out the Edmonton Humane Society website for more information on all they have to offer at edmontonhumanesociety.com, or drop by for a visit (their hours are available on-line), or call (780) 471-1774.

A former podcasting co-host with 200 episodes under her belt, Michelle Dixon is an Edmonton mother of two who spends the majority of her time at the dance studio and off-leash park.   An avid reader and small business owner, Michelle also thrives on her daily dose of social media and iPad apps. 

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