If you have been considering adopting a furry friend, the holiday season may be the perfect time to do so.
There are dogs, cats and other animals at the Saskatoon SPCA in need of permanent homes. Fortunately, the shelter tends to see an increase in adoption numbers at Christmas, said public relations co-ordinator Cathy Brin.
“We see really great, amazing adoptions happening around the Christmas season – you know, when people have a little bit more time to spend at home,” she said.
“A lot of people do decide to adopt around the holidays, and it’s so great to see all of that happening around this time of year.”
For example, during Brin’s first year at the shelter in 2014, all of the dog rooms were empty.
“We had no dogs left for adoption because they’d all found happy homes for the holidays, which is really sweet.”
No doubt the organization is hoping that the adoption trend continues this year, as 2016 has seen a record number of animals come into the shelter. As of Nov. 22, the SPCA had adopted out 1,762 animals, reunited 686 animals with their rightful owners and placed 407 animals in foster care.
The population of young animals also rose substantially this year, with a 63 per cent increase in kittens arriving at the shelter and a 37 per cent increase in puppies. However, despite the record-high numbers, the SPCA’s adoptions are still up from last year.
“It’s been an incredibly busy year for our cat population,” said Brin. “We’ve seen so many kittens and adult cats making their way into the shelter, so it’s really important to encourage people to remember to spay and neuter your animals. It’s really the only way to get ahead of that pet overpopulation issue.”
Brin said the need remains “incredibly high” at the SPCA, and donations make a difference. Some of the shelter’s most-wanted items include wet cat food, dry puppy food, non-clumping cat litter and dog and cat toys.
“We’re very reliant on donations as we don’t get government funding. So donations around Christmastime make a huge, huge difference for animals in our community,” she said.
Brin noted that foster homes have also been a big help this year, particularly in caring for young kittens that are not yet ready for adoption. As well, the shelter has been running adoption drives and “adopting cats out at a significantly reduced adoption rate or for free, just in an effort to find as many happy homes as we can.”
To raise funds, the shelter organizes several initiatives at this time of year. The SPCA’s Christmas stocking campaign is one of the organization’s favourite fundraisers during the holiday season, said Brin. Christmas stockings are filled with a variety of items for pets and pet owners — including balls, toys, clothing items, magazines and more — and are sold for $20 each at the shelter as well as at participating veterinary clinics throughout Saskatoon.
“They’re all donated and sponsored items in the stocking, so there’s actually no cost on the shelter,” said Brin.
“It’s all donated items that we have volunteer groups come in and repackage for us, and then we sell them. They sell for $20, so that’s a straight profit for the shelter — so all of the proceeds from that come right back to animals in need in the shelter.”
Tickets are also available for the SPCA’s Christmas lottery, with the draws set to begin on Dec. 1. Lottery participants can win more than once, since there are 31 daily draws and all winning tickets are returned to the draw drum.
“All proceeds are coming right back to the shelter, and it’s a great way to kind of participate with your local humane society at this time of year,” Brin said.
The SPCA is also raising funds with a 2017 calendar that features photos of a rescue kitten named Marshall. Produced by Peridot Rain Photography, the calendars sell for $20 each.
While the SPCA encourages people to adopt animals at any time of the year, the shelter doesn’t allow people to purchase animals as gifts for other people.
“We really like to see this be made as a family decision to adopt, and of course we want these to be life-long matches,” Brin said.
She advises that everyone in the family be ready for a life-long commitment with the animal, and to do research about what kind type of animal would be the best fit.
In addition to cats and dogs, the shelter currently has “exotics” available for adoption, such as guinea pigs and bunnies. The SPCA has also had parrots, budgies, tarantulas, snakes, turtles and other animals come into the shelter in the past, Brin said.
“We never know what we’re going to get, and we just do the best that we can with the animals that come to us. We just try and find happy homes for as many as them as we possibly can.”
Animals are adopted after they are spayed or neutered, microchipped, dewormed, vaccinated and up-to-date on any medical needs they may have. For more information, visit www.saskatoonspca.com, email info@saskatoonSPCA.com or call 306-374-7387.
The Saskatoon SPCA Auxiliary is also inviting the public to attend the Christmas for the Animals Open House on Dec. 4 from noon to 4 p.m. at the shelter. Pat Dubois from 92.9 The Bull will be live at the open house inviting people to “Cram the Van” with donations of canned cat food, dry puppy and kitten kibble and cat and dog toys.