Long-term com­mit­ment

Volunteers at SPCA urges care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore tak­ing pets home

The Beacon (Gander) - - Front page - BY CLARENCE NGOH clarence.ngoh@gan­der­bea­con.ca

Volunteers at SPCA urges care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion be­fore tak­ing pets home.

GANDER, NL – A pair of eyes stare in­tently out the win­dow, cu­ri­ous about what is go­ing out­side.

The cat loses at­ten­tion grad­u­ally, set­tles to curl its head around its body on the win­dow sill, purrs softly and closes its eyes.

Many more fe­lines are held in SPCA Gander. A few have the priv­i­lege of roam­ing out­side the two rooms where they are kept.

Judy Collins, a vol­un­teer for 10 years, says there are close to 40 cats wait­ing to be adopted. ‘We do not know why there are so many aban­doned.”

Collins re­mem­bers grow­ing up with res­cued an­i­mals from a young age. She re­cently added a young kit­ten to the two dogs and two cats in the fam­ily.

“I had to save his life – he was on the verge of dy­ing. It was a su­per busy day at the SPCA and this lit­tle kit­ten was not get­ting any at­ten­tion, so I started sy­ringe feed­ing him and took him home,” Collins said.

Ni­cole Sande has vol­un­teered with the SPCA since 2002. She re­calls when she first started, she was not able to care for a dog be­cause of col­lege com­mit­ments.

But, Sande said, “I needed some an­i­mal love and be­gan to take the dogs out for walks at the SPCA. That is how I started.”

As her com­mit­ments al­lowed her to care for a dog of her own, Sande adopted Mag­gie, a Labrador retriever. She said Mag­gie was “one of the worst abuse cases the shel­ter had at that point.”

She said Mag­gie was part of a back­yard breed­ing op­er­a­tion with one male and five fe­males. “Mag­gie was six years old, not house trained, and was kept in the cage out­doors and not let out. It was a rough scene.”

In ad­di­tion to car­ing for aban­doned pets, there are other ben­e­fits to own­ing one.

Collins said she walks seven to 12 kilo­me­tres ev­ery day to keep her dog ac­tive. In ad­di­tion, she said rais­ing an­i­mals has taught her chil­dren re­spon­si­bil­ity.

Sande agrees with Collins, and adds that the un­con­di­tional love an­i­mals give is sec­ond to none.

“You can have the worst or best day of your life, and your dog or cat will be look­ing at you, and say ‘Oh, you’re home’ – it’s the best thing ever!”

Sande and Collins cau­tion those who wish to take an­i­mals home to care­fully con­sider the de­ci­sion.

“Any pet brought into the house has to be a fam­ily de­ci­sion – not a sur­prise for a child be­cause the fam­ily takes care of the an­i­mal,” said Sande. “The prob­lem is if an an­i­mal comes in as a birth­day or Christ­mas gift and the an­i­mal be­comes a bur­den ( for one per­son), it ends up aban­doned or at the shel­ter.”

Collins added, “If you are get­ting an an­i­mal, you have to re­al­ize they are yours for their whole life, or should be. Don’t get it if you are go­ing to throw it out, or have it for a year.”

CLARENCE NGOH/ THE BEA­CON

Ni­cole Sande with her two res­cue dogs, Ru­fus and Tucker. Sande has been vol­un­teer­ing at the Gander SPCA since 2002. She has a busy lifestyle with two young chil­dren, Elenor (front) and Mag­nus, but says you can make ar­range­ments when you have an­i­mals and put money aside for an­i­mal ex­penses to be bet­ter pre­pared.

CLARENCE NGOH/ THE BEA­CON

Mandy Green with Yoda, a shep­herd mix. Mandy started vol­un­teer­ing at the Gander SPCA three years ago by tak­ing dogs out for walks and giv­ing them at­ten­tion. The SPCA is look­ing for volunteers to help with the an­i­mals by walk­ing dogs and spend­ing time with the cats.

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