Animal funds

Whistler Animal Shelter Receives Fewer Pet Requests

The Whistler Animal Shelter is currently seeking foster homes, including several critical care cases

If you are one of whistling animals In abundance‘s (WAG) thousands of loyal Instagram followers, you may have noticed a post earlier this month featuring a fuzzy, tan-colored, floppy-eared pup staring through the screen.

“Paloma is STILL looking for her forever home,” the WAG staff wrote in the caption, adding, “We can’t believe that big chonker is still here.”

The shelter had announced that it would start accepting applications for the 10-week-old mastiff mix and its sibling, Cream Puff, about a month prior. Historically, the shelter hasn’t needed to promote the puppies it cares for, explained Mallory Jensen, WAG’s adoption coordinator.

“There are [been] often we post an ‘available for adoption’ message and then two days later applications are closed because we’re so overwhelmed,” she said.

Although summers are generally a slower time for cat adoptions, “I would say most puppies are gone within two weeks of posting,” Jensen added.

Cream Puff and Paloma have since been adopted into their perfectly matched families, but in both cases, these adopters were the only applicants to go through the process to completion. The number of pet adoptions has jumped across British Columbia during the pandemic, but as restrictions ease and many people’s lives return to some semblance of normality, the pendulum has swung back into the other direction.

“It’s definitely been a very slow summer for adoptions,” Jensen said. “We have noticed that people are much more concerned about sending applications. Even a lot of people are just on vacation right now – that’s a big part of it, it’s a lot of travel.

This is a trend that shelters across the province are experiencing. Since the start of the pandemic, “when a puppy was given to us, we received multiple requests – sometimes as many as 100 – within 24 hours,” said Lorie Chortyk, chief communications officer for the BC SPCA, in an 11 august. Press release. “People were very eager to adopt, and that interest in adoption has remained strong until now.”

That interest abruptly dried up earlier this summer, leaving more than 1,500 animals in the care of the BC SPCA – “about 700 in our shelters and the rest in volunteer foster homes,” added Chortyk.

In Whistler, WAG is currently caring for eight dogs and six cats, about half of which are critical care cases dealing with ongoing health issues or preparing for major surgeries. The independent nonprofit is as much a shelter as it is a rehabilitation center, with a strong emphasis on critical, compassionate care for animals that some other organizations might not even accept.

Along with the slowdown in applicants, WAG has also struggled to find available foster homes, Jensen said, which limits the number of animals the shelter can accommodate in its care.

This is especially problematic when WAG has many critical care cases requiring more staff attention. With a small team of seven, responsible for paperwork and adoptions as well as animal care management, there isn’t much time in the day. Animals also tend to recover better in quiet, comfortable foster homes than in shelters.

WAG is currently looking for foster homes across the hall willing to take animals in, preferably long-term, although the shelter is flexible with deadlines. WAG also provides all the necessary supplies for its adoptive volunteers, from food to bandages, and “we are always there for them for questions or support,” Jensen said.

The adoption coordinator said WAG staff are “so grateful” for their current foster families, because “fostering a sick or recovering animal isn’t just basic care, it’s doing counter – checks; it is administering drugs; he does passive range of motion; bandage changes,” she explained. “These people are doing amazing things, we just see that they are few and far between”

Having the space provided by foster families is all the more critical given the number of requests WAG staff have received recently to accept animals into their care. While Chortyk said the BC SPCA has not seen a significant increase in the number of abandoned pets as a result of the pandemic as a whole, the same cannot be said for WAG, explained jensen.

“We’ve been getting calls for surrender all summer,” she said. “I got a call back from Alberta, got one a few weeks ago from Prince George so there is a huge, huge waiting list especially for animals with issues behavioral, reactive or possibly suffering from separation anxiety or food aggression. Unfortunately, all these dogs are waiting because we cannot accommodate any more. »

Priority for housing space is given to animals in the Sea to Sky corridor, and those currently in distress or neglect.

In June, the director of the Pemberton Animal Wellbeing Society (PAWS), Anna Scott, said prick the shelter has also seen an increase in discount requests.

Especially, for pets “around that one-and-a-half-year-old, two-year-old age group that people adopted during the pandemic when they were home with all the weather in the world and realizing now that the animals are a big commitment and not no longer being able to provide the care for them,” Scott said at the time. WAG noticed a similar trend in the age of surrendered animals, Jensen agreed.

A benefit of the relaxed restrictions for WAG? The ability to return to the resort for fundraising events and other community initiatives, Jensen said, such as the Aug. 16 Pups and Pints ​​event at Coast Mountain Brewing and the dog dock jumping contest during Arts Whistler’s Art on the Lake event.

If you are looking for a way to help animals currently in WAG’s care but are unable to foster or adopt them at this time, consider donating to WAG. intensive care fund.