Helping animals after flooding devastates B.C.

In November of last year, devastating floods hit British Columbia. Nearly 15,000 people and their companion animals were forced to evacuate their communities; others were affected by floods through road closures, veterinary office closures, and more; homes and barns were damaged and destroyed; more than 640,000 farmed animals lost their lives.

Many families suddenly found themselves unable to afford veterinary care for their beloved companion animals. As those impacted by the floods began the long journey to recover and rebuild, our province came together to support them.

Hundreds of kind people gave toward VHS’s Flood-Impacted Veterinary Assistance fund. These generous donations from people like you helped flood-impacted people ensure their beloved animal family members were safe and healthy, and helped local organizations and veterinary offices to keep their doors open to continue providing essential care for animals affected by flooding.

Here are some of the stories of the flood-affected animals who have received assistance through VHS’s veterinary assistance fund.

Greenbelt Veterinary Services

A pig roots in gravel after escaping floodwaters in Abbotsford.
During the rescue, a Greenbelt veterinarian found and helped a pig who had miraculously escaped on her own and found her way to higher ground.

Greenbelt Veterinary Services joined in the effort to rescue 6,000 dairy cows from flood waters over the span of 36 hours. Animals who had stood chest deep in water, unable to lie down for more than 36 hours were found in flooded barns as the waters receded. Many of these animals required immediate and ongoing veterinary treatment and supervision on their road back to health. Greenbelt took in animals who had been evacuated, including calves experiencing hypothermia. A gift from a generous anonymous donor enabled them to continue their vital work helping animals to overcome these devastating conditions.

Joanne’s Sanctuary

Two rescued cats, Elvis and Cleo, received veterinary care with the support of VHS donors.

The VHS also reached out to Joanne, whose sanctuary for farmed and companion animals was completely flooded. Joanne, her husband Mike, and a dedicated group of volunteers came together to rescue as many animals as possible with trailers and boats. The barn ended up six feet underwater and the house four feet. Gifts from incredible animal champions covered veterinary costs for two rescued cats, Elvis and Cleo, and provided funding to the veterinarians who work with the sanctuary’s horses, goats, and sheep.

Janine’s Equine Therapy Farm

Through the generous support of donors, Beethoven received much-needed treatment including nuclear medicine to cure his hyperthyroidism.

Janine runs an equine counselling therapy farm (pictured on page 1). When the floods hit, this safe haven for humans and animals ended up in waist-high water. Between the costly damages and emergency care for the animals, Janine quickly ate through all her savings. She reached out for help for top dog Finnegan, who had a lump on his back; Daisy the 18-year-old horse, who was experiencing lameness from the flooding; and Beethoven, a gorgeous cat with hyperthyroidism who began experiencing seizures.

Thanks to generous donations from community members, the VHS worked with Janine and veterinarians to make sure all of these loved animals got the veterinary care they needed. Since our last update, Beethoven has received much-needed radiotherapy for his hyperthyroidism!

Dian’s rescued animals

Keri has begun gaining back his lost weight after being hospitalized for 24 hours.

Dian is a longtime rescuer of animals who lost her home in the flooding, but managed to save all her animals by carefully moving them to high ground and rationing water for herself so they could have enough.

You may remember the story of Dian’s senior rescue dog Buhrmeez, who received essential support for his recently-diagnosed leukemia which meant he could live out his golden years with his loving family.

Since we shared this story, Dian’s other dog Keri frighteningly began to vomit blood and had to be hospitalized for 24 hours. Keri has begun gaining back his lost weight with the help of medication and Dian’s loving care.

Donate toward flood evacuee veterinary support


Support for flood recovery saves animals

It has been more than two weeks since the first floods hit B.C., forcing people and animals from their homes and devastating our province. The effects are still impacting guardians and their pets who live in flooded areas, some of whom have told us they will be stuck in motels well into December. 

While these past few weeks have been a time of incredible tragedy, they have also been a demonstration of the amazing power of community.

We are grateful for the outpouring of support for those impacted by the flood, and have seen amazing action from our community in offering their time, sharing resources, and donating toward our flooding support fund. Through the generosity of people like you, we have been able to help many people and animals to begin the long recovery from this crisis.

Here are some of the stories of flood-affected animals getting assistance from the Vancouver Humane Society.

1. Veterinary assistance for flood evacuees: Finley’s story; Niwe and Sherman’s story

Our Flood Evacuee Veterinary Support fund has covered expenses for flood-impacted people and their companion animals, ranging from vet-recommended pet foods to medications to urgent surgeries. One of the animals whose care was covered through the program is Finley.

5-year-old Finley started urinating blood after evacuating from her home. Her guardian Chloe immediately reached out for help getting her veterinary assistance.

The veterinarian believed Finley could be suffering from stress-related cystitis, a urinary condition. She and her entire family had been incredibly anxious since the flooding hit. With two young children and one on the way, Chloe’s family is struggling to cope with the stress of being away from home.

With help from donors, VHS has covered the cost of Finley’s care so she can begin to recover from this tragedy with her loving family.

“Thank you so much! The help has relieved so much stress,” said Finley’s guardian, Chloe.

You can assist animals like Finley by donating to the flood evacuee veterinary assistance fund. 

Other guardians have reached out for assistance with veterinary care that would help them stay with their animal family members as they looked for emergency accommodations.

“We were evacuated due to the flooding. We were able to go stay with my cousin but they have dogs too and since our dogs don’t have their shots they needed us to get shots to stay with them.  I know the SPCA was offering temporary shelter for pets, but for us pets are comfort and safety in an emergency.”

Lena was evacuated from her home with her family, including young Niwe and five-year-old Sherman. She worried she would not be able to keep her two beloved dogs with her—she knew housing them temporarily in a shelter would place added stress on all of them.

Lena was grateful to find a temporary home moving in with a cousin, but needed to get Niwe’s first shots and update Sherman’s vaccines to keep the other dogs in the home healthy.

VHS’s flood evacuee veterinary assistance fund helped Niwe and Sherman to get the vaccines they needed and stay together as a family during this stressful time.

2. Partnerships with local organizations in flood-affected areas: Beauty’s story

With the help of donations, we have partnered with local organizations working on the ground in flood-impacted areas to cover the veterinary costs of animals rescued in the floods. One of those organizations is the Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team Society (ALERT). 

When flooding began to devastate parts of B.C., ALERT mobilized their team of local volunteers to rescue and care for animals like Beauty.

Beauty was on her way from a rescue in Manitoba to a veterinarian in the Lower Mainland when she was stranded by flooding. Once the floods hit, Beauty and the other dogs traveling with her had nowhere to go. ALERT stepped in to help these 76 animals and were concerned about Beauty’s rapidly deteriorating leg injury. A volunteer triaged Beauty and found she was showing signs of sepsis, a deadly infection if not treated.

The team at ALERT and the local community rallied to make sure Beauty and her travel companions had homes to stay in while they waited for the waters to pass. Beauty spent the night with Keith, a caring local resident. As soon as they could, ALERT rushed her to a veterinarian.

Her already injured leg had to be amputated; the quick thinking of ALERT’s volunteer team helped to save her life. Beauty is recovering with an experienced medical foster. Keith, who fostered her for the night she was stranded, indicated an interest in being Beauty’s forever guardian.

3. Financial support for veterinarians: Cascade’s story

A generous donor reached out to Vancouver Humane Society to help veterinarians who are caring for animals impacted by the floods. With this financial support, we have begun distributing gifts to veterinary clinics in need who are helping with the flood assistance, including the Cascade Veterinary Clinic in Princeton.

When flooding hit Princeton, the staff were faced with the challenge of how to stay open during the crisis. The clinic was cut off from many essential resources. Still, as the only emergency clinic in a two-hour radius, they knew it was essential they stay open to help the animals.

Since the flood, the owners and staff have been working hard to keep their doors open and their clinic safe for animals in need. That has meant sourcing clean water to maintain sanitary procedures, bringing towels and laundry home to wash, using space heaters when their furnace broke down, and dedicating extra hours to help out with the clinic’s needs while also dealing with flooding in their own homes.

We were able to distribute a gift to Cascade to cover a portion of their operating costs for the week of the flood. This donation is helping them to continue offering vital assistance at a time when it is needed most.

Donate toward flood evacuee veterinary support


Peanut receives care after flooding leaves him and family trapped at home

Earlier this week, Cultus Lake was hit by flooding and landslides, completely blocking road access into or out of the area. Some households had been given evacuation orders and some people were unable to leave their homes at all.

Two of those left stranded were Sylvie and her dog, Peanut.

“I’ve never seen such destruction in Cultus Lake,” Sylvie said. “There are huge holes in the road and they are filling with water. We’ve had landslides like this here before, but I’ve never seen anything like this before in my life. The parking lot at the community hall is now a big crater!”

But being homebound would become much more troubling for Sylvie. Peanut soon injured his dewclaw, leaving it bent all the way back. Sylvie said that he seemed like he was in such pain that his eyes and ears were turning red. While she would have normally rushed him to the veterinarian, she now had no way of getting there.

“The lake now has floating wood and debris in it all around the shoreline. At first we couldn’t leave the house at all for resources because it wasn’t safe or possible to leave.”

Sylvie was finally able to get Peanut to the vet yesterday where, with help from Vancouver Humane Society’s Flood Evacuee Veterinary Support fund, he had the claw safely removed and received pain medication.

Many stories like Sylvie and Peanut’s are now emerging; we know that more pet guardians will need assistance in the coming days and weeks. Of the thousands of flood evacuees, more than half of households have pets.

In a time when people are doing their best to ensure their loved ones are safe and healthy, we are working to eliminate the financial barriers that come with unexpected veterinary costs for their animal family members.

Vancouver Humane Society’s Flood Evacuee Veterinary Support is here to help any pet guardians impacted by the flood with costs related to veterinary care, including medications and vet-recommended food that may have been left behind in the evacuation, as well as treatment for illnesses or injuries. Those needing support are asked to reach out through our online form, by email at, or by phone at 604-336-1390.

We are truly grateful for the support of our community in this time of crisis. If you are able to donate toward veterinary support for flood evacuees, we welcome gifts through the form below. All donations toward our veterinary support fund are currently being matched 100% up to $25,000 by an anonymous donor.

B.C. Flood Evacuee Veterinary Assistance