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Animal champions make a difference at Because They Matter

Loretta, who spends her days outside on the Downtown Eastside, has been looking after her sister’s dog Beans while she has been ill in the hospital. She wanted to do something nice for her sister when she is reunited with her beloved dog, but she couldn’t afford a gift. Luckily, VHS was offering free pet supplies in Pigeon Park for our Because They Matter event this weekend. Loretta dropped by VHS’s table and picked up a better-fitting harness and collar for Beans.

Loretta is just one of the hundreds of people VHS staff and volunteers connected with at our first-ever Because They Matter fundraising and outreach event.

During the event, staff and volunteers handed out harnesses, leashes, collars, blankets, toys, water bowls, plant-based dog treats, and resources for veterinary assistance to happy animals and grateful guardians who spend their days on the streets of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

You can see some of the happy recipients of these care items in the photos below.

Participants also raised more than $10,000 for vital animal protection efforts in the weeks leading up to the event. We are now more than 75% of the way to our goal of $13,000!

We would like to thank the amazing participants, donors, and sponsors who made this event possible, including local businesses:

  • Discover Dogs
  • Good Boy Collective
  • The Cat and Dog Shop
  • The Pet Shop Club
  • The Raw Connoisseurs

If you have not yet had a chance to support this event, you can still donate toward VHS’s vital animal protection efforts below. Thank you for helping to build a kinder world for animals!

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Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society program helps to prevent homelessness for women and pets

VANCOUVER, July 22, 2021 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is partnering with women’s support agencies to break down housing barriers for women with pets through the unique Helping Women and Pets in Crisis program.

“It is difficult finding places that allow pets,” says Mariam, a client of the program whose name has been changed for privacy, “Especially with non-refundable pet deposits which take away the limited income I have per month.” Mariam’s family is familiar with this struggle; her sister has already given up a cat “because she couldn’t afford anywhere that would allow a pet to live with her.”

Currently, the lack of pet-friendly housing has a huge impact on people experiencing homelessness and survivors of domestic violence. About one in ten people experiencing homelessness have pets, and many affirm that they would never enter a shelter if they could not bring their pet with them. Pets and their guardians form strong bonds that aid each other’s mental wellbeing; living with a pet has been proven to have medical, emotional, and mental health benefits.

Likewise, many women experiencing domestic abuse have stayed in an abusive relationship longer than they felt comfortable out of concern for their pets. This is a serious welfare concern for women as well as animals, since abusers will often threaten or harm their victim’s animal as a form of intimidation and control.

An individual with a low income can also face challenges when their pet has a medical crisis. “The vet bills are the toughest, you never know if they’re going to get sick or not. How are you going to pay your other bills when the vet bills are so high?” says Mariam.

When Mariam’s cat got sick, she says, “We spent our rent money to get him medicine in the hospital to prevent him from suffering. I accepted that I would have to go without some basic needs and put off rent for a couple of months to catch up financially.”

The Helping Women and Pets in Crisis program covered part of Mariam’s urgent veterinary costs so that she did not need to shoulder the financial burden alone. “That took away the worry about being able to afford the next couple of months, knowing we won’t have to struggle for a while.”

The program recently received a generous grant of $10,200 from the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority. It is also funded in part by a $9,000 grant from North Shore Community Foundation and a $30,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® of Canada. “Helping vulnerable pet parents and their pets stay healthy and together is something we are committed to,” said Dani LaGiglia, community grants manager at PetSmart Charities of Canada. “With this funding, we hope more women will not have to make a choice between their safety and that of a beloved pet.”

VHS is hoping to grow this project beyond the grant funds and is seeking compassionate donors to support this work. If you would like to contribute to this valuable program, or if you are a woman in crisis seeking support for yourself and your pet, you can learn more on the Vancouver Humane Society website.

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For further information: Contact Amy Morris: 604-416-2901

RELATED LINKS

https://vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/helping-women-and-pets-in-crisis/ https://vancouverhumanesociety.bc.ca/

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VHS is helping women and pets in crisis

Accessing housing when you have a pet is difficult. Accessing housing when you are a single woman with a pet and a limited income is nearly impossible. VHS’s Helping Women and Pets in Crisis program aims to change that. VHS is working in partnership with shelters and transition houses to break down housing barriers for women with pets and to assist with necessary veterinary costs. Partnerships with agencies like North Shore Crisis Services (NSCS) will ensure these supports are available to women who are fleeing domestic violence and in otherwise vulnerable situations.

Currently, individuals facing a period of low or no income can face major barriers accessing veterinary care. Many are forced to choose between treating their beloved pet’s medical emergency and affording their own necessities. This was the case for Mariam, who reached out to VHS after her cat Odin became ill. “We spent our rent money to get him medicine in the hospital to prevent him from suffering. I accepted that I would have to go without some basic needs and put off rent for a couple of months to catch up financially.”

Thanks to you, the Helping Women and Pets in Crisis program covered part of Mariam’s urgent veterinary costs so that she could access care for Odin and maintain her family’s housing. You can learn more or donate to this valuable program here.

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Media Release

New report shows that animal services can help more animals through policy and practice changes

VANCOUVER – A new report developed by the Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) aims to bring animal services into the conversation about equity in order to improve outcomes for animals, their guardians, and animal services workers.

People from all backgrounds enjoy the companionship and mental health benefits of animals, but people who are placed-at-risk—those experiencing poverty or systemic discrimination, who are often at a higher risk of dealing with past traumas—can face barriers in caring for their pets. The report, called “Helping people and animals together”, features interviews with people who have faced negative experiences accessing animal services such as animal rescue, sheltering, or bylaw.

One participant featured in the report was a survivor of domestic violence who had attempted to surrender their cat for fear of the cat’s safety. The participant was prohibited by their partner from carrying money and did not have the fee required to transfer the cat into a shelter. “The [worker] was very insistent that from then on I will never be able to adopt another animal,” they said, “and honestly it broke my heart”.

Animal services agencies have a unique opportunity to address the barriers people face in caring for their pets and end the cycle of trauma for both animals and their guardians. The report lays out strategies rooted in trauma-informed and culturally safe approaches that agencies can employ.

In particular, the report highlights an approach that builds connections with people and communities and helps them to access resources for their animals. This outreach-based approach offers a more permanent solution than the current system of surrenders and seizures, which breaks up the human-animal bond and protects a single animal while putting future animals at risk. It offers an opportunity to create a more supportive framework in the overburdened and underfunded animal services sector, where staff are at a high risk of burnout and compassion fatigue.

In making suggestions for improvement, the report also features interviews with workers in the animal services sector and people working in sectors that already use a trauma-informed approach, like child protection and social work.

Animal services workers and anyone interested in human and animal welfare can read the full report about “taking a trauma-informed, culturally safe approach towards assisting placed-at-risk people with addressing animal neglect” on the Vancouver Humane Society website.

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For further information: Amy Morris: 604-416-2901

Read the original media release on NewsWire.ca.

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Max needed surgery

Max recently developed a lump on the back of his neck. When the lump broke open and wouldn’t stop seeping, his owner Margaret rushed him to the vet. Margaret was told that Max would need to be anesthetized so they could remove the lump, and also another lump which they discovered under his chin.

Max has been with his loving owner Margaret since 2013. He has been her shadow ever since.

We are connected like E.T. and Elliott. He means the world to me and my family. He lays on our furniture and spreads his love one hair at a time. My house looks like a snow globe because of his white fur!

Margaret, Max’s owner

A single mom on low income, Margaret knew she wouldn’t be able to afford his costly veterinary procedure.

It breaks our hearts to see him like this. Max has brought a lot of love to our home. He’s been there for all of us in so many ways. We just want his pain to go away.

Thankfully, the McVitie Fund is there to help in these difficult circumstances. The McVitie Fund relies entirely on the generosity of VHS’s supporters. 

Could you make a donation towards our McVitie Fund to help Max? 

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Media Release

New project launched to help homeless women and their pets

Vancouver – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) has joined with the North Shore Crisis Services Society (NSCSS) to launch the first partnership of its kind in a project designed to help women and pets in crisis.

The project, funded in part by a $30,000 grant from PetSmart Charities® of Canada and a $9,000 grant from North Shore Community Foundation, will help homeless and loosely housed women who face barriers to accessing housing and support because they have pets. Many support facilities do not have the knowledge or capacity to address the animal health issues that come with housing pets.

The project will provide funding for preventative and urgent veterinary costs for pets, ensuring they are in good health and not a risk to human health. This could include medical treatments; flea, tick and deworming treatment; vaccinations and health checks.

“Women with companion animals have more difficulty finding housing,” said VHS executive director Amy Morris. “By ensuring their pets are in good health this project will allow homeless women to meet the requirements of housing and support social service agencies with concerns about taking in animals.”

Morris said that, under the partnership, NSCSS’s eligible clients would be able to apply to VHS for funding to pay for veterinary care and other support for their pets. VHS expects the project will add more partners in the coming months, offering more help to homeless women and their animals.

Laura Reynolds, Executive Director at NSCSS said: “North Shore Crisis Services Society provides safe and secure housing to abused women and their children. Pets can often be used as a means of control by an abusive partner, and we are grateful for this opportunity to partner with VHS to enhance our support for women, their children and their pets.”

“Far too often women living in unsafe situations face barriers when searching for pet-friendly transitional housing,” said Dani LaGiglia, regional relationship manager at PetSmart Charities of Canada. “We are proud to support these efforts that ensure women and pets in Vancouver can transition to safety together.”

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Vancouver council votes in favour of the human-animal bond

The impacts of Covid-19 on mental health, and the demonstrated positive impact of companion animals, led to a renewed call to Vancouver City Council to support an end to ‘no pets’ clauses in rental contracts.

The Vancouver Humane Society wrote a letter on October 5 to council, encouraging them to advocate for companion animals, noting that in Ontario the legislation is better worded.

The letter highlights that no pet clauses, as well as clauses that restrict weight, height, and breed, are arbitrary and unnecessary. Referencing Ontario, it also acknowledges the importance of a process for landlords to address issues related to aggression, noise, and allergies, should they arise.

On Thursday, October 15, 2020, Vancouver City Council voted unanimously to take two actions:

  1. To advocate for the province to end the prohibition of “no pets” clauses in rental contracts.
  2. For staff to look into what the city can do to curb landlords’ right to refuse rental on the basis of pet ownership.
Pets may finally be able to rest easy if action is taken by the Province as a result of the City of Vancouver’s motion

We congratulate the City of Vancouver for this progressive action and look forward to engaging with them to ensure safe homes for all citizens.

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Daphne’s lucky to be alive

Daphne is precious member of her family.  Her guardian Misty, a single mom, says Daphne loves to cuddle with her six-year-old son, who has a sensory disorder. She’s important to everyone in the family, and a loving dog who loves to entertain everyone with her antics.

She is a great dog, very brave. She is friends with all who know her. I love her like my child and the kids love her so much. I feel lucky to have had this dog in my life for seven years.

Misty, Daphne’s loving owner

Recently, Daphne escaped her backyard, pushing through a loose board in the fence and running out on the road.  She was hit by a car, badly injuring her leg. She required urgent and expensive surgery, but her guardian Misty didn’t have the funds to cover the cost. 

She was in bad shape and we were told that without urgent surgery she’d only have a few days to live.

Fortunately, VHS was able to step in and provide financial assistance through the McVitie Fund, ensuring that Daphne got the treatment she needed.

Could you help today by making a donation to help cover the cost of Daphne’s medical bills?

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Sweetheart Salem

Nicky adopted Salem 3 years ago, after seeing a photo of him in a nearby shelter. She took her time getting to know him and getting him to trust her before eventually adopting him.

I wanted to make sure that he was going to pick me, as well as me pick him. Right away he was the sweetest boy once home. He sleeps with me almost every night and knows my moods so well.

Nicky, Salem’s owner

Nicky suffers from severe anxiety and depression; which Salem helps her cope with. He is not only is giving Nicky a reason to get up in the morning but he helps her remember to take her medications too!

Last month Salem started showing signs of illness, and after a visit to the vet, he was diagnosed with a urinary tract blockage. Nicky was told that he needed emergency surgery, costing thousands.

The urinary blockage was so sudden, especially since he’s not a very old cat. He’s had no prior issues.

Knowing she couldn’t afford his surgery, Nicky reached out to VHS and several other organizations for help. She told us that Salem is her sweetheart and she’d be lost without him.

The McVitie Fund, generously funded by VHS supporters, contributed $500 towards Salem’s surgery.

Please consider making a donation today towards the McVitie Fund, to help animals like Salem receive the urgent veterinary care they need. Thank you for your support!

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Annie sleeps at Dora’s side every night

The McVitie Fund is always stretched to it’s limits. This week alone, VHS has received more than 18 phone calls from vulnerable individuals in the community looking for help to cover the costs of their companions unexpected veterinary bills.

VHS recently helped sweet little Annie, after her owner Dora reached out. Dora lives alone with Annie, after her husband passed away last year.

“Annie has been my ears for me since 2012 when I started to lose my hearing. I now depend on her at night to let me know if something happens around me. She has always slept with me and wakes me up by barking.”

Dora, Annie’s owner

When Annie started developing eye problems, Dora rushed her to the vet where they confirmed she had eye ulcers that required urgent treatment.

“I am now on disability and no longer able to work as a nurse as I have severe hearing loss. I am asking for help so I can have a few more years with my Annie.”

The McVitie Fund provides a safety net for vulnerable individuals, so they don’t have to give up or unnecessarily euthanize their companion. Could you make a donation today to help Annie and the many other animals in need?