In good hands.
Valley Animal Rescue strives to find foster or permanent homes for many cats and dogs.
They can meow or bark. But if Penny, Delilah, Simon, Chance, Theo and Shelby could talk, they’d tell you that many of their fellow cats or dogs would also like to have reliable homes. Each of the above have found a foster or permanent home in the Ottawa Valley.
Meanwhile, word of mouth, flyers and advertisements tell you that a mountain of people continues to seek homes for cats and dogs across Renfrew County and area. Knowing that, members of the newly-formed, not-for-profit organization known as Valley Animal Rescue are reaching out to identify foster and permanent families for pet animals in need.
Since late June, VAR has found foster or permanent homes for 24 cats or dogs, in Renfrew County communities and beyond, including Orleans, Pembroke, Petawawa, Eganville, Renfrew and Arnprior.
“There are far too many homeless animals in the Ottawa Valley,” says VAR president Valerie Hutchinson of Douglas.With co-operation from area animal shelters, VAR continues its work while fundraising to support its efforts.
“We cannot pick up stray animals off the street; that is animal control’s area,” stresses Hutchinson, who owns several dogs.
“The stray animal must go through the municipal pound system, and all efforts to find its owners must be exhausted before we can become involved. When, after specified time, no owners come forward, we can then help.”
Hutchinson says Valley Animal Rescue, with about a dozen active volunteers now, was worried about the fate of many homeless and unwanted animals. She describes the organization’s volunteers as a handful of very dedicated people who donate their free time, vehicles, gas and homes to get the job done.
When necessary, VAR’s members use their own homes as emergency foster homes. But wherever the foster homes, VAR pays for the pet food, beds, toys, leashes and similar expenses. Adoption fees are $250 for dogs and $150 for cats. These fees cover less than 40 per cent of costs to provide veterinarian care, feed and supplies, so the remainder is raised through fundraising, says Hutchinson.
Costs include spaying or neutering, full vaccination and microchipping of all adopted animals. As fellow board member Julie Bilton of Eganville says, “We’re doing everything we can with what we have.”
Also, all dogs are given a SAFER behavioural assessment, checked for parasites and groomed, including flea-bathing, if required.
Another service is foster care for the pets of women and children living in women’s or family shelters. “Most shelters don’t take pets, so we hope to remove the pain of leaving pets behind when families must escape abusive situations,” says Hutchinson.
Hutchinson says one of the most important aspects of VAR’s care is the time taken to present a dog to members of a potential home. All family members need to be present, to help ensure capability with the pet. “We very, very thoroughly screen families to ensure it’s a good match for them and for us,” says Hutchinson. Recognizing that it can be stressful on foster homes to house a pet, efforts are made to find permanent homes as quickly as possible.
The program has also received support from area businesses, such as Precious Pets, Dahl’s Variety, Sandy’s Deli, Movies and More, First Choice, and M & R Feeds. Pet supplies can be dropped off at Renfrew Pet Valu, Arnprior Pet Valu, Mill Music and RBC Renfrew. VAR is asking for such products as food for kittens, dogs and cats, cat litter, crates, animal carriers, old comforters, and dog and cat toys.
Fundraisers to support VAR’s work will include a Sunday, Dec. 2 Christmas bazaar at the Renfrew Royal Canadian Legion, where there will be several vendors and the chance to have your pet’s photo taken with Santa Claus.
To contact the Valley Animal Rescue, visit valleyanimalrescue.ca email or visit email@example.com.