While the end of year holiday season typically sees an increase in demand for pet sheltering services, the need this year is exacerbated by economic hardship facing many pet guardians, says Tara Hellewell, director, Donor Relations and National Engagement, Humane Canada, Canada’s federation of SPCAs and humane societies.
“This year, we are seeing access to affordable veterinary care along with providing the basics like pet food are affecting Canadian pet guardians caught in economic hardships following the pandemic and rising inflation,” says Ms. Hellewell. “More animals are being surrendered or abandoned and are staying in shelters longer, creating a shortage of space in those shelters.”
And with more Canadian families struggling to make ends meet, animal welfare charities will rely even more heavily on donors to help them provide their services.
“It’s a sad reality that, along with economic challenges, historically shelters and animal welfare organizations will see an increased need for their services,” says Ms. Hellewell. “Animals can suffer greatly when resources are strained, and those who truly care for animals will give what they can to ensure their welfare needs are met.”
She notes that despite receiving virtually no government funding many of Humane Canada’s members have survived and thrived to support animals for decades because of the generosity of donors, even in the toughest of times.
Like many other charities, animal welfare organizations usually experience a surge in donations towards the end of the year and count on donor support at this time to help fund their operations throughout the rest of the year.
Ms. Hellewell says approximately 60 per cent of Canadian households have a dog or cat in their home and feel a strong connection to their animals. They see the holiday season as an opportunity to support their local shelters and organizations like Humane Canada.
While some donors may consider support for causes that help people as being more in need than animal charities, Ms. Hellewell says Humane Canada and its members operate on the understanding that their work in animal welfare also affects and improves human well-being.
“This is known as One Welfare, a concept that animal welfare, human welfare and environment are intrinsically linked,” she says. “Humane Canada will continue to focus its work in 2023 to highlight the overlap and intersections using a One Welfare lens.”
That work includes a ground-breaking program to support women with companion animals when they are planning to flee violence.
“For donors, this means they can be secure in the knowledge that a gift to Humane Canada supports many aspects of animal and human welfare and that many of our shelters across the country are doing the same. A gift for animals is a gift to community,” says Ms. Hellewell.
Advertising feature produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved.