During the pandemic, some people decided to bring home a pet. Some were now working from home, while others lost their jobs and thought that an animal would be the perfect companion to help them face the struggles ahead. The animals enjoy having people at home to feed them, and to give them attention and care, but now that Ontario’s economy is reopening, it looks like pets will once again have to get used to spending less time with their owners. With 34 local public health unit regions moving forward to Stage 3, nearly all businesses, including gyms, movie theatres and indoor dining, can reopen this Friday (17). Although COVID-19 didn’t disappear people now have more things to do with their time. The question is: with this new change will people keep the pets in their lives or will they realize that they don’t have the time or the budget to have a pet?
Every year, the Toronto Humane Society (THS) takes care over 3,000 animals but all of them need a home and a family. The institution survives thanks to donations, and staff and volunteers do their best to try to make sure that animals are protected and free of suffering. THS was created in 1886 and, since then, the main goal is to make sure that animals can be adopted by a responsible family that will be able to take care of the pet for its entire life. Unfortunately, the pandemic is creating challenges to families, companies and animals. Some Canadians lost their jobs and are worried about their future, but is this the time to have a pet? THS believes so and this week the organization told Milénio Stadium that they have seen a huge increase in adoption program interest.
Milénio Stadium: In 2019, over 1,000 animals were surrendered to the Toronto Humane Society (THS). Did animal abandonment increase during the pandemic? Are financial problems the main reason?
Toronto Humane Society (THS): Toronto Humane Society takes in over 3,000 animals every year. Although, we have not seen an increase in the number of adoptions, due to the fact that we have had fewer animals, we have seen a huge increase of interest! We have placed almost all of our animals in foster homes and have been successfully rehoming animals on a remote basis through our “virtual adoptions program”.
MS: After an animal arrives at THS, what are its first days like? How do you keep the animal happy?
THS: Toronto Humane Society is dedicated to providing each and every animal, the proper environment (living space and social interaction) to ensure their health and well-being. The dogs specifically, have at least three to four walks a day thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff! All of our animals from bunnies, kittens, to turtles, get world-class enrichment, 365 days a year. Every animal receives whatever necessary veterinary care is required, by our incredible in-house medical experts. They also receive training and obedience classes from our in-house trainers. Each animal’s experience and adjustment time varies greatly. Some are slower to warm up to the new environment while others adjust very quickly to these changes. With the support from our incredible staff and teams, we are able to attend to the needs of every animal in our care and go above and beyond to ensure that each animal is comfortable.
MS: How can people adopt one of these pets? How many pets have been adopted this year?
THS: Adoption is a very important decision. Owning a pet means providing essentials such as a balanced diet, litter, socialization and vaccinations. We urge the public to be mindful that providing a home and care for a pet is a lifetime commitment. Our expert adoption staff will work through digital means to conduct the adoption process and ensure the health and safety of everyone involved, from start to finish. In these recent times, the entirety of our adoption process lives online until pick up! In this current environment, a prospective adopter would submit an application for the animal they are interested in, go through a virtual interview & meet and greet and pick up their animal at the shelter, using social distancing measures! It has been wonderful to see our ability to place animals on a remote basis.
MS: With the economic crises, many organizations have lost donations or have gone totally online. How has this affected THS?
THS: Paws in the Park® is Toronto Humane Societies’ largest, annual fundraiser. For years now, Paws in the Park has provided us a significant portion of our annual operating costs and helps us keep our doors open for the next animals in desperate need of our assistance. With a fundraising goal of $150,000, this year’s event is moving onto a digital platform: Virtual Paws In the Park! Now, with the click of a button, animal lovers can join this year’s event happening on August 8th and 9th 2020. People can raise money by setting up their own fundraisers online, on behalf of Toronto Humane Society! You can adopt animals digitally from our virtual adoptions tent, nab some items at a silent auction or shop at our virtual vendor village. Now EVERYONE can be at Paws in the Park, even if you live across the globe!
MS: Although some of the services are now starting to open, THS is still closed for animal viewing at this time. What are the options?
THS: Although we are still closed for viewing at this time, you can view all of our animals online at torontohumanesociety.com! Our new process includes the very same information and resources; the only difference is that it lives online! You get the very same, compassionate, process and still have the opportunity to bring a forever friend into your home!
MS: How can we donate to THS? Is there any minimal amount?
THS: The Toronto Humane Society takes in over 3,000 animals every year. As a non-profit organization, it’s thanks to support from the public that each of these animals, who have been through so much, can now find a warm, safe place to rest and receive the unconditional love and aid from our caring staff and volunteers. There is no minimum amount to donations because every cent counts and is put towards bettering the life of an animal.
MS: What is a Summer Play Pass?
THS: When you purchase one, an animal will get a fun day in the sun with their caregiver. And in the weeks following, you’ll get a thank you message; along with photos from the animal you helped enjoying their summer pass! For animals without a family, Summer is just another season. While other animals are enjoying summertime with their forever families, our animals are waiting for that special day when they will have a family of their own. We wanted to do something for them in the meantime to make their summer a little more sunny! We wanted to give them a Summer Play Pass! So what is a Summer Play Pass? It’s a dance with the sprinkler. A car ride with the window down. It’s a dip in the pool, a nap in the shade. It’s curling up in a sun spot and watching birds from the window. It’s a mini vacation. It’s enjoying the moment with those around you. All proceeds not only go towards our community services, but also our amazing Foster Program, which, during a nationwide lockdown, has become more important to our animals than ever before. Rain or shine, let’s give all animals summertime!
MS: Some pets can become famous. Tell us about Pet-Parazzi. How can we apply?
THS: As we continue to connect with our community on a virtual platform, Toronto Humane Society partnered with Majestic for a Pet Photo Contest!
You can apply right now at:
With an opportunity to win $1000 from Majestic- $500 to you and $500 to Toronto Humane Society, it’s a win-win for everyone! You will also get the opportunity to star in our 2021 calendar with your pet!
MS: If we can’t have an animal at home, we can sponsor a kennel. How does this program work?
THS: Here at the Toronto Humane Society we find homes for over 3,000 abandoned dogs and cats each and every year. By signing up as a Kennel Sponsor today, you’re ensuring that all our animals receive medical attention, food, shelter, enrichment and love. For many of our animals, this may be the first time in their life they’ve been truly loved and cared for. Becoming a sponsor is easy… just choose the kind of animal you’d like to support and click away! For more information on how you can sign up now, just visit our webpage.
There are a number of benefits to becoming a sponsor! You will receive a special sponsor kit which includes a digital personalized sponsorship certificate and sponsorship guide which you can print. You will receive email updates with photos and stories of the animals that have stayed in your kennel every month! You get a FREE subscription to Animal Talk which is Toronto Humane Societies bi-annual magazine. And you will feel great, knowing you are saving lives and helping animals!