From cats to dogs, from kittens to puppies

Lisa Goudy
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Moose Jaw Humane Society all about the animals

Tuesday night was a busy one at the Moose Jaw Humane Society as a lot of dogs are afraid of thunderstorms.

“There’s never a dull moment here,” said Stephenie Campbell, promotions and education co-ordinator with the shelter. “On nights when there’s a big thunderstorm we often seem to get a lot of calls for dogs because dogs get frightened and they take off. They get on the run and they end up here with us.”

The highest priority at the shelter is always the animals, she said. Right now there are 14 dogs and 38 cats, but those numbers change “literally hour to hour,” she said. The shelter can accommodate up to 80 cats and, at any given time, there might be between 10 to 20 or more dogs.

“Last week we had a large group of puppies. So we had 11 or 12 puppies here, which creates a lot of extra work,” said Campbell. “Puppies, they’re a little messy, like any kind of babies.”

Now all of the puppies have been adopted except for two. There are also 12 kittens in foster care or being cared for until they’re old enough to be adopted.

“We have volunteers who do that for us if we have particular cats who come in, for example, without a mother,” said Campbell. “We had one mother cat that was hit by a car and she died and she left behind three kittens that were still nursing. So with that kind of situation, it’s a lot of extra work.”

Bottle-fed kittens need to be fed every three hours and they need assistance in going to the bathroom, as they can’t use the litter box yet. Volunteers take in those kittens until they are old enough to eat solid food.

“When they’re taken out to be fed every three hours or so, they also need to have a warm wet cloth to wipe the rear end of the kitten and that helps keep them clean and helps them urinate,” said Campbell.

While the challenging part of the job is getting calls of an animal hit by a vehicle, or having to tell someone on the phone that a car hit their animal, there are a lot of positive things happening all the time as well. Those include people coming in to adopt pets and people reuniting with their pets.

“So it’s very much a roller coaster here to put it mildly,” said Campbell.

Since the contract negotiations with the city, not a lot has changed at the shelter. There are some new rules for dog licensing. The shelter can’t release a dog unless it’s been licensed, for instance.

“People have to purchase a license here at the shelter or at city hall if they haven’t done so already,” said Campbell. “So that’s something that’s part of our contract that we will be enforcing and so we just explain to people when they come to pick up their pets that they need to pay the pound fee and they also need to pay the city license if they haven’t already done that.”

The pick-up fee for stray dogs is $40 and if the pet has been at the shelter for a number of days, a person must pay $20 a day as a boarding fee to cover costs of food, for instance. The city license fee is $40 for an unfixed dog and $15 for a spade or neutered dog.

“It’s another way of encouraging people to have their pets spade or neutered,” said Campbell.

Five important facts about the humane society

There are a few things Stephenie Campbell would like people to know about the Moose Jaw Humane Society (MJHS). Here are five facts about the shelter.

The MJHS is a no-kill shelter.

“We do not euthanize for space here ever. I think some people worry when an animal ends up here or if someone has to surrender a pet here, they seem to be worried about whether or not animals will be euthanized, but that’s not something that we do here,” said Campbell.

“No matter how long an animal is here, we take the very best care of them.”

Some cats and dogs have been at the shelter for a year or more until they find their forever home.

All money donated goes toward care of animals.

“We do whatever we possibly can to find the animals a home,” said Campbell. “For example we have a cat Martha who’s been here for a couple of years now and she’s still available for adoption but as long as she is still healthy and she hasn’t been adopted, she stays here with us.”

The animals are the No. 1 priority.

“Everyone who works here is an animal lover and I think that’s what makes all the difference in the world,” she said. “That’s what really makes the day-to-day work, whether it’s a happy day or a stressful day, that really makes it worthwhile for everyone. When we see an animal going to a home and making a family happy, that really makes us happy too.”

In addition to the practical work, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes work as well.

Kennel attendants need to care for the animals as well as do litter boxes, vaccinations, de-worming and keeping the shelter clean for maximum animal health.

“That’s probably one of the biggest jobs here is to keep everything uninfected and that’s something kennel attendants are working on every single day from power washing to scrubbing to spraying and changing the bedding for all the animals,” said Campbell.

“It’s just an ongoing job as you can imagine with as many animals coming in and out that we have.”

The building isn’t fancy, but staff members are making the best of it.

The shelter, located at 1755 Stadacona St. W., isn’t what Campbell would describe as pretty. However, there is air conditioning to keep the building cool.

“We all dream of upgrades,” she said. “We’re making the best of it for now until somewhere down the road when we hope we’ll be able to move into some big and improved facility.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: Moose Jaw Humane Society

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