"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
- Margaret Mead - cultural anthropologist
A community-centre was transformed into a high-volume spay/neuter clinic
I was pleased to be part of a high-volume community spay/neuter initiative organized by Lloydminster-based Canine Action Project over the April 24th weekend. A small group of thoughtful, committed people came together to change our world, one dog at a time.
Having volunteered with several animal welfare organizations over the years, I have three distinct observations. Regardless of where people live on our planet, it's obvious that people love their pets unconditionally, and want to do right by them. Rescuing homeless animals without fixing the root cause of the problem is futile - it`s like trying to empty an overflowing bathtub without first turning off the tap. And, when people who love animals the most work together, they achieve great things.
Healthy animals means healthy communities
Anyone who has been on a hot holiday has likely seen first hand "animal problems." Unchecked, roaming domesticated animals get into trouble. They search for food and they search for mates, they form packs, they cause trouble on farms, bite children, transmit parasites and disease, and cause traffic accidents. If they're lucky enough to find feed, they become healthy enough to breed, thereby creating feral populations of dogs or cats where animals eke out short and often painful lives. When feral populations expand, for health and safety reasons, eventually "someone" intervenes to take care of the problem. While "animal problems" exist in hot holiday destinations, they also exist throughout North America including right here in Saskatchewan's rural and remote areas.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure
The solution to many "animal problems" is population control. It's been proven time and time again that it's more efficient, effective, safer and more cost-effective, to sterilize than euthanize. Unfortunately, not everyone is lucky enough to have access. And it's all too easy to sit back and judge, rather than stand up and help.
The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies (CFHS) fully endorses accessible spay and neuter programs. When communities put education and spay/neuter programs in place, beautiful things happen. After the Regina Humane Society and City of Regina worked together to create an accessible low-income spay/neuter program, shelter incoming numbers were drastically reduced. And, the human impact is real. In addition to the tangible health and safety benefits, young children, families and lonely seniors can live safely with animals and experience the joys of companionship, care and compassion. Helping animals helps create intrinsically, holistically healthier communities.
The weekend spay/neuter clinic was very professional with a Canadian standard of care. Over three days, 88 dogs were spayed and neutered, and 17 were placed into rescue. It was beautiful to see volunteers from animal shelters, rescue groups, the Saskatoon veterinary college, and veterinarians and veterinary technicians from private clinics from across our province come together. Working with children from the community was a highlight. Everyone rolled up their sleeves to do what was needed, and dogs went home spayed/neutered, tattooed, vaccinated, de-wormed, tick treated, and lightly groomed.
Our province's motto "from many peoples strength" was lived that weekend. I'm so pleased to have been part of a group that makes life better for animals, for people - for Saskatchewan.
Canine Action Project (CAP) is a Canadian registered charity, comprised of dedicated volunteers who assist First Nation, rural and remote communities throughout Saskatchewan. They are dedicated to achieving healthy, safe, balanced communities for people and their dogs. Their program is modeled after the very successful Alberta Spay Neuter Task Force and is similar to other international programs such as World Vets.