Companion animals are mirrors of the people they live with. When you see a healthy, well adjusted pet, chances are that the family they live with is also healthy and well adjusted. And, in a broader sense, when you see a community where animals are homeless, neglected or abused, there's a high probability that that same abuse is impacting children and other vulnerable people within that community. And it's a big issue. Poverty, mental illness, substance abuse, a lack of empathy in general, patterns of family abuse, and a lack of access to medical care are often behind the curtain of abuse. Although identifying that this is happening is important, deciding what to do about it is the key. This is not about judging, criticizing or complaining. It's about understanding, stepping up, and making a difference.
Change will not come if we – we as individuals, we as communities - wait for some other person or some other time or for some other thing to happen. “One Health” is an approach where everyone in a community works together to achieve better public health outcomes – for people and for animals.
Building healthy communities and “one health” is why we are big supporters of the Regina Humane Society, anD why we are the presenting sponsor of this Saturday's Pets in the Park festival.
Often when people think about a Humane Society or SPCA, they think about homeless animals in animal shelters, but animal welfare is about more than a shelter. Homeless and abused animals are a barometer of a community's health or lack thereof. And while helping one homeless animal is important, it does not get to the root of a community's broader societal problems. However, thoughtful, committed citizens working together can change a community, and indeed can change the world.
Our province's motto is “Multis e gentibus vires: from many peoples, strength”. It is a motto that reflects the approach Regina Humane Society takes to tackle the broader animal welfare issues of our community.
Regina Humane Society runs a community animal shelter, where each year thousands of animals who have no place to go receive shelter, food, water and veterinary care. Thankfully, Careport Animal Hospital, Regent Park Animal Hospital, 24-Hour Animal Care Centre, Albert North Veterinary Clinic, Indian Head Animal Clinic and Lakewood Animal Hospital all help the RHS Shelter Veterinary Team by providing services at no cost for animals needing special care, treatment or surgery. And, thankfully, thousands of volunteers, foster homes, donors and adopting families come forward to help these animals-in-need.
And, on top of running that shelter, here are the top 10 reasons why we believe so strongly in the Regina Humane Society's work for people and for animals.
Regina Police Service and Social Services work with the Regina Humane Society's Safe Places Program to ensure that animal members of an abusive situation have a safe, temporary place to go when victims of domestic violence flee from their abusers.
Elementary school teachers use Regina Humane Society developed materials to bring humane education into classrooms.
The City of Regina partners with Regina Humane Society to provide community programs such as Pet S.T.O.P. (Pet Supply, Training and Outreach Program) Summer Programs where young children learn about responsible pet care and safe behaviour around companion animals.
The City of Regina partners with the Regina Humane Society to provide subsidized pet spay and neuter surgeries to financially disadvantaged households and other animal rescue organizations in Regina.
Saskatchewan Health partners with the Regina Humane Society to provide “Be Dog Smart”, a program aimed at educating children under the age of 12 regarding dog bite prevention.
Other animal shelters in Saskatchewan and beyond and other local animal rescue groups work with the Regina Humane Society to transfer animals. There are many options for animals even when there are too many for the available space or for animals with special care needs.
Full Throttle Furnace & Duct Cleaning works with the Regina Humane Society's Pet Therapy Program to match community volunteers with homeless animals at the Shelter who then visit senior care homes and rehabilitation facilities in Regina.
Pats Pets and Supply Ltd., Pet Depot, Petland, PetSmart and Pet Value all work with Regina Humane Society as Satellite adoption centres to help increase the chance that homeless animals find families.
The Playground, The Hydeout and Fella and Fetch partner with Regina Humane Society to provide positive reinforcement, pain-free, force-free dog training, which is a non-violence training approach that sets families and their dogs up for success.
And, because of their expertise in animal handling, the City of Regina contracts the Regina Humane Society to manage their animal-related by-laws and act as the City's designated animal pound.
Sadly, when community education and outreach is not effective, intervention through enforcement is the only option. Regina Humane Society is a Ministry of Agriculture designated Animal Protection Agency and selected employees are trained and appointed as Animal Protection Officers to enforce the provincial Animal Protection Act. That team works with Crown Counsel and within the legal system to enforce provincial legislation. (Unlike the rural/livestock-focused Animal Protection Services of Saskatchewan, the Regina Humane Society, Saskatoon SPCA and Prince Albert SPCA do not receive any provincial government funding to enforce provincial laws within the province's largest urban centres even though they manage two thirds of the province’s investigations.)
We have always strongly believed in giving back to our community, and the Regina Humane Society is our charity of choice. We hope you will make it one of your favourite charities too. If you can come out to Saturday's Pets in the Park festival, you'll have a wonderful park experience with animals. And, if you're inclined, you can also take part in the Wag'n' Walk-a-thon pledge walk, or simply make a donation. You can be confident knowing that in addition to those thousands of individual animals, Regina Humane Society is working to change the world by making change within our community.
So this Saturday, come out and play. Let’s change our community together!