More folks seeking pets through Saving Grace Animal Society during COVID-19 pandemic

Welcoming a new pet into the home can bring comfort during troubled times

At the Alix-based Saving Grace Animal Society, things haven’t really slowed down during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In fact, more folks are heading to the facility to check out adopting a pet during these challenging times.

“Animals are still needing homes across the province, so we certainly haven’t slowed down at all,” explained Erin Deems, executive director. “But there have been more adoptions which has been good,” she said, which is a plus because more people currently have extra time at home to spend helping their new pets settle into their homes before normal routines eventually return.

“It’s a great opportunity for people to bring animals into their homes,” said Deems. “Animals are really good for people’s mental health and I think people are kind of turning to them now during this time of self-isolation. It’s been a great opportunity for many people from many different walks of life to think about the idea of adding a new idea to their households,” she said.

“Pets offer unconditional love. When you see what rescued animals have been through and what they’ve overcome, and their positive outlook on life – they wake up every day like, ‘This is the best day ever!’ I think we can really take a lot from them and learn a lot from them,” she explained. Indeed – it’s inspiring to see a rescue animal show such resilience and exhibit such joy in being welcomed to a new family.

According to the web site, Saving Grace Animal Society was founded in February 2018 as an animal rescue and shelter, operating as a low-scale rescue prior to that.

“Since its inception, Saving Grace has been the go-to society for 24/7 emergency calls, rescuing animals all over Alberta and into Saskatchewan.”

Saving Grace houses a shelter in Alix as well as running an off-site sanctuary for farm animals with no place to go and hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year.

Since the opening of the shelter, Saving Grace has successfully adopted out over 1,000 dogs, organized and completed nine major rescue missions (each bringing over 100 animals in to care) and made forever homes at the Sanctuary for 18 farm animals to date, noted the web site.

“The Society works with phenomenal trainers and veterinary staff who devote their time to rehabilitate animals in care, ensuring those ‘unplaceable’ animals receive their own ‘saving grace’ with a chance at a new home and a life filled with love.”

These days, COVID-19 has meant that major adoption events have been put on hold.

“Now we’ve had to cancel all of the adoption events so each one needs to be individually by an appointment and then all the surfaces are sanitized in between,” she explained.

“So we have had to implement a lot of new protocols and make sure that we are practicing safe social distancing and such. It has slowed down our process as far as adoptions which is unfortunate because we have overwhelming requests from people wanting to adopt,” she said.

“But like every other business, we are just adapting to the new normal and doing our best to help animals across our province. We are going week by week and day by day right now.”

She did mention that pets do of course need ongoing care, and that anyone interested in adopting should be aware of the costs associated with that – particularly in the midst of a pandemic when many are facing financial uncertainly.

“We are doing our absolute best to keep animals in homes, but it’s a really good opportunity for people to really make sure that you have some money set aside when you are responsible for an animal, so that in the event they may need help, you can afford that help.”

Deems also pointed out that donations to the Society to help care for the animals have declined by about 40 per cent at this point so they are always pleased to receive whatever support anyone would care to give.

Check out www.savinggracecanada.com, call 403-741-2014 or find them on Facebook at ‘Saving Grace Animal Society’.

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