A new pet fostering program in Guelph is aimed at helping look after the animals of those in an emergency situation where there might not be other options.
Pet Protect Guelph launched in January and offers temporary care for the pets of families staying in a shelter, women exiting domestic violence and people undergoing or recovering from medical emergencies.
People apply and if they meet the criteria their pets will be looked after for an average of three or four months until they are able to look after them themselves again, said Liz Vardon, the program’s director of services.
“Being able to keep your dog or cat in a daycare or overnight facility can get very costly, and if you’re homeless, that’s the last thing you can be able to afford,” said Vardon.
“Plus, there are no shelters in Guelph that allow pets, so it’s a deterrent for even going into a shelter for some. Many people would choose the street or sleeping on couches because it means they get to keep their pets,” Vardon said.
The program has partnered with a local vet to provide medical services for the fostered animals and is also partnered with the Guelph Neighbourhood Support Coalition.
There are currently eight foster homes signed up for the program and Vardon said they are looking for as many as possible to help ensure that pets are fostered in a suitable environment.
While cats and dogs are the obvious animals being looked after, he said that the program is also open to a wide variety of pets, including small animals, reptiles and amphibians.
“Right now our greatest need will be cats and dogs,” Vardon said, ‘but if we have foster homes that are experienced with those other animals that would be great.”
Other than abuse situations, the free program is for low income pet owners: those living on CPP, ODP or Ontario Works.
“Right now we’re just trying to get spread the word and let people know about the service as well as getting as many foster homes to sign up as we can,” Vardon said.
“There’s no point in having this program if nobody knows about it,” she said.