My blog is winding down as I approach 100 posts. As I reflect on what I’ve written, I’ve realized that a theme of my blog has been how dogs are wonderful connectors. For example, when meeting on the street or at the dog park, dog owners can often instantly strike up a conversation and connect over their mutual love of dogs. I learned about the Canadian Animal Assistance Team – CAAT – through a fellow dog walker named Darcy. She has worked at my vets in the past and is an avid canine enthusiast like myself. Our chat took a unique turn one day when I mentioned that I was eager to collect dog collars and leashes used in great condition, or new for a charity. I have done this before for a group headed to Mexico and told Darcy that I was interested in finding somewhere in Canada to donate to this time around. She mentioned that she was going in to Nunavut September with CAAT. She has had experience as a vet tech at my vet plus has worked at the Toronto Humane Society. I asked if she could connect me with the Executive Director of CAAT to see if I could help out with another collar/leash drive. Chris Robinson – CAAT’s Executive Director – was happy with my suggestion, and with excitement I began to spread the word throughout my community. My first collection was short notice – I only had four days to gather what I could – but amazingly almost 200 items were donated by my friends, contacts, and fellow dog walkers. My goal for my second collection is to collect almost 500 collars. I asked Chris if he would tell me more about CAAT; I hoped to be able to educate myself and other dog lovers about CAAT and write a post about it for my blog. Below is his wonderful piece on CAAT.
“It is difficult to imagine having no access to veterinary care but there are countless communities in Canada (and internationally) where this is a reality. Those communities (along with ones with limited access) are where the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) steps in to assist. CAAT is a registered Canadian charity that works with communities in need on animal welfare concerns, overpopulation issues and humane education. CAAT members consist of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and assistants as well as people from many other walks of life that just love animals!
Many remote and/or underserved communities deal with the common issue of dog overpopulation. Overwhelming numbers of unwanted puppies and dogs create welfare issues. Dogs that are not owned or are allowed to roam without regular care may become malnourished, unhealthy animals due to limited resources, lack of shelter, challenges from other animals, etc. Many remote communities, with no other options for control, resort to dog culling practices to reduce the unwanted population.
CAAT’s goal is to work with the community to provide the solution through a preventative, long term plan. Sterilization programs vs. culling programs result in a vastly different long-term outcome. For example, one unsterilized female dog can, on average, produce 16 puppies in a year and if even half of those 16 puppies survive and become reproductive adults, you have 8 dogs raising 8 puppies, 64 pups total that year, then those 64 each have 8 each, 512 pups, then those 512 have 8 each, 4,096 and so on annually! These numbers cannot be sustained and the pups and dogs that are not wanted, often suffer from starvation, freezing, or culling. If twenty unwanted dogs are culled from the population in a year and you repeat the culling for six years you will have culled 120 dogs. The remaining dogs (each year) are stronger, healthier, and have less competition therefore are more successful at reproducing and the cycle continues. If you spay 20 female dogs in one year, the number of puppies NOT produced by those dogs and their potential puppies is in the hundreds and the welfare of the remaining dogs is improved! Sterilization is much more effective than culling for a long-term effect on population control. CAAT’s goal is to make the option of sterilization a reality for our remote community partners.
CAAT veterinary teams work in Canadian communities as well as assisting with similar programs internationally. An example of our work in remote communities is in the village of Burns Lake, Northwest British Columbia. The team travelled to the remote communities in June 2013 (team members pay their own airfare) for the third annual CAAT Animal Health Care Clinic in the community. It was evident that the efforts over the first two years have started to pay off. The team was able to see 582 animals come through the clinic for vaccinations, deworming and health checks. Owners have begun to understand the importance of these basic health care components and are eager to continue them. 293 of these animals were also spayed and neutered. This is a new record for spay/neuter events in BC and a tremendous step toward controlling pet overpopulation.
The education opportunities of the event included lots of one-on-one discussions between the Team, volunteers and community members, as well as school and student visits. The local community members have been instrumental in making these clinics a success. The benefits have reached beyond healthy and happy animals and families. After the first two years of joint efforts, the Village of Burns Lake impoundments are about a third of what they were before the first event. One local shelter, Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue, reported that statistics show that surrenders from the Burns Lake area have declined to less than half of previous levels.
CAAT’s Animal Health Care Clinics are made a reality through the veterinary volunteer membership that provides the expertise and services in the communities and the support of members through assistance with fundraising, organization, etc. Also the general public donations and corporate sponsorship, without whose generosity, these clinics would not be possible.
To become a member go to our website (listed below) and go to the “Become a Member” section. As a member you will receive any updates on upcoming projects as well as our newsletter to keep up to date on new information and post project reports. If you are unable to participate in a travelling project, we still need you. Our members work on committees, fundraising, and raising awareness of CAAT; others simply become a member to show support for our work.”
For more information visit our website, email info@firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 1-888-500-3330.
I encourage all of my dogstwentyfourseven readers to volunteer for a charity/organization close to their hearts, as “many hands make great work.” Take a chance on doing a collection of items a charity needs. Ask others if they will participate. I will be asking at my vet’s office if they will collect some leashes/collars needed by CAAT. So many dog owners have duplicate items that are never used or their dog has grown out of. I will also be asking the local pet stores in my area to climb on board. My local community paper was interested in writing about the second drive, as they covered the first I did months ago. No matter how much time you can offer, the gesture gives back tenfold.
Have you ever helped out an animal charity?
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