Rural Rescue and Support Program
At the Cochrane & Area Humane Society (CAHS), homeless animals receive food, shelter, medical care, spay/neuter surgery, permanent identification and the chance for adoption into a new home. Lost pets are reunited with their guardians. Humane education programs promote responsible pet guardianship and children participate in day camps and in-school presentations. Victims of domestic violence are helped through the Pet Safe Program and families or individuals in crisis are assisted though the Emergency Boarding Program. Dogs receive training and behavioral assistance to make them good canine citizens.
We have partnered with volunteer rescue organizations who are working in rural central and northern Alberta and Saskatchewan to rescue and assist animals in need of help. The communities that the rescue organizations are working with do not have animal welfare supports in place, and often have had no previous assistance for their animal populations. The rescue organizations operating in many of the rural and northern communities do not have the ability to provide long term shelter or adoption opportunities for the animals they are helping, and have reached out to the CAHS for assistance.
The Rural Rescue and Support Program is volunteer based, as are the rescue organizations we are collaborating with. By partnering with other rescue groups operating in rural communities, our goal is to reach underserved communities and assist them with animal welfare supports. We are working towards building relationships with many remote communities and other rural rescues that need additional support to continue their work.
The transport portion of the program involves a volunteer from the CAHS driving to a rural community in need of assistance, or to Lloydminster where one of our partner rescues is based. Volunteers pick up animals who are waiting for medical care and the opportunity to be adopted into their forever homes. The animals that are entering the shelter through this program typically need medical assistance and support, including parasite treatments, vaccinations, treatment of any injuries (orthopaedic injuries are common) and spay/neuter surgeries. Many of these animals require a longer than average stay at the shelter, as conditions such as mange are common, and many require surgery for broken bones and time for wounds to heal.
Who Will it Benefit?
We feel that a strong animal welfare organization benefits an entire community. Our Rural Rescue and Support Program assists rural communities in central and northern Alberta and Saskatchewan and has also supported the intake of dogs from the North West Territories. By assisting rescue organizations working in underserved communities, we help reduce the overpopulation of animals in individual communities, which reduces human and animal conflicts. By ensuring animals in communities are well looked after, we reduce the suffering of animals and reduce the risk of disease and injuries that occur in large stray animal populations. The CAHS has a strong behavioural rehabilitation program and we are able to work with animals who may be fearful or require socialization. Once an animal is ready for adoption, we have a greater population to draw from to find the animals their homes, as opposed to the rescue organizations in remote and rural communities.
Pets play an important role in families and the community. Not only have studies shown that children who grow up with pets have higher self-esteem and are more empathetic, but research has shown that pets increase social capital. They cause more people to exercise, use parks more frequently, and pet owners are more likely to participate in civic activities, volunteer and campaign for social issues.