A personal account by Julia (2019)
I wear many hats as the Alberta SPCA’s Pet Safekeeping Coordinator; crisis interventionist, stakeholder relation representative, animal transporter, graphic designer, problem solver, outreach worker, and more.
Every day is different.
Different to-do lists.
What follows is an example of a typical day in my work.
While getting ready to leave for work I reply to an e-mail from a vet clinic, they have two dogs, Bella and Sadie, who were brought in for a check-up and overnight stay on the evening of the 23rd, I inform them I will be able to pick them up before noon.
I start my day by picking up a load of donations from one of our donation partners – we currently have 21 cats in care and as a result, we are running through litter more quickly than normal. After the litter is picked up I bring it to several of our cat care partners.
I get a call from an emergency vet clinic advising that two cats we had taken into urgent care a few days earlier are healthy enough to be moved to a regular clinic. I am still delivering donations and arrange to pick the cats up at 10:30am.
The cats are discharged from the emergency vet; I take them to one of our regularly used vet clinics for continual care and leave that clinic at 11:30 am with Bella and Sadie.
Bella and Sadie are dropped off and I head back to the office to start completing paperwork and updating client files.
I receive a call from a women’s shelter that is located over an hour south of Edmonton. The worker informs me that they have a client named Angie staying at their shelter whose dog Missy was left in the town of Slave Lake, AB. Angie needed to leave Slave Lake to access shelter and left Missy, a medium size mixed breed dog with a neighbor as a safe alternative. The neighbor’s property owner called Animal Control and had Missy removed from the property. Animal Control is holding Missy temporarily until someone can pick her up. Angie is now located over three and a half hours away and does not have transportation to get Missy. Paperwork for the Pet Safekeeping Program are sent to the worker to be completed.
I receive a call from a concerned mother. Her daughter Sarah is fleeing an abusive relationship and struggling with addiction. After several years, Sarah got the courage to leave her abuser, but she cannot start the process of rebuilding her life until she seeks treatment for her addiction issues. Sarah’s mother advises that she has gotten her placement in a treatment facility but is unable to find anyone to help take care of her very large bulldog mix, Apollo. Sarah will be leaving in 5 days for treatment and they want to keep Apollo with Sarah until she leaves. We discuss pick up for the following Monday and I send our Pet Safekeeping Program application forms to Sarah’s mother.
The application for Angie is received; I call animal control in Slave Lake and arrange to pick up Missy at 11:30 am the following day.
I call another partner vet clinic to get an update on five cats who were hospitalized at intake due to upper respiratory infection and requiring neuter surgeries. The cats are improving and I inform the clinic I will be out of town the following day and request an e-mail update.
I contact a partner vet clinic to request an appointment for a wellness check and vaccines for Missy the following evening, Missy’s appointment is booked for 4:30pm. I continue to work on paperwork and updating files
Sarah’s mother submits the Pet Safekeeping Program application via e-mail and confirms that pick-up in 5 days will work best for them.
I work on finding placement for Missy and Apollo.
Placement is confirmed for both dogs.
9:00 am (the next day)
I leave for Slave Lake, Alberta to pick up Missy.
I have to stop on the side of the highway as I have received a voicemail from a client, Sally as well as an e-mail from her worker. Sally has three small dogs who she requires care for while her ex-husband has access to her home to move his belongings out. The ex-husband has tried to take custody of the dogs before and Sally does not think they are safe staying in the home while he has access to the property. I’ve spoken with Sally’s worker previously about the case and have a Pet Safekeeping Program application on file. Sally called to let me know her ex-husband has access to her home tomorrow and she needs to admit her dogs into the program. I inform Sally I will be back in town in the late afternoon and I will be able to pick up her three dogs, Moe, Larry and Curly around 3:30 pm.
I arrive at the Animal Control building in Slave Lake and call the officer I spoke to yesterday to inform him I’ve arrived to pick up Missy.
Missy is all packed up and after a quick stop for a walk and to fill up with gas we are on the road and heading back to Edmonton. Before leaving, I send a quick e-mail to our care partner to let them know we have three extra dogs coming along today.
I arrive at Sally’s Residence in Edmonton to pick up Moe, Larry, and Curly. All three dogs have various levels of health issues. Although they are only going to stay with us for a few days there at a lot of supplies and instructions to take with them to make sure they receive the best level of care.
Before leaving Sally’s residence my phone alerts me to a voicemail on my office phone. I check the voicemail and it is Sarah’s mother. I call her back and she informs me that Sarah is receiving death threats from her abuser and for safety must leave for treatment immediately. The threats are so frightening that now Sarah is going out of province for treatment and her mother is trying to book her a flight as soon as possible. I inform Sarah’s mother that I can be at their home to pick up Apollo at 5pm.
I walk into one of our wonderful partner vet clinics and ask them very nicely if they could complete Missy’s exam without me present and keep her for an hour while I went to pick up another dog. The vet keeps Missy and I head off with Moe, Larry, and Curly to get Apollo.
I drive across town and arrive at the residence to pick up Apollo. He is a very large dog who does not like crates and loading him into the vehicle is quite difficult and takes multiple people. Apollo had all his vet records with him and was a bit scared so he was going straight into care.
Apollo is loaded up and I send a quick e-mail to our care partner to expect even more than previously expected.
I am back at the vet to pick up Missy and the van is full; Missy, Apollo, Moe, Larry and Curly are all heading to care.
Everyone has made it to their destination and are getting dinner and a quick walk before settling in for bed.
I arrive home; quickly update my supervisor with the day’s events, and catch-up on e-mails from the day.