We received a call from Alberta Health Services from a social worker who was working with a new hospital intake. Robert, an elderly man had come in after his neighbors were concerned about his wellbeing and called an ambulance. Robert appeared to be healthy however when he could not communicate well with hospital staff, it became apparent that he needed to be admitted for a cognitive assessment. One thing Robert was able to communicate was concern for his only companion, Gemma, a little 3 year old calico cat, who shared Roberts home with him. The neighbors knew about Gemma and were going in to feed her, but due to allergies they were unable to bring Gemma to their home for care.
Robert was very concerned that Gemma would be lonely without him at home, and it became apparent to the social worker that until they were able to assure Robert that Gemma was okay, preforming any treatment or diagnostics would be difficult. Our program assisted and brought Gemma into care so Robert didn’t have to worry about her and could get the help he needed for himself. After initial assessment it became apparent that Robert was not capable of living independently and required constant care. Gemma was transferred to a rescue for adoption after Robert moved into an assisted living facility.
Unfortunately, not all pets we assist through One Family Welfare return to their families. There are a multitude of reasons for this including economic challenges, safety issues requiring relocation, mental or physical health concerns, etc. Sometimes the best thing a pet owner can do is surrender their animal to us.
This story is not unique.
When in crisis, pet owners are often unable to focus on their own mental and physical wellbeing until they know that their companion animal will be safe. The Crisis Care Program provides reprieve to pet owners dealing with a life-changing event that impedes on their ability to care for their companion animal(s).
The Alberta SPCA’s Crisis Care Program was launched in 2019. This program is designed for individuals that have run out of safe options, it is a last resort program for individuals experiencing crisis and are unable to care for their animals temporarily.
Refuge should be available to everyone.