For many years Iggy, a beloved Shih Tzu, was Connie’s only true companion. In the fall of 2020 right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, Connie, a senior with low income was evicted due to non-payment on rent. Unfortunately, eviction is a reality for many low income Albertans. In Connie’s situation, while she was on social assistance she could not find subsidized housing and the rental fees took up all of her income, she could not afford to eat and pay rent so she became homeless.
Connie was able to find a friend that allowed her to temporarily stay in an apartment but it was not pet friendly. Connie had a place to go but Iggy did not. This is when the One Family Welfare department at the Alberta SPCA stepped in. Iggy was accepted to the Crisis Care Program and was able to stay in a safe temporary accommodation until Connie was able to figure out next steps.
For the next several weeks the Pet Safekeeping Coordinator kept in touch with Connie to provide support, community referrals, and of course updates on her beloved Iggy. After many false starts and disappointments Connie was able to come up with a plan of action – she decided to relocate to the USA with Iggy.
Connie was taken in by a family member in the USA. The trip home however, would not be without hiccups. Iggy’s discharge date was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions because Connie’s flight was postponed and her COVID-19 testing was delayed.
Rather than letting Connie deal with this stressful situation alone, the Pet Safekeeping Coordinator provided support and reassurance to both Connie and her family member in the USA.
Eventually Connie and Iggy made it to the airport and had a successful flight home.
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.