SPCA reflects on 2010 with gratitude and appreciation

This is a time when it is important to reflect back on the past year and be grateful and thankful for the many wonderful things that have happened at our Red Deer & District SPCA.

In March we moved into our new humane education and animal care facility, enabling us to care and find homes for more than twice as many animals. Unfortunately, we were again filled to capacity in only eight short days.

Fortunately, people cared enough to rescue these animals and bring them to us. We are grateful for the scores of people who patiently wait on admit lists for months and for those who provide foster care until we have room.

We are also grateful to those who are less patient and become very angry at our staff when we cannot meet their immediate need because every inch of space is full with lost and unwanted animals.

This demonstrates true emotion for the future of the animals, and though presented in a very negative and frustrating manner, and extremely difficult for our staff, it shows that people truly care.

Because we are a max adopt facility and we will not kill healthy animals for lack of space or resources, we thank our community for understanding and accepting our limitations. We are in the business of saving lives, but sadly we are unable take every animal that comes to our door.

With the new facility comes a perception of comfort and security, and that we no longer need donations. As a registered charity and non profit, we survive almost solely on donations and always will.

A weak economy and decline in community social programs results in very stiff competition for charitable dollars – and unfortunately, more unwanted animals.

At the same time, we are extremely grateful for those who have chosen to support us, especially in the form of a major gift in August that enabled us to equip and staff our in house veterinary clinic. Having our SPCA clinic open three or four years ahead of schedule has given us the capability to spay and neuter, as well as provide quality health and medical care for all SPCA animals, prior to their adoptions.

Construction costs on our new building were much higher than budgeted and as a result we have been challenged in meeting all of our financial obligations. We are very grateful and appreciative of those who have patiently waited, knowing and understanding our challenging circumstances.

We are working very hard to become more financially sustainable. We have opened a small pet food and supply retail store and offer birthday parties and day camps to help build revenues.

All adopted pets go to their new homes spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, micro chipped and vet checked, all at a cost very reasonable to the new family.

We are appreciative of those who come to us for compassionate and dignified pet cremation services; and to City of Red Deer who generously gives our SPCA $7.50 for every dog license we sell, money that goes directly to the care of SPCA animals.

We are very grateful for those who come bearing gifts and donations before 11 a.m. Thank you for understanding we have a very small staff that is cleaning, feeding and caring for our pets from 7 to 11 a.m. and preparing the centre for your visit.

We are open extended hours, seven days a week to accommodate our public, but as a community charity, our hours are limited.

Our operation would not be possible without the hundreds of caring and dedicated volunteers that walk dogs, cuddle cats, fund raise and do the multitudes of other tasks that are all very important components of our daily business. Your generous donation of time and resources are so appreciated.

Our future is bright and 2011 will be a great year as we continue with humane education programs in all central Alberta schools and across our community; programs that teach respect for life and the responsibility of being a pet owner. Programs that inspire positive change in our society.

As the year closes, on behalf of the Board and Staff of Red Deer & District SPCA I extend sincere thanks and appreciation to our central Alberta community for your continuous and generous support.

May all of you have a happy and prosperous new year!

Julie McInnis

Executive director of the Red Deer and District SPCA