The stats for the Cochrane and Area Humane Society are in and 2017 was their busiest year to date.
Celebrating 20 years (in 2018) of successfully sheltering animals, Jaimie Anton, Fund Development Officer, says they cared for 31% more animals in 2017 over the previous year. "Last year (2016) we had 1403 animals and this year we're at 1733, so the busiest year ever." A relatively equal number of cats and dogs were cared for at 48 and 49% respectively, with birds, rabbits, and guinea pigs making up the other couple percent. "Every year we've seen a definite increase in service and needs."
In awe of how many people opened their homes and hearts to foster, Anton, shares volunteers are the backbone of the organization. "In terms of volunteering we had 520 volunteers donate over 30,000 hours of their time and then we had 111 foster homes that fostered 883 animals over 2017, so without our foster homes and our volunteers, we couldn't do the numbers we've seen. They helped us out tremendously."
The increased numbers have had the shelter get creative for space at times but they have never had to euthanize any animals (nor do they plan to) to handle the extra load. "That is where our foster families are absolutely invaluable to us in terms of being able to take some of those pressures off. Particularly in taking our litters of puppies and kittens and getting them socialized and brought up in a home environment as well as some of our residents that might need a little longer of time because of medical issues, recovering from injuries or surgeries or those just needing a break from the shelter if they have been there awhile."
Community and business support was also key in helping the shelter get through their busiest year through sponsorship, donations, and calls for help if required.
This year the Humane Society will remain focused on the continuation, addition and improvement of classes and programs the community of Cochrane wishes to see. "We'll continue to change depending on the community needs and feedback we get."
The Humane Society also supported Airdrie area residents providing care to a couple hundred animals; Anton anticipates those numbers will only increase as well.