Alice doesn’t live here anymore

Hot Off the Collar | Volume 5

I’ve been struggling to find something to write about for this month’s blog. It’s not because I lack subjects. Winter animal care, investigations, the generosity of our donors; I tried each topic but nothing felt perfect for Christmas.

Then came Alice.

Alice arrived on our doorstep 10 months ago, along with 8 other dogs that were rescued from a Korean dog meat farm.

Those last four words likely stopped you in your tracks; they did for me when I first learned of the situation. Naively, I had assumed the concept of dogs as food was some type of horrible myth.

It is not and we are one of many organizations working diligently to assist those rescuing these dogs. We’re committed to giving them a chance at life with a loving family in a forever home.

Which brings me back to Alice. She’s never experienced home. She started life in a tiny cage surrounded by rusted metal and dirty, damp hay. As soon as she was able, she became a breeder for an inconceivable and appalling industry. Then, she was saved from a horrendous fate and brought to North America but before she could find her family, she had to endure a long quarantine. Once her quarantine was complete, we thought she’d be home free. This small and beautiful German Shepherd had the sweetest disposition and we were certain it wouldn’t be long before we matched her up with someone. Unfortunately, she also tested positive for heartworm. That meant more isolation, limited exercise and several more months living within the cinder block walls and the steel bars of kennels. At least here, she was treated with compassion and love by our amazing staff. Surely, once the four months of heartworm treatment ended, Alice would find a home.

So, we waited and watched. We walked her and worked with her. Despite her unimaginable past, she showed incredible resiliency and a tremendous capacity for love.

So, we waited and wondered if the right person would come along. Shepherds historically, don’t do well in a shelter environment. So far Alice had shown progress but how much longer could she continue life with only an overworked shelter family to care for her?

So we waited, and cared for her and hoped with each passing day that she would be the next one to go home. Maybe by Thanksgiving or Remembrance Day or even by Christmas. Surely by Christmas she’ll find her way to a loving home. Wouldn’t that be a great story to tell?

I’m a sucker for a great Christmas story. If you plunk me down in front of “It’s Wonderful Life” I can quote you the lines, I can do a mediocre Jimmy Stewart and I can guarantee you that when George and Mary Bailey and little ZuZu are standing beside the Christmas tree being serenaded by their friends and neighbours, I’ll have tears running down both cheeks.

Earlier today, just three and a half weeks before Christmas I heard the words through our intercom that we’d been waiting nearly a year to hear.

“A Ward, please bring Alice to the front. She’s going home.”

I swear I could hear shouts or sighs or even sobs of joy from every corner of the shelter. Alice had found a family. She was finally going to experience life inside an actual home.

I wish I had pictures to share with you of meeting her new family or of all of them walking out the door together. Unfortunately, we were all too busy getting in one last pat and looking for Kleenex.

Alice, you brought lots of smiles and joy to our lives for nearly a year but we couldn’t be happier that you’re leaving us today.

Merry Christmas little girl. You’re finally going home.

– Gord Hunter, Executive Director

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Alice the Rescue Dog

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HUMANE SOCIETY TO RESUME ADOPTIONS

Contactless adoptions will begin on May 6th for limited number of animals

Kingston, ON – May 1, 2020
Beginning on Wednesday May 6th, the Kingston Humane Society (KHS) will resume adoptions of animals to suitable members of the public. The number of animals available will initially be limited and significant safety protocols will be employed to avoid any contact or direct interaction with potential adopters.

Five weeks ago, the KHS suspended all adoptions in an effort to significantly reduce the potential of COVID-19
transmission within the community or to the KHS staff. In that time, more than 100 foster volunteers have stepped up to care for animals that would normally have been housed in kennels and waiting for adoption.

“Our foster volunteers have been incredible,” said Gord Hunter, Executive Director, “but we’re starting to see
the expected spring influx of animals and we need to be sure we have capacity within the shelter once things
begin to open up again and once the foster families begin returning animals to us.”

The capacity of the current building is limited to 75 cats and 44 dogs. The KHS currently has 112 animals in
care; the majority in foster homes. In May of 2019, the Kingston Humane Society took in just under 200
animals. After this year’s mild winter, Animal Programs Manager Christie Haaima expects numbers to rise significantly, potentially putting the shelter well over capacity.

“Each year, we see a large influx of animals heading into the summer months, predominantly stray cats and
orphaned kittens,” said Haaima. “We can’t allow Covid-19 to prevent us from saving the lives of nearly 2,000 pets this year. We need to be prepared by continuing adoptions and expanding our foster program.”

Pre-adoption counselling and meet and greets will be done virtually utilizing available electronic meeting platforms. The successful adopters will then come to the shelter to pick up the animal in a no-touch environment. Adoption payments will be accepted by debit or credit only using no-touch or minimal contact protocols. All KHS staff employees will wear full PPE and adopters will be asked to wear gloves and masks when picking up their new family member.

“This is new to all of us and we expect to experience small glitches that we’ll address and correct on the fly,” said Hunter. “Our goal is to find forever homes for as many animals in our care as possible and to remain within our somewhat limited capacity, keeping the strain on staff and animals to a minimum.”

Beginning Wednesday May 6th, the public can find animals available for adoption on our website at www.kingstonhumanesociety.ca . Online applications will be processed as received and suitable adopters will be contacted for virtual meet and greets.

BACKGROUND

The Kingston Humane Society is committed to advocating for and improving the lives of animals within our community. Founded in 1884, the KHS continues to provide shelter and care for homeless animals in Kingston and surrounding communities. We promote responsible pet ownership and compassion and respect for all animals. In addition, we work in and with our community to provide leadership in the humane treatment of all animals, to address the causes of animal suffering, to encourage people to take responsibility for their animal companions and to provide care for animals who are neglected, abused, exploited, stray or homeless.

CONTACT
Gord Hunter, Executive Director KHS, 613-546-1291 ext 105

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