As the Saskatchewan SPCA is in the midst of the Warming Hearts & Paws campaign, we reached out to one of our distribution partners to gain a further understanding of the impact this program made when it was first organized in February 2019. As the need for pet items in Saskatoon for people experiencing homelessness or poverty was identified during the first collection and distribution blitz, the Saskatchewan SPCA decided to continue the program with the aim to continue to meet the need for items not only in Saskatoon, but expanding to Prince Albert and North Battleford this year.
“One of the impacts I’ve noticed the most is it’s allowed people to have their pet and to keep their pet healthy” Lorraine Scott, Family Worker at the Friendship Inn, Saskatoon stated. “A pet can do a lot to building up their security, their sense of belonging, and having something for themselves.”
Scott is a Registered Social Worker at the Friendship Inn in Saskatoon and was one of the Saskatchewan SPCA’s contacts and partners involved with the distribution of collected items this past spring. She believes this program to be of high value in the community, as she can see firsthand how community members and their pets are benefiting.
Since these items became available, Scott has had requests for items increase significantly and has highlighted a need that often goes unmet and unrecognized. She noted that anticipation and excitement is growing as items are currently being collected to soon be distributed out once again.
Currently the program runs for a limited time during the coldest months of the year, however Scott expressed that the need for pet items at the Friendship Inn is huge and needed year-round. “I don’t think there’s a day go by that I’m not asked for something pet related” she said, with having had four requests for items on the day of our meeting. Unfortunately, aside from this campaign, they do not receive many other donations of pet related items despite the need. “We’ve seen people outside covering their pet with a jacket and putting human socks on their feet and whatnot so when we can get the actual items for them it just makes it so much better” she said.
A lime green jacket sticks out a little more than the rest for Scott; a man who has a dog came in on a colder day and was given a bright lime green jacket left over from the spring donation pile. Scott gave him the jacket, he went out there after he had breakfast, fed part of his breakfast to his beloved dog and then put the jacket on him. “The dog was literally jumping up on him, licking his face and his bum was wagging so much, the dog was so happy about this jacket it was so exciting it almost brought tears to my eyes to see that, it was really thrilling” Scott said.
“Everybody deserves to have a pet. That’s a learning tool for kids to learn how to care for another living thing that’s totally dependent on you for everything and how to make that commitment. That’s important for children to learn that, and that doesn’t matter whether you’re from a rich family, a poor family, or homeless. Everyone needs that and the animals need that” Scott concluded, before lastly wanting to thank everyone who supports and donates items for this campaign.
The Warming Hearts & Paws collection blitz is currently taking place until December 15th, 2019. Visit www.saskspca.ca to find out how to donate at locations in Saskatoon, Prince Albert, and North Battleford.