Companion animals enrich our lives in countless ways, as pets and personal supports and even as protectors and workers. Chances are, if you have a pet, they are a member of your family and are treated with the same reverence and devotion as a child.
Roughly half of Canadian households own a pet, and we spend billions of dollars on them each year for veterinary care, food and other speciality products and services
Sadly, not all pets are born into (or borne to) doting homes, and many end up in shelters and under the care of rescue organizations who often struggle to attract and maintain sufficient funding to operate successfully. According to 2013 Canadian Federation of Humane Societies’ statistics, more than 119,000 cats, 53,000 dogs and 15,000 other animals were admitted to shelters in 2012 (a number the organization says is conservative, since it is estimated from the responses of only 102 shelters that responded to a survey).
Many organizations that coordinate foster care and training for service pets — such as guide dogs for the blind, emotional support animals and those that help with other special human needs — also have to raise funds to keep the lights on.
Over the past several years, PETS Magazine has profiled many of these groups and the passionate individuals who work tirelessly to make life better for people and pets alike. Their devotion takes many forms, from providing free veterinary care to the pets of homeless people to raising money for pet health research, offering support for pets whose owners are in endof-life care, flying adoptable pets to their distant forever home, training people in pet first aid and much more
Looking for a charity or cause to support? Find inspiration by checking out Pet Project profiles in back issues of PETS Magazine at www.petsmagazine.ca. Your veterinary team will also be a good source for identifying legitimate organizations near you. On the Internet, check out Canadahelps.org for listings of registered Canadian charities by keyword.
If you are concerned about how your money will be used, check out Charity Intelligence Canada (www.charityintelligence.ca), itself a registered charity that researches and assesses Canadian organizations so donors can make sound decisions. The Canada Revenue Agency also provides listings of registered charities and other tips for making donations at www.cra-arc.gc.ca/donors
Whether you have a personal affinity for specific breeds or merely companion animals in general, there are hundreds of organizations in Canada to choose from. They all need some form of support, in the form of donations of money, supplies, food or volunteer time. In some cases, your financial contributions can qualify for a tax credit.
In all cases, whatever support you can offer will change lives