At the most crucial time of the year, Saving Grace Animal Society is facing a scary reality — and it’s one the organization has never faced before.
There have been tough times before, says Saving Grace co-executive director Amanda McClughan, but this is the first time that the Alix, Alberta rescue northeast of Red Deer may have to close their doors to new intakes if adoptions don’t pick up.
With around 340 animals in their care, the dog run is full, every cat bank is full, and their overflow areas cannot fit anymore.
Even though there were 26 adoptions after their plea for help Friday, the facility is still bursting at the seams. While it gave them some breathing room for a few days, the facility is under duress with more intakes expected this week.
“We have never been in a situation like this before. We are in a state of emergency right now,” McClughan says, adding the intake requests have gone up while the adoptions are at an all-time low.
“This is definitely crisis mode.”
McClughan says the managers and directors are scrambling every day to think about ways to get animals adopted in an attempt to make more space.
“When you’re completely full, and your phone rings, and you have an animal that you can’t say no to… we’re shuffling things around trying to fit animals here,” she says, adding staff are taking animals home, too.
“I don’t know if everyone can really understand what it feels like to have to say no, especially when you have someone on the other end of your phone pleading with you to take this animal and you literally have to say no, because you literally can’t.”
The reasons behind the crisis
There are a myriad of reasons for the crisis, McClughan says, but in particular, the number of adopters has plummeted. Last year at this time, the facility had 130 adoptions between Dec. 1 to Dec 17.
This year, there have only been around 70 during the same time frame. That’s a massive drop for a rescue that is still taking in just as many animals, if not more, during the recent cold snap.
“We’ve just never had this many animals available for adoption at one point in time with the decrease in the adoptions,” she says.
One of the reasons could be that people are just busier this year, travelling more, or have less money. Also, the cold plays a big factor, not only because they are taking more animals in, but people have a harder time driving to the facility.
“We were so lucky with the weather we were having, and then it kind of hit hard, so we had freezing rain and snowstorms. Most of the people that are adopting from us are driving anywhere from an hour to four hours away.”
What you can do to help
The best thing people can do to help the organization would be to consider adopting a pet.
“Adoptions are our number one thing; the more animals we can adopt out, the more animals we can bring in. And the less it’s stressful for our resources.”
Saving Grace could always use more foster homes as well — though this comes with its challenges as the foster homes need to be within an hour of Alix or Ponoka due to the veterinary needs of the animals.
“With us being in Alix, fosters are harder to find,” McClughan adds.
Monetary donations are also critical to Saving Grace as the rescue is often treating 40 to 50 animals at the vet each week.
“It’s quite costly, so donations are always appreciated.”
The facility also is in urgent need of supplies. In particular, puppy pee pads, puppy kibble, and cans of wet food.
Visit their website to find out how you can help Saving Grace.