Monday, July 29, 2013

Pet Safekeeping for Domestic Violence Victims

Today's blog is provided by an organization for whom we are champions and appreciate all the incredible work they do....Alberta SPCA.  

A study released by the Alberta SPCA in November 2012 revealed that 59% of pet-owning women in emergency shelters delayed leaving the abusive environment out of concern for their pets. In 36% of the cases, animals were threatened by the abuser – and 85% of those threats were carried out. Interviews with victims show how difficult it can be for women with pets or livestock to leave a violent relationship, and how the animals suffer as an abuser controls the victims by threatening or harming the animals.
Photo credit: Alberta SPCA

In addition, children often witness the animal cruelty – and in half of the situations it’s the child’s own pet that is threatened or harmed.

To address this situation, the Alberta SPCA is working with many other agencies to help both animal and human victims of domestic violence. A major goal of the partnership, known as the Alberta Alliance for the Safety of Animals and People (AASAP), is to provide a province-wide pet safe-keeping network for family violence victims while they are in emergency shelters. 

AASAP includes professionals from law enforcement, social services, veterinary services, health, animal welfare, women’s shelters, legal education and other communities.
AASAP wants to start a pilot project in the Edmonton region, with the hope that it can expand to the whole province. 

This will involve hiring a coordinator to take calls from human services professionals and match the pets with a volunteer network of clinics, shelters and foster homes. Working out of the offices of one of the partner agencies, the coordinator will also maintain a database of volunteers and ensure that adequate records are maintained. After a year, the pilot project will be assessed and an expanded program will be designed based on lessons learned; the pilot project is also anticipated to demonstrate the need to prospective funders.

Photo credit: Alberta SPCA

This initiative will have direct benefits to numerous individuals in need:

·       Domestic violence victims who would be able to leave violent situations to seek safety for themselves, knowing that their pets will be kept safe and cared for.
·       Children of domestic violence victims who will also be reassured knowing that their pets are safe.
·        Human services professionals – social workers, police, women’s shelter staff – who are often forced to scramble to find accommodations for pets of victims.
·        The animals themselves will be kept safe from abuse and neglect.

To find out more, please visit:

Team Toby appreciates the work Alberta SPCA and the AASAP is doing to help individuals and animals in need.  Thank you for sharing your project with us.  Together, we can make a PAWsitive difference!

You can extend your vote for Alberta SPCAs project at:

Sunday, July 21, 2013

 Kindness to Animals

SPCA Alberta had an exciting contest just before school ended. According to SPCA Alberta, "well over 500 students participated in this year's "Speak Out in Kindness" Class Pizza Party contest! After discussing the quote by Jane Goodall, "The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves" students thought about what they would speak for and demonstrated it through posters, artwork and videos. Submissions from Alberta students overwhelming exhibited kindness and compassion to animals, people and the environment." (source Alberta SPCA website).

 It was an honour to be invited to be on the  Celebrity Panel of Judges

Here were the top three responses:

Miss Riedel's Grade 1 Class

Canyon Elementary School, Pincher Creek

Mrs. Wojcichowky's Grade 3 Class

St. Justin, Edmonton
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr
A photo on Flickr

Mrs. Mittelsteadt's & Mrs. Nay's  Earth Club

Madonna Catholic School, Sherwood Park

What a wonderful contribution these classes and students made!  Love what  Alberta SPCA is doing in their Everything Living program to make the world a better place.  Find out more about their kindness initiative and classroom programs at:

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lessons On Life...and Love...Taught by a Dog!Toby

Toby, our dog and one of my best teachers in life.

Lessons of life and love from a dog was the topic of my conversation on Dr. Joanne White's radio show, you can listen on the link above.

Isn't it amazing the lessons us humans can learn from a dog? 

Our dog Toby taught me many things, but most profound were the lessons about patience, persistence, trust, unconditional acceptance and the power of the animal human bond.

Watching Toby with patients at the hospital he volunteered I was constantly amazed at how he shared these lessons with other people. Interestingly enough, I discovered that his teaching went far beyond the lessons he shared with me. Patients reported that they learned about kindness, friendship, respect, communication, self control, listening and confidence from this dog.

Animals make such wonderful contributions to the world simply by how they show up.  This week, take notice of the lessons you learn from your pet.