NWT SPCA's Yellowknife shelter at capacity, seeks homes for dogs
Backlog partly due to airlines' Christmas embargo on shipping dogs south
The NWT SPCA shelter in Yellowknife is at capacity and its volunteers are calling upon the public to help them make room by adopting, fostering or escorting a dog while flying south.
The shelter has 20 or so dogs and newborn pups currently waiting for homes.
Dana Martin, vice-president of the NWT SPCA, says it's partly due to airlines' embargo on shipping dogs from Dec. 15 through to Jan. 6 each year because of the increase in passenger and cargo demands.
"We kind of got backlogged with our animals here and we weren't able to send as many out as we would normally," she said.
"As well, people are on holidays, our foster homes filled up and that doesn't stop the dogs from coming in from communities."
The shelter takes in dogs from every community in the N.W.T. and from a couple of communities in Nunavut.
"We don't say no, we try not to," she said. "I don't think we ever have. Sometimes we can talk them into keeping them for a little longer but most of the time, we make room."
There are 20 spaces for dogs inside the SPCA, but that is reduced currently because of two nursing dogs with pups who need to be kept away from barking or unfamiliar dogs. The outdoor kennels are not full but Martin said there is only one dog at the shelter that is OK to be outside 24/7.
She said a call-out for foster families during the holidays got a good response but when work and school started up again, the dogs had to get returned.
The ideal solution, of course, is adoption.
"We don't hand them out like candy," Martin said.
"We have a bit of a process that takes time as well so that of course slows things down when we have lots of dogs coming in. We have to take time to process applications; it creates a backlog. We're doing it as fast as we can and we try and get dogs out into homes as quickly as possible."
'She brings us joy'
Yellowknifer Sue Glowach adopted her family dog Lola from the NWT SPCA five years ago. She says Lola is the third or fourth rescue dog that she's had.
"I understand why some people might want designer dogs or dogs that perhaps have been bred for specific work. But for me, the idea of having 40 dogs sitting in a concrete cell waiting for a family to love them ... I just could not order that designer puppy.
"It's more important for me to have the energy of a dog to love you and we always found it through our rescues."
Although her dog came from Norman Wells, Glowach thinks Lola is an eastern Arctic sled dog. The family fostered Lola before adopting her to see if she fit in well.
"I'd like to say to that family in Norman Wells that decided to spare this dog's life and send her down: Thank you. She brings us joy, all the time."
Adoption fees range from $25 for a pair of gerbils to $350 for a puppy under six months of age and cover immunizations, spaying or neutering and a clean health check before going home.