On October 16, 2018, Amanda POLLOCK, 21, of Calgary, AB was convicted of Animal Protection Act Offences and sentenced to a $1,500 fine and a 10 year prohibition, limiting her to four spayed/neutered dogs with clauses requiring the annual submission of veterinary reports and allowing peace officer monitoring. On December 1, 2017, two emaciated border collie dogs were seized by Calgary Humane Society peace officers after Calgary Police responded to a 911 call concerning the state of the dogs and found both of them confined to a single small cage. Veterinary examination assessed that the dogs had been severely malnourished to the point of emaciation and severely dehydrated. Brad Nichols, Senior Manager, Animal Cruelty Investigations said. “This guilty plea is an encouraging turn insofar as accountability. There was some concern that the distressed state of the dogs was not appreciated by Ms. POLLOCK throughout this process. This outcome will ensure that the dogs may be monitored throughout the term of the order. As a relatively young offender, there is hope that by the conclusion of this order, Ms. Pollock will be capable of making more responsible, welfare based decisions for her pets.”
You can make a huge difference in an animal’s life as a foster parent for Calgary Humane Society. These animals require a little bit of extra attention, love, and socialization outside the shelter. If you don’t have the time to volunteer with us but would still like to be involved, opening your home to a foster pet is a great way to assist us in our mission to help as many animals as we can.
We often receive questions about what it takes to be a foster parent, from the time commitment, to the type of home, to the level of knowledge required. Being a foster parent isn’t always easy, but it is something that can fit within most lifestyles!
Why should I become a foster parent?
We could give you a hundred reasons why fostering is great for animals, but here’s a few reasons why fostering is great for people, too:
Fostering is a flexible and valuable first volunteering opportunity for kids.
It’s a chance to test out living with a species you might have been considering adopting before taking the plunge.
There’s no long-term commitment to an animal: if you’re concerned that your children will lose interest, you can foster before adopting to see if they’ll stick with their vows to always walk and feed the dog, for example.
Fostering allows you to have a pet at home even if you travel often for work. The CHS foster animal is always welcome to return to shelter while you’re away!
It is a rewarding experience for you as you help a pet recover, adjust, or become more socialized, increasing their chances for a quick adoption.
What do I need to be a foster parent?
All you really need to be a successful foster parent is a lot of love. You’ll need to apply online and then meet with our foster team for an interview, but no need to be scared of that! We promise they’re really nice. Basic requirements include:
You must own your home, or have permission from your landlord to have animals on the property.
You must have reliable access to a vehicle to pick up the animal and supplies, and to transport them to veterinary appointments or in the event of an emergency.
I work odd hours or am away for extended periods of time. Can I still be a foster parent?
Yes! Some of our foster placements are for a few days, and some are for a few months. If you’re going away for work or a vacation, your foster can be returned to Calgary Humane Society for the duration of your trip or to find a new foster family. Every break from shelter life is beneficial. We are grateful for any time that you can give our animals, even if it’s short.
I am apprehensive of certain animals due to allergies or fear. Can I pick the type of animal that I foster?
You sure can! We have lots of foster parents that only foster cats, dogs, or exotics, based on their own preferences and how comfortable they are with a species. We will never ask you to take on a dog if you only want to foster cats, for example. CHS foster parents can set their own stipulations for species, breed, and size of animal preferred. You can choose when you want to take in a foster, and more importantly, you can choose who they want to foster. The foster team may reach out with a request once they get to know the foster parents, however there is never any pressure or deadline to take an animal in.
Can I have other animals in my home while fostering?
Yes! Many of our foster parents have their own pets. Depending on the animal that you foster for Calgary Humane Society, it may be necessary to have a separate room or space for your foster animal. Your pets at home will need to be up to date on their vaccinations too. The foster team recommends keeping the foster and resident animals separate to avoid risk of disease transmission or fights. Slow introductions can take place after two weeks, as symptoms of illness are generally noted within this time (though there’s no guarantee). Interactions should always be monitored.
What if my foster pet and I don’t get along?
If your foster animal is not a good fit for your household or for you, you can return a foster animal at any time. We want to ensure that the experience is a positive one for foster parents and animals so please do not hesitate to return your foster pet if it is not working out.
Can friends or family look after my foster animal while I’m away?
Yes. Any family members or friends that will be looking after your foster pet need to be onboarded as a foster parent by our Foster team ahead of time. This is a great way to share the fostering experience with loved ones.
What resources are available to me as a foster parent?
As a foster parent, you’ll get to work with lots of our departments within Calgary Humane Society, depending on the needs of your animal. We are here to support you! You can call our behaviour helpline with questions about your foster pet’s behaviour at 403-723-6019 or email email@example.com. You can also call our call centre at 403-205-4455 with questions about your pet’s health, fostering, adopting, and anything else. We’ll ensure you’re put through to someone who can assist you.
Our Foster team is available from 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. for phone calls and emails, and there are three 24-hour vet clinics in the city that we work with in case of emergency or if you need after-hours guidance.
Do I have to buy my own supplies?
No! Calgary Humane Society supplies everything for your foster pet, from bowls, to food, toys, and beds. We will also cover the costs of any appointments or medication that your foster animal requires while in your care. Any classes with our Behaviour team that Calgary Humane Society deems appropriate for your foster dog are covered as well!
Do I need to know everything about owning a certain type of animal in order to foster it?
No. We will help you and set you up with the right equipment and supplies for each type of animal. If you have any questions, our teams are always available to help!
Do I have to take my foster animal to appointments?
Each animal in our care – and your care – will have different requirements. Some will need surgeries, recheck exams, training classes, or follow up appointments. If you are able to take your foster to their appointment, that’s great! If not, they can be dropped off at Calgary Humane Society the night before or morning of their appointment and we will arrange a driver for them.
Can I share my foster animal on social media?
Any foster animals that are available for adoption (i.e., are visible on our website) as adopt-from-foster can be shared freely on social media. Animals in foster, emergency boarding, pet safekeeping, and any others not cleared for adoption cannot be shared on social media or any other public forum (Facebook groups, Reddit, etc.). We do encourage you to take lots of cute photos throughout your time together, however, so that you can share them as soon as your foster animal is cleared for adoption!
How much will I know about my potential foster animal before I make the decision to bring them home?
When looking at our foster list, a list only available to approved foster parents, you’ll get a quick snapshot of the animal’s needs. You’ll also be able to see how long we think they’ll require fostering for, and any other relevant information. If there’s anything else you need to know before taking the animal home, we’ll let you know! Foster parents can ask as many questions as they like before committing to fostering an animal. At time of pick up, the animal’s medical file is shared with all relevant information, including appointment, surgery, and vaccine dates.
Can I adopt my foster?
If you have decided that you and your foster pet are meant for each other, you can contact the Foster Facilitator and request to adopt. Please note that just because you have requested to adopt a foster pet, it does not necessarily mean that the adoption will be approved. First, the animal must be cleared for adoption before you can formally apply to adopt them. There are a lot of factors that go into the adoption application and you will need to go through this process like any other potential adopter. We cannot place an adoption hold on owned animals taking part in our boarding programs or seized animals, but we can still place a note of interest on the animal’s file in the event that the hold is released.
Will my foster pet definitely go up for adoption?
Generally, the answer is yes. However, for health or quality of life reasons, an animal may be deemed unadoptable. We do not euthanize for space or time and do not take this decision lightly. Euthanasia decisions are only made in cases of severe health (where we are unable to end an animal’s suffering through treatment) or behaviour issues (where an animal is considered a danger to themselves or the community). We will communicate with you if there are any potential issues with your foster pet being adopted. Some animals are owned, such as those in our boarding programs, or are part of a protection investigation. These animals may not be made available for adoption as they may be returned to their owners.
If you’re interested in becoming a foster parent or have questions, please contact our Foster team at 403-205-4455 or visit our Foster page. Ready to take the next step and apply to be a foster parent? Fill out our online application!
You may have read about Mieke and her event, Bark with Bam, in our latest issue of Connecting Lives. We are so grateful to have Mieke’s generous support and to be involved with Bark with Bam each year.
Today we are sharing our full interview with Mieke about how she started volunteering and her history with Calgary Humane Society. Thank you for your support, Mieke!
When did you first start volunteering in the Calgary community and why?
I started raising money for charity when I was quite young but I remember my first real volunteering experience was in Junior High at a Feed The Hungry dinner. I was signed up as a part of a Human Rights educational program and it ended up engraving quite an interest in me. I can still remember the joy it gave me to just simply give my time. I know from that moment on volunteering was going to be a big part of my life. Growing up my mom was also an active volunteer involved in Junior League as well as one of my favorite Halloween events, Scarecrow festival, I am sure this also contributed to my interest in helping others and volunteering.
When did your love of animals, and specifically blue heelers develop?
Ever since I can remember I always loved dogs and oddly enough cows – which might be why I love heelers so much. I could never have my own dog growing up because my dad was severely allergic, but I did know every dog in the neighbourhood and I would even bring my neighbours dog Ginger to ‘Show and Tell’ in Elementary – she was a long haired golden retriever and Ginger was nothing less than my best friend. I still have a picture of her framed above my bed to this very day. I also have vivid memories from when I was young of the animals at my uncle and aunts’ farm. I think it was this exposure that really blossomed my love for animals to include more than just dogs and cows. As I got older I discovered more and more animals that I loved.
Following my first year of my Health Science degree at Mount Royal, I was 17 and set off on a 2 part volunteer trip to Africa; half of which I spent with ALERT lion conservation in Antelope Park in Zimbabwe. It was such a privilege to work hands on with these incredible and powerful African lions and it was from this experience that I began to not only love but truly appreciate animals and recognize how important they are. There is something about animals that provides a calming and safe place for me. Whether it is interacting with animals or watching them in their nature, it gives me something special, a peacefulness that is hard to describe.
Specifically, my love for blue heelers however didn’t began until our first rescue dog name Sonny when I was about 14. He was a 7 year old mix who looked more like a fox than anything but we knew he was part sheba part heeler part a lot of who knows. His feisty yet smart personality made him seem more like a brother than a pet and when I was 16 and saw little blue heeler collie pups I needed to go visit them and sure enough came home with my first puppy, my instant love and best friend, my current business partner, Rambo. The smartest most mischievous and handsome doggo, aka Bam. From that point on I knew heelers were going to be in my life FOREVER. And as if the match wasn’t already made, my next dog a pure Blue Heeler came to me one day at the dog park from a lady at her wits end with her loving yet crazy powerhouse named Symon. After a week of thought and getting to know Symon he soon became my special boy Rocco. Those 3 heeler boys were my first pack and most definitely are the reason for my love of the beautiful blue heeler.
Tell us about your history with Calgary Humane Society (you as a child/teen and now as an adult).
My history with CHS goes WAY back to I think my 8th birthday party. I remember instead of gifts I asked for donations for the Calgary Humane Society. I didn’t have any pets at the time, but I knew there were animals that needed my help and as an 8 year old I thought this would be a good way to give back to them. I remember getting collars and leashes, rolls of change, bills and even some cheques for my birthday that year (and many more after it). I also remember walking into the Humane society with my jar of donations and shoving each coin and bill through that little slot in the donation bin up front. Just thinking about how happy it made 8 year old me makes me smile still to this day. After taking a loop to see all the doggos, we were walking out the door and a staff member stopped us, asking where all that money came from. I very happily told her I raised it at my birthday party – they were amazed and very grateful. At that age I don’t think I even knew what gratitude was, but I did know I was helping the animals I loved and that is all that really mattered to me. I continued to do this for my birthdays until birthday parties were no longer cool then instead I collected change jars – change from my slurpee addiction, change off the table, from the street, any loose change quickly became apart of my donation fund which I would slip into the black and white ‘doggy bank’ at CHS when I would go visit dogs in the shelter, it never was tons but hey! It was something.
Then Bark with Bam came along. Rambos birthday each year was always something I celebrated and in July 2014 for his 4th birthday we threw a backyard BBQ and I lovingly ‘forced’ my friends and family to pay at least $5 to eat with all ‘donations’ going to the Calgary Humane Society. Because they all played along and it ended up raising over $2,200 the next year I opened it up to the public and threw my first real fundraiser called Bark With Bam. Each year everything raised is split between the Calgary Humane Society and another deserving animal rescue. Since 2015, it is crazy to say, Bark with Bam has now raised and donated a total of $64,666 – half of which has been donated to CHS. And I must mention Vision Sports Center each year provides a vital sponsorship that makes Bark with Bam able to happen, they also provide us with our party location at NO charge – that is pretty incredible.
CHS also assisted me however with the cremation of my dearest Rocco who passed away very unexpectedly. We were able to bring our boy right to the facility and have a private cremation. As painful as it was losing my boy it was comforting knowing what was left of him was in loving and caring hands until his ashes were returned back to me. I couldn’t thank them enough for their patience and kindness on that painful day.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
THIS is actually a question I still ask myself every day. If you would have asked me 10 even 5 years ago my answer would have been to be a dentist, open my own practice, and have a non-profit providing free dental care to families and children throughout poverty stricken countries. But after completing my Health Science degree yet ‘failing’ to reach my dreams of getting accepted into dental school and getting waitlisted 2 years in a row I took a step back to re-evaluate my values, my goals, and myself and realized I had NO idea who I was or what I really wanted to do. As a 23 year old who had their heart set on dentistry almost their whole life not knowing what to do or what I even wanted to do seemed terrifying. So of coarse I turned to dogs and opened my own dog walking business called PupVentures YYC that has keep me quite busy for just over 1.5 years now. As for the future this question still scares me but I know what ever is set out for me won’t be one single path. Whether I continue dog walking and expand my business, become a dentist, become a vet, or continue some other way in the science field, or do something completely unexpected… what I do know is that animals will ALWAYS be involved in my future.
What would you tell others who wanted to try doing a fundraiser?
The first thing I would tell someone is to not get discouraged when you hear the word no. Trust me, not everyone will be interested in putting your flyer up and not everyone will take the invites from you, some people might not even look at you, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other people who will! Not everyone can donate, not everyone can donate each year, and that is okay. No is not a bad thing to hear so please don’t get discouraged by it. Second, utilize yourself, you will discover many hidden talents (and somethings you’re not so good at haha!). Third, utilize those around you. I knew I had some amazing people in my life, but my closest friends and family really bring their A game around Bark with Bam and I could not do it without them. Those closest to you are your most valuable resources when fundraising, they provide not only their valuable time but donations, extra hands, ideas, and important connections which is a huge cost saver.
Lastly, I would say GO FOR IT, I am not an event planner, I am not a professional, I just love dogs and wanted to make a difference.. Anyone can fundraise, and every dollar raised counts! I started Bark with Bam because I thought it would be a clever, fun, and unique way to raise a few extra dollars for CHS like back in the day of my own birthday parties. I never thought it would be what it is or raise that type of money. Five years later my grand total raised is over $66,000. I first anticipated on raising a few hundred, maybe a thousand dollars but donations from the animal community and from animal lovers just like me, from my family and friends and from their families kept coming in. I always try to tell people I didn’t raise the money, Rambo and the animals did, they are the ones who deserve the credit, the animals in the dire situations need the credit. Yes, planning and preparation is a lot of work but when you think of how many animals need help on a daily basis it makes every hour and dollar spent worth it. Not every fundraiser has to bring in thousands either… like I said EVERY dollar counts, and I think every rescue foundation including CHS would agree.
I have always appreciated the vital roles CHS provides within the animal community. By supporting them it provides resources for those doing so much for the animals, things I feel I cannot do. I am asked this question a lot, and the truth is, without the Calgary Humane Society there is no doubt the other rescues in the city couldn’t keep up – they truly are the staple in the rescue community. They not only handle surrenders and adoptions, they also perform animal welfare and cruelty investigations, they have a lost and found, emergency boarding, training classes, memorial/ cremation services, and even MORE. Yes sure, they may get a lot of support but when you are as active and involved as CHS I believe they need and deserve as much support as they can get. CHS has always been one of my charities of choice, ever since I was young and I know that I will continue to support them into the future. In a way my support is not for CHS directly but in light of the thousands of animal and human lives they have change in such an amazing way.