AN UPDATE ON THE EDMONTON HUMANE SOCIETY’S RELAUNCH PLAN
May 15, 2020 @ 1:00 PM MST
It’s hard to believe we are approaching the two-month mark since we at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS), and many other organizations, had to make the difficult decision to close our doors to the general public and learn how to navigate a world with COVID-19.
I have been so proud of the way our staff have handled this uncertain and ever-changing time, maintaining a steadfast commitment to ensuring the health and welfare needs of the animals who depend on us. During this time, we have been able to:
- keep taking in emergency cases of animals in distress,
- move 70% of our animals into foster homes to avoid a long-term stay in shelter,
- shift our shelter operations model to focus on safely supporting our foster volunteers,
- provide virtual private consultations for those experiencing behaviour issues with their pets while home, and;
- provide online resources to help pet guardians navigate the pandemic with their pets.
It is vital that as we prepare to relaunch more programs and services, we continue to keep our staff healthy so that we can be here for the animals.
This is why we will be taking a thoughtful and measured approach to our staged relaunch, with the following principles guiding every decision:
- Staff health and safety
- Animal welfare
- Community health
We know people are eager to return to a sense of normalcy in their lives with their pets – we are too. But we also recognize that if we rush to open, we could jeopardize the health of our staff and greater community. Although we’ll be prepared to be flexible, we want to avoid having to go backwards at any point, which could compromise the care of our shelter animals who have nowhere else to turn.
Our re-launch stages will be coordinated in line with the Government of Alberta’s strategy, and you can expect to see changes in our programs and services beginning approximately two weeks after each new provincial stage is reached. This will give us the necessary time to ensure we have the staffing, equipment, policies, procedures and training in place to optimally serve both people and pets while adhering to our guiding principles.
With Alberta having entered stage one on May 14, we are preparing to enter our own stage one for the beginning of June. This will include re-opening our adoptions through a modified, appointment-based process. Those who have been looking forward to getting a pet and who wish to be notified when adoptions are open can let us know here. We will gradually be bringing back the many animals who have been enjoying the last few months in foster care so that they can move into their forever homes, and are also working towards launching other services virtually. We will continue to limit the access to our shelter, again in an effort to keep our staff and the community healthy.
Our second stage is where we will begin to start serving people and pets in-person again, with limitations to maintain physical distancing. This would include our Bingo’s Pet Shop, Doggy Daycare, Training and Humane Education Classes, Muddy Paws Self-Serve Dog Wash, Central Bark Dog Park, and some volunteer programs. More information on what this will look like and when this will happen will be released once we know when the Government of Alberta is moving to stage two.
There are some programs and services, and in particular events, that we know sadly won’t be revived this year due to the impact of COVID-19. This includes our spay/neuter program in the mobile PALS unit, which does not have the space to safely accommodate physical distancing. For events, Pets in the Park, MADE for PETS: Summer Edition, and Dog Dive won’t be possible in their traditional formats either. We look forward to bringing our community together every year with these events and we know this news will disappoint pet guardians and pet lovers alike. A virtual, re-imagined version of Pets in the Park is in the works, however.
We appreciate the community’s understanding and patience as we move through these stages with care so that we can ensure we remain here for the animals. Your support makes our work possible, and it will be more important than ever as the lasting impacts of COVID-19 on people and pets are realized.
Thank you for continuing to be here for EHS, and the animals who count on us.
Edmonton Humane Society