Guest blogger Kevin Mackenzie, Development Manager, Leadership Giving with the Ontario SPCA recounts his third experience in learning the ins and outs of Ontario SPCA operations.
Day 3 – A day at The Ontario SPCA Provincial Education and Animal Centre (PEAC) in Newmarket
Sylvester is one of the many cats available for adoption at PEAC.
Day three being embedded had more pleasant surprises about the organization that I have recently joined and the people who make it what it is.
The Provincial Education and Animal Centre (PEAC) in Newmarket is unlike any shelter I have ever seen before. From the large glassed in rooms the animals up for adoption reside in, to the incredible detailed intake process that ensures each and every animal brought into the shelter is managed individually with attention and care given to the health of the animal.
I was given a tour of the entire facility. It began in the ‘back’ where animals are surrendered, or brought in if rescued. I got to see rooms segmented into days of the week indicating what day the animal arrived here, and the process was explained to me of how an animal comes in the door and is immediately subject to strict guidelines to ensure that the animal is healthy and does not jeopardize the health of any of the other animals on-site. There are a number of steps for an animal to clear before being introduced to the adoption population, and I truly had no idea of the level of detail and strategy that goes into the intake of a new animal at one of our shelters.
I was lucky enough to spend time with two of our arrivals councillors, Megan and Jenny. An owner came who had to sadly surrender his cat due to trouble with allergies at the home. The cat was inspected thoroughly by two staff with great care and affection. A stressful event for any animal (new surroundings, smells, and an owner surrendering it and saying goodbye), but the staff here are loving, compassionate, and very good at their jobs, easing the transition as much as possible.
In the afternoon, I got to spend time with some of the adoptions team, Jenn and Emily, working the ‘front’ area of PEAC. What great people! When you walk into PEAC, you are greeted cheerfully and these skilled and knowledgeable staff members are there to help you choose the perfect pet for you and your family. Computers are set up so soon-to-be pet owners can answer some questions as part of the innovative “Meet Your Match” program. It helps pair the right animal with you based on characteristics or behaviours of the animal, and the owner!
The sense of pride and pleasure the team at PEAC take in helping find the “forever home” for these animals is inspiring. They do not refer to the animals as ‘pets’ or ‘animals’. They speak about them as colleagues or friends. I got to hear stories about great dogs like Bruce (who was adopted 2 days after I was at PEAC), Duke, and cats like Sylvester (pictured) and Katie (who actually gives hugs!). These animals have real identities. Real personalities. The staff at PEAC care about them deeply, and it shows in everything they do. I truly hope you get an opportunity to drop by PEAC sometime and experience what I did.
If you would like to speak to Kevin about supporting the Ontario SPCA, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-668-7722 ext 309.