The Lethbridge and District Humane Society started in the early 1970’s as a safe “No-kill haven” for pets. Many dogs and cats in Canada go to these shelters and in certain cases are euthanized. This is done for varying reasons, commonly they are fatal health issues or if the pet is in constant pain; there are other cases where perfectly healthy pets have been euthanized to “over capacity” or were not adopted. Today the Humane Society is located at 2920 16 Avenue North - Their information is on their facebook page as well.
The Humane Society does not receive government funding or Lethbridge tax dollars and is funded by the citizens of Lethbridge through their generosity. There is a fundraiser that occurs from November to December called Paws for Claws. During Saturdays, you can have a photo opportunity for your pet with Santa. Any pet is allowed from small pocket pets to large furry friends. Ella tells me “There was this one time someone even brought a miniature horse.” Monetary donations are accepted throughout the year, which supplies the society for a year. Kirkland and Canaan pet food are accepted, anything else is given to those that need pet food for the rest of the month. Other supplies as bleach and paper towels are always necessary, as they do not last long at the shelter.
"I've always loved animals"
- Ella White
Becoming a volunteer at the Humane Society is another way to help; there are always positions open at different times of the week for various schedules. People are allowed to drop by for a visit during the open hours, to play with the pets, or even signing up for volunteering. Volunteering at the humane society is a learning experience for both the volunteer and the animals. First-time volunteers either work with dogs or cats and slowly expand. Levi Penno, a current volunteer explains, “I didn’t know what I was doing when I signed up a the Humane Society, but over time that dutiful work, the routine, and the company brought clarity and purpose back to my life.”
When Ella first joined, she only had experience with dogs and had to learn how to handle cats and their unique body language. She even developed a connection with a young puppy while on the job, and when it came back from a family she immediately adopted them. Remember adopt, don’t shop. Adopting a pet is a rewarding experience for the owner and the pet, as they change each other’s lives. The cost of adoption is less than if you purchase a pet from a store, or elsewhere. The process for adoption is complicated only to make sure the pet is a perfect fit for the household. When cats reach a certain age they are spayed and neutered to prevent unnecessary litters. Ella hopes that pet owners will spay or neuter their pets to prevent overcapacity in rescue shelters and local shelters. For every household cat, there is a feral cat. Ella believes that “while unrealistic, the goal is to have empty kennels,” and for every pet to have a safe and loving home. To further serve the Lethbridge area, the Humane Society is undergoing renovations to offer a better experience for animals that are brought in. There are plans to purchase agility equipment for dogs and stairs to help acclimatize for their adoption to loving homes.
The process of adoption at the Humane Society is designed with the wellbeing of the pet in mind and the Humane Society has the right to deny potential adoptions. To start the adoption process, one of the volunteers will facilitate interactions with the selected candidate. The volunteer will answer the question about the animal’s habits and special needs. The second step is the fun aspect called paperwork when identification is necessary or, if a pet is owned already, veterinary references are key. Step three: The adoption committee will visit to verify adequate fencing is in place. The last part of the process once the adoption is approval of contract signing and fee payment. This fee helps to cover any medical care that your pet has received while at the Humane Society.