We hear so many awful stories about animal abuse in our news these days. I wanted to celebrate a great story about caring people making a positive difference for animals.
I got in touch with Terra Maclean, the training coordinator for a busy pet shelter in Busby, Alberta. She is a full time certified Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) trainer. I asked Terra to introduce herself:
“I train dogs and help find foster homes and adopters for our SCARS pets. Saving a dog’s life is not going to change the world but it changes the world for that dog. I live with 34 dogs, three kids and a spouse, and it’s rarely the dogs that are the worst behaved!”
SCARS is a non-profit Edmonton and Athabasca based registered charity that is almost entirely volunteer operated. SCARS relies on money raised through memberships, donations, sponsorships, grants, and other fundraising efforts. In Terra’s branch, the rescue team is serving remote communities:
“We dedicate our efforts in communities that have no other option for stray or abandoned animals. Our mission is to promote the humane care and protection of all animals and to prevent cruelty and suffering. We take in as many homeless pets as our resources allow. Each one is spayed or neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and receives whatever care it needs. We typically have over 200 in care and find loving homes for over 1,000 every year.”
SCARS helps communities by taking in pets that are unwanted or slated for euthanasia. They collect pets from remote area dog pounds and veterinary clinics that act as the pound. They also take in stray and abandoned pets, many of which are sick or injured.
Preventing pet overpopulation is also a big part of what they do. SCARS actively works within northern Alberta, particularly First Nations and Métis communities, to promote responsible companion animal guardianship.
SCARS has many homeless animals waiting for a spot to become available and these animal’s lives depend on it. Many of SCARS animals come from northern communities that have no pound or small pounds that have time restrictions on them.
I asked Terra how and why the society formed:
“Our president and founder use to work in forestry and noticed a huge over-population problem in many of the areas she worked and found these animals or community members had little to no support and nowhere to turn, so she eventually gave up her career to focus on helping provide to the communities and animals with help and support.
SCARS has been in existence for over 15 years and only recently, in the last four years, have paid staff; we solely operated with volunteer power for a decade and rescued thousands of animals. We still remain volunteer driven, it’s amazing to see what a volunteer organization is capable of. The benefits the volunteers get it is knowing they are helping, having a sense of community and belonging, and gaining experience and knowledge. “
There must be so many inspiring stories to tell about the pets that come to SCARS and get well and find their forever homes. I asked Terra to share one:
“Bart aka Party Barty, aka Barthalamu is a boxer mix and was a bit of an unlucky bloke when it came to finding a home. He was always passed over, or in the few occasions adopted was returned for being rude to the cat, or hoarding toys from children (he had a ton of personality). Anyway, Bart stayed with us for years until one day he found HIS people. He found a lovely couple with another dog that snowbirds to arizona, so the running joke is he held out finding a perfect match until he could leave for the winter.
I think this story captures a lot about SCARS; unless there is a major behavioural issue the pets aren’t on a timeline, we try very hard to find the right fit not just move as many animals through as possible.”
Thank you for this article Terra Maclean and for all you and your organization does for animals in need. To find our more about SCARS click here! SCARS
This article will be published in the January 2020 issue of The Big Edition, a Kamloops local street paper that aims to improve the lives of our street entrenched and low income community members.