Thousands of evacuees are heading home and now they’re picking up their pets.
While people were relocated to makeshift shelters, their animals were taken in by the Prince Albert SPCA.
On Friday, evacuees from La Ronge, Lac La Ronge Indian Band and Air Ronge were told they could return home.
According to John Morash, executive director of the Prince Albert SPCA, they’ve been busy matching pets to their owners ever since.
“We have a number of people who are heading home and they are coming in to redeem their dogs,” Morash said. “It’s a very happy situation to see owners reunited with their pets.”
Over the last few weeks, the SPCA has taken in over 150 dogs, three cats, one turtle and one parrot.
The dogs that didn’t stay at the SPCA were fostered out temporarily by the organization or they were being looked after at the Veterinary College in Saskatoon.
“They’ve been amazing guests for the SPCA. We’ve enjoyed having them and I think our fosters, a lot of them have fallen in love with the animals they’re fostering as well,” said Morash.
By Friday afternoon, they had already reunited almost 40 families with their pets.
“It’s heartwarming,” Morash said. “It almost brings a tear to the eye to see them reunite with their pets and give them big hugs.”
“People are just very, very happy and relieved to be able to reconnect with their pets and be together again.”
When the pets were brought in to the SPCA, they were all vaccinated. Then, the staff took pictures of the animals. They created a Facebook page with descriptions of each animal.
When someone recognizes their pet on the site, they can identify them and bring in a picture or legal paper as proof that the pet is theirs.
Although many owners are coming to claim their pets, Morash said they’re realistic that the same number may not.
“We’re prepared,” Morash explained. “It may be as many as 50 per cent.”
He said he estimates the number will be high because many of the dogs brought in were young puppies that may not be picked up.
Once 10 days pass after the evacuation orders have been lifted, unclaimed pets will become property of the SPCA. Usually, the time is shorter but Morash said they made a special exception for the unique circumstances.
Overall, Morash said he’s impressed with how well the situation has been handled.
“Throughout this whole time the volunteers, the staff and the community have all been amazing,” said Morash. “They’ve stepped up and we’ve received lots of help.”
“A big thank you to everyone who stepped up to help during this time.”
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