Sioux Looks Out for Paws gears up for winter
Mike Lawrence - Staff Writer
While Sioux Looks Out for Paws Animal Rescue remains busy year-round, the arrival of cooler temperatures means the shelter needs to be prepared for the influx of winter rescues that the cold weather can bring, and as always there are things the community can do to help.
As Lynda Ducharme, Sioux Looks Out for Paws, Chair explains, “We’ve had a very busy year. We’ve managed to get through the years of COVID with limited fundraising, but we have a great community, we’ve had a lot of support. Adoption rates have really increased. A lot of people have been working from home, so it was a good time to introduce an animal. Especially dogs, if you’re training. We also have had a lot more volunteers, but we are certainly looking for more volunteers, if anyone’s interested. We definitely could use them, (the animals) are a lot of work.”
As for specific needs, Ducharme continued “The first thing, that I just mentioned, is volunteers. It takes a lot of shifts to do the animal care. We have a lot of volunteers, it’s just that it’s been busy. They’re tired. The second thing is with winter approaching, since winter is a critical time for rescue, we need foster homes. We have limited space where we are. Every year there are always animals that are in need of shelter desperately, so if anyone is ever interested, we provide everything.”
Of course, one of the rescues primary goals is the adoption of the pets in their care. Ducharme went on to say, “The third thing would be of course adoption. We have some older cats, we are pretty much full of older cats right now… so if anyone is interested in looking for a cat at this time, it would be great. Other than that, we do need wet food, both dog and cat wet food. Other than that, we are doing great.”
As for tips for keeping our furry friends safe during the winter months, Ducharme had a few reminders for pet owners. “We recommend that animals not be left out in cold temperature for a long period of time, because even if they are deemed as dogs that are ‘for winter’ like huskies, etc., they can still freeze, and their paws can freeze. We see lots of frozen ears every year, lots of frozen tails. We’ve had instances where moms have tried to keep puppies warm and the puppies froze. If they are dogs that don’t have thick fur, make sure they are covered or only out for short periods of time. Watch for cats that can get up into your wheel wells or underneath your car to get warm. We’ve seen lots of burnt eyes, stuff like that, people don’t realize and start their car. What they recommend is people just going and gently kicking your vehicle, and when you start it up, wait a few seconds. Most people do (this anyway) because they warm up their cars.”
Ducharme feels that, overall, we are a community of responsible pet owners. As she points out, “It’s a good town! Everyone looks out for everyone’s animals. When we first started the rescue, we were part of the Second Chance (Pet Network), and we’d see so many animals out (in the elements)… it would be heartbreaking. They could be hit, or frozen. Since the awareness has been out there and people are getting involved, it’s really decreased.”
The Ontario SPCA and Humane Society offers some tips for keeping pets safe through the winter months. These include but are not limited to: Never leave your cat or dog alone in a cold car, as cars can hold in the cold, essentially acting as refrigerators. Keep pets warm. If it’s too cold for you, it’s too cold for them. While some breeds are better at withstanding colder temperatures, they still need adequate shelter to get out of the elements. Keep pets away from winter puddles as these can contain ethylene glycol (antifreeze) which may be fatal if ingested. Wipe your pets’ paws and underside after being outside, as salt can irritate and burn, and can also be fatal if ingested. Be aware of cats seeking warmth under vehicle hoods, giving the hood a knock can scare them away before starting the car. Prepare an emergency pet survival kit as you never know when a storm might keep you from being able to leave the house for extended periods. More winter pet safety tips can be found at the Ontario SPCA website- https://bit.ly/3GMMtWa.