With groups of puppies already huddling together for warmth, Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner notes that things will only get worse.
“Here at the shelter, the dogs are on cold cement floors, so this year we have a goal to get them all off the cold floors and get them onto beds with blankets,” she said.
In hopes of getting 50 beds donated, the SPCA has initiated a dog bed blitz, with a few beds already donated.
“They’re just about indestructible for dogs who tend to chew,” Lehner said of the beds.
“They hold up to all the hosing scrubbing and chemicals we use, and we just think it would be an added feature and a more homelike environment for a kennel.”
With 10 beds at the SPCA already, the additional 50 would ensure that all dogs housed in their indoor and outdoor kennels are accounted for.
The anticipation is that the SPCA will remain at or near capacity all winter.
“Our adoption numbers tend to decrease,” Lehner explained. “People don’t tend to want to come out in -35 below weather to come and adopt a pet.”
With every step forward comes a step backward, she said. Their latest cat adoption blitz had 38 cats adopted within a week, but they’d been replenished a week thereafter.
The same thing happened with a puppy adoption blitz, which saw 12 new puppies come in to replace the 12 adopted out.
Here at the shelter, the dogs are on cold cement floors, so this year we have a goal to get them all off the cold floors and get them onto beds with blankets. - Prince Albert SPCA manager Debbie Lehner
“The community steps up, and it’s so inspiring when they come forward and they adopt, and within five days we are back to the way it was the week before,” Lehner said. “Sometimes it’s disheartening.”
It all ties to the basic message SPCA staff and volunteers hammer home on a constant basis for people to spay or neuter their pets.
Going into the winter months, the SPCA has a number of additional pieces of advice they’d like the public to consider.
Pets must, by law, have shelters outdoors, and must not be tied up with rope any shorter than 12 feet in length, if they’re tied up.
When it comes to shelters, straw bale insulation is a good option, SPCA assistant manager Leanne Roberts suggested.
“If you place them around a doghouse and you have a straw bale entranceway, it blocks the wind, and it’s cheap,” she said.
When places like garages are used for shelters, make sure that anti-freeze and other deadly materials are cleaned up and not accessible, she cautioned.
Those interested in purchasing a dog bed for the SPCA can find out more information about the initiative on their website, online at www.princealbertspca.com.