Throwing a birthday party? Think about donating to the SPCA instead of receiving presents.
© Submitted photo
A group of children, ranging between the ages of three to nine, recently put on a lemonade stand with all the proceeds to be donated to the SPCA. In the photo are Samiya, Ava, Carson, Aiden, Colby, Carter and Ty.
The Prince Albert SPCA gets a lot of support from children, who have lemonade stands and donate the money to the SPCA or ask friends to bring gifts for the animals at the SPCA instead of for them.
“We are seeing more and more of the youth bringing forth initiatives to support the pets in this community,” manager Debbie Lehner said.
She said a lot of the support comes from the birthday parties, where kids will ask their friends to bring items to donate to the SPCA instead of asking for toys for themselves.
“We hear that time and time again,” Lehner said.
In addition, they also receive support from schools, which put on bake sales or other fundraisers and young entrepreneurs setting up lemonade stands and donating any profit to the SPCA.
“They are all very creative and innovative ideas,” Lehner said. “We think of this age group of kids as the guardians of the future of these animals.”
The SPCA has a large presence in the city, which is why children think about them.
“I think they are hearing more and more about the pets,” she said. “They are seeing them at the Ag Fair, for example, that took place at the Ag Centre where 400 students went through.
“We had a gal that was celebrating her ninth birthday that came in and when I asked her why she was bringing presents to her pets instead of asking for presents for herself, she said, ‘I was at the Ag Fair and I got to meet your pets and hear your staff talk about the shelter and I thought they needed presents more than me.’”
It is also because the SPCA has volunteers willing to go out and educate others about the importance of the animal rescue.
“Education starts with the very young and we want to have really good guardians in the future for the pets that are shelters and the youth that are going to be running the shelter one day,” Lehner said. “You can’t do that without education. With us being out there, going into the schools, doing presentations and attending the city street fair, attending the Cosmo Home Show.
“There is a lot of education that takes place from the very young up to the senior.”
The items from the youngsters help out the pets and the shelter a lot more than people realize. The items brought to birthday parties include everything from toys and bones to food, collars and leashes.
“It is so very helpful that we don’t have to buy that because we can perhaps put those dollars into a spay and neuter program, into to a foster program or into animal rescue and investigation costs -- things like that,” Lehner said.
“The kids who do the hotdog sales, the lemonade stand and sell the scented pencils for 25 cents a pencil and raise $800 -- that’s’ a lot of pencils -- those dollars go where the need is most, be it a surgery that could be required for an animals or buy them supplies or help out with our transfer programs -- wherever the needs are.”
She said their biggest costs right now are related to animal welfare. On Tuesday, the SPCA took in a dog covered with porcupine quills in his mouth and nose, making it impossible for the animal to eat or drink and difficult to breathe.
“That is going to be a significant veterinary cost to the shelter in order to get all of those quills removed,” Lehner said. “Our need right now and our need always is mostly in medical care. It is our highest cost here at the shelter.”
The SPCA is glad the community is willing to donate to them, she said.
“We just really appreciate the support this community has given to our four-legged guests. Being in a brand new facility, we are going to be looking for the ongoing support of this community.”
On Wednesday, the Prince Albert branch of the Royal Bank of Canada was donating $1,000 to the SPCA as well. They recently sent a group of children and adults to help with spring clean up at the shelter.
The Prince Albert SPCA will soon be moving into their new facility.
“The new building is coming great,” manager Debbie Lehner said. “They are just putting on some finishing touches and we are hoping to start the move in a couple weeks.”
They would like to start the move at the end of next week and hope for a minimum 10 to 14-day move period.
“There is a grand opening being planned for July,” she said. “We are right pumped here and it is getting really, really exciting. We can’t wait to start moving in.”