Across B.C, finding pet-friendly buildings is becoming harder and harder to find. This issue is amplified for many residents in the Downtown Eastside, where many low-income people and families struggle to make ends meet.
In an effort to create more pet-friendly buildings, Atira launched its Pet Outreach program in October 2021 and is offered to tenants and residents of Atira buildings in the DTES, including supportive housing, transitional programs and shelters operated by Atira Women’s Resource Society, Atira Development Society and Atira Property Management.
The creation of our Pet Outreach program came from finding a major need for pet services in the DTES and from our residents. For our tenants and residents, their pets are often the only family that they have and provide valuable support and companionship. By starting this program, we continue to provide support for our tenants’ and residents’ well-being and ensuring that the pets in our building are well taken care of.
The program works with the BC SPCA, Community Vet Outreach and Vancouver Humane Society to provide many services for the pets in our buildings including essential needs (food, litter, toys), training plans for tenants and staff, room support, travel assistance for medical appointments and support to access to emergency veterinary care. The program also offers pet boarding through outside agencies for people in crisis.
The work that our Pet Outreach program provides is clearly meeting a missing need in the DTES. Within the first 5 months of the program launch, our Pet Outreach team made over 840 visits to tenants, residents, and their pets. Out of these visits, 26% of the services requested were for vet care, as reported in our Pet Outreach Evaluation Report.
Unfortunately, while the Pet Outreach program responds to this serious need for pet services in the DTES, our resources do not match the high need for our services. There are approximately 320 pets living in the 29 buildings that are serviced regularly. This number is constantly changing as the Pet Outreach team reported that new pets come and go every day!
To help us help our residents and their pets, Atira’s Pet Outreach Program is raising money to support the tenants and animals in our buildings to help cover the cost of spay and/or neuter surgeries for their pet for the month of September. As we reported in our previous post, spay and neutering not only prevents overpopulation – it helps prevent injuries, pregnancy or birth-related health complications that could require emergency veterinary care.
By donating $50, you can help us cover the cost of a single pet’s spay or neuter surgery, tattoo and a one-year microchip registration. For more information on our campaign and how to donate, please click here.
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