As the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world, some Canadian cities have been harder hit than others. As Canada’s largest city, Toronto had recorded over 10,000 COVID-19 cases and 800 deaths by the end of May and the impact of the pandemic on families, including pets, is being felt across the city. To help low income families in Toronto keep and care for their pets during the crisis, PetSmart Charities of Canada is supporting Toronto Animal Services with an Emergency Relief grant. The grant has allowed them to help by providing food, supplies, advice and support to pet parents who are experiencing hardship and struggling to care for their pets as a result of COVID-19. Pet parents like Rosemarie, who was laid off of her job due to the pandemic, and lives with compromised health. Toronto Animal Services was able to step in to help Rosemarie by providing pet food and supplies for her dog, Arya, so that she didn’t have to leave her house and risk exposure to the virus. “You have lightened the weight and stress on my shoulders during this difficult time,” says Rosemarie about receiving support. “Often times people forget about our furkids and they are our strength and love.”
Support When It’s Needed Most
Toronto Animal Services was also there to support Toronto resident Kelly, pet parent to two cats, Hashbrown and Oatmeal. After the pandemic hit, Kelly faced income loss when she was forced to close her flower shop, and the financial strain made it difficult to provide for them. “During these uncertain times, we are so grateful for the donation,” says Kelly. “They are helping to provide essentials for families who are coping with the financial strain that COVID-19 has placed on them. Thank you!”
Not only has Toronto Animal Services been there to help those who have lost income due to the pandemic, but they have also been able to help those in the community who are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. When pet parent Patti reached out to Toronto Animal Services for help, she was quarantined at home with COVID-19 symptoms. With four cats and two dogs in her family, she was in need of help to support their needs. Toronto Animal Services was able to provide food and supplies to help her pets stay healthy while Patti recovered. “I am very grateful for the help,” says Patti. “especially since I was too sick to go out on my own and buy their food and other things they needed.”
Protecting Pets by Planning Ahead
Toronto Animal Services is encouraging all pet parents to make a plan for their pets in the event they do become ill or hospitalized. “Having a plan in place for pets is critical to ensure their wellbeing while pet parents take care of themselves,” says Dr. Esther Attard, DVM, Director, Toronto Animal Services. “That’s why we’ve created a resource to help pet parents with preparedness planning, which can be found on the Toronto Animal Services website.” As uncertain as life amid the pandemic might seem, one thing that remains certain is PetSmart Charities of Canada’s commitment to supporting programs like this that help pet parents and their pets when they need it most.
To learn more about making an emergency preparedness plan for your pet, or accessing COVID-19 relief resources for pet parents, visit the Toronto Animal Services resource here