An added layer of complexity exists for pet owners who are told they need to evacuate their homes. You want to make sure you have enough basic supplies in your grab-and-go bag for several weeks, but you also know you need to provide entertainment and stress relief for your pets too. Some families may even wonder if it’s better to board their animals temporarily to give them a safe, stable environment. Not to mention the different needs and steps to take when evacuees with animals need to access emergency support and services.
When the wildfires spread quickly across West Kelowna and into Kelowna and Lake Country, the BC SPCA Community Animal Centre in Kelowna witnessed first-hand how many amazing people in the community understood and empathize with the evacuees who had to flee their homes with their animals. An emergency supply centre was set up to accept donations of pet food, cat litter, crates, and various linens for our evacuated neighbours. We were blown away by the sheer number of people who brought in donations. It was such a humbling experience to have truckloads of supplies arrive all day, every day, and into the evenings. Your support and encouragement is so appreciated, and we thank you.
Over the past few weeks, the BC SPCA has had the privilege of caring for the pets of evacuees who needed help keeping their animals safe, secure, fed, and loved until they could be reunited. Our Animal Protection Officers were able to get behind evacuation lines to rescue or feed pets who needed to remain in place. We even worked with our other BC SPCA Community Animal Centres to transfer the adoptable animals in care in Kelowna to make room to temporarily board the pets of evacuees.
There were a number of other community and partner organizations and corporations who made donations, helped distribute supplies to evacuees, and even helped take care of our own volunteers and staff, that we want to thank directly:
• Animal Lifeline Emergency Response Team (ALERT)
• BlkBox meals through Darryl Reuter
• Hill’s Pet Nutrition
• Kelly O’Bryan’s
• Khalsa Aid
• Lend A Paw – the Okanagan’s pet food bank
• Mamas for Mamas
• Okanagan Humane Society
• Pets Alive
• RC Pets
• Regional District of Central Okanagan Animal Control
As non-profit partners serving our community, we were so grateful for the coordination and collaboration which meant supplies could get where they needed to go. We could not have done this without the generosity of this community.
It takes all of us, together, to care for the animals that are such a big part of our lives, and we know the job is not done yet. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your amazing and ongoing support for the work of the BC SPCA.
Senior Manager, Animal Care Services, Kelowna