I have as most known, been very involved in the local Animal Care/Adoption Associations with my husband’s band’s Charity concerts. My interest in this was cemented with the adoption of our dog Gunner, who was a rescue puppy. Gunner had been abandoned at 8 weeks of age in a forest by someone who had neither conscience nor heart. After seeing an ad in the local paper with his face, Jim and I drove to Tillsonburg to pick him up. Gunner has become, along with Tango our cat, members of our family and we cherish and love them both immensely. Gunner has a Queen Size bed to himself, a leather couch to stretch out on and more love and affection than he can handle. Tango is the Princess of the house, rules Gunner by a deficit of 95 pounds, enjoys daily treats along with her brother Gunner, and never has to worry about being cold, wet or hungry.
The very sad reality is that many, many animals do not have a life like Gunner and Tango. Some are abused, some escape a loving home by accident and never find their way back home, and some are bought for special occasions such as Christmas, Birthdays and the recipient for whatever reason can’t accommodate a pet.
For the animals that are lost or stray, there is a sanctuary for them here in London – London Animal Care Centre, which is located on Pine Valley Crescent in Westmount, close to Byron and Lambeth. For some people, they think of the Center as Animal Control and a negative stigma is attached to the facility and staff who work there for all the wrong reasons.
I visited the Center and had the extreme pleasure of meeting Lori who is the Senior Animal Handler, and Shannon who is one of the young ladies who takes such amazing care of these dogs/cats.
The Center can accommodate 120 Cats and 30 Dogs; the number fluctuates depending on circumstance. The Officers that work for the Center that we as the general public see in the white vans are dedicated and compassionate about the animals that they come across on a daily basis. The Officers deal with multiple issues such as Dog at Large, Cat Trespassing, number of animals at a residence, failure to “pick-up” after a pet, bite investigations, licensing and identification of London’s pets.
The London Animal Care Centre is responsible for housing and caring for all the lost or stray pets within the City of London. The doors NEVER CLOSE. The animals sheltered there are someone’s pets whose owner cannot be immediately identified, thus the reason the Centre stress’ identification of ALL pets. The attending staff is always on guard for the safety and well being of the animals. Illness and disease is always a constant threat due to the wide range of pets being housed, many of which have no prior history of vaccinations.
At the end of the day, the Center’s main function provided by the Animal Care Technicians is Lost & Found – to reunite owners with their lost pets, and Adoption for the animals that have not been claimed for whatever reason.
In my 1st visit there, Lori, who was very friendly and accommodating, met me. Lori had been a professional in another career before becoming the Main Handler at The Centre. She introduced herself to me by offering a warm handshake, and then took me into the “Visiting Room” where we waited for Zuzzi to be introduced to me. On the wall were charts which were interesting and incredible brilliant in their purpose.
MYM is an acronym for Meet Your Match. The program is used by the Centre as a way to match up a particular dog/cat to a potential owner. There are charts for both Dogs and Cats - each of which has categories like Companion, Life of The Party, and Goofball for dogs.
There are charts with names like Secret Admirer, Love Bug, and Executive for cats. Each category specifies the individual character traits of a Dog or Cat that makes their personality so specific. The result is the staff can match up a particular Dog or Cat to an owner such as an elderly person, who wants a cuddly cat as opposed to one that is full of so much energy and on the go for 24 hours.
Within minutes, Shannon, a bright and very knowledgeable Animal Care Technician entered the room with Zuzzie – it was love.
Zuzzie is a 5-year-old spayed female Rottweiler. She was found on the side of Wonderland Road on October 24th with a tattoo of “76A” on the inside of her right ear. Zuzzie was adorable. A longer and thinner Rottie as opposed to one with broad shoulders and barrel chest, she was friendly with me in moments. The more affection and love I cascaded on her, the more she opened up to me in terms of snuggling and companionship. In discussion with Lori and Shannon, I was informed that Zuzzi is great with people and other dogs, not so good with cats.
Then an exception was made that allowed me to have access to the kennels where the dogs are all kept. Upon entering the room I noticed there were about 6 runs on one side. Each run had a dog within it; each dog had a comfy bed and bowls for water/food. As Lori allowed me to walk the corridor, one dog in particular was sitting up straight, as soon as she saw Jim – the dog lied down as flat as paper on her belly in a display of utter and complete submission as if she had done something terribly wrong. Lori explained that she was terrified of males; her response to Jim was probably due to her being beaten multiple times by a male. It made our hearts crack at her fear for no reason.
All in all, the state of the animal’s care was excellent – both in their surroundings and by the caring staff of the Centre.
I look forward in the weeks to come of doing a Blog on these animals and the wonderful work the Centre is doing. If it brings to someone’s attention a pet that can find a new and loving home, it will make this so worthwhile. These animals need help and lots of love and affection that is my goal.