When Laraine Bloor and Sandra Carlson heard about the plight of Ace, the young Shih Tzu dog that had to be rescued from a roadside cage near the community of Midale, they knew that their plans to build an animal shelter there were on the right track.
Bloor, who spoke to The Mercury shortly after the story about Ace appeared in the newspaper, said that local efforts to provide temporary shelter and safety for abandoned animals in the Midale area are moving forward rapidly.
“Your story said that the men who rescued Ace knew there was no humane society shelter in Midale to take him to, so they took him to Estevan's,” said Bloor. “Well, pretty soon that shouldn't be necessary.”
The Midale shelter will be built on the outskirts of the town, along Highway 606, and will be visible from Highway 39, especially once the signs are installed.
Bloor said she has nearly five acres available on her property and she was willing to donate some of that for the shelter that will measure 28 x 62 feet and will be located not too far from her house and a nearby small red barn that will also be used for housing the rescued, abandoned or relinquished animals.
It might perhaps be used as a quarantine area when the cats or dogs need to recover from illness or injury, just like two young kittens that are currently quarantined in her home after being rescued from the local landfill. They have since been taken to the veterinarian and are recovering nicely but needed to be isolated for awhile, she said. The proposed site and auxiliary setup have already been visited by a health inspector and the temporary measures plus the plans for the new building have been approved for certification as an official humane shelter.
Bloor said she and Carlson have visited the Estevan, Regina, Weyburn and Saskatoon Humane Societies to learn more about what is required.
“The new shelter is being paid for by an anonymous donor, which is a big help because this is a small community. It will be staffed by volunteers whose phone numbers will be posted. We have obtained the services of a veterinarian who will do the spaying and neutering for us and we'll have a formal adoption process in place,”
Bloor said the shelter has received the blessing and official green light from the RM of Cymri as well as the Town of Midale and has been registered as a non-profit organization which will give donors a tax receipt advantage.
“Eventually we'll probably be able to handle goats or horses or other larger animals if need be, anything but snakes, I might have an issue with snakes,” she said with a laugh.
The shelter will be a stand-alone facility, with the nearby barn pressed into service if required, just as it is now with five or six stalls already built and in use to house about a half-dozen cats and kittens that were recent rescues or relinquished by previous owners.
“We made changes that were required following the health inspection, and the barn is working for now,” Bloor said, hoping that the pole-style shelter can be built before the onset of winter. Until it goes up, the Midale Humane Society will not be in a position to accept many more animals.
“The legal work is finished, the health inspection is completed and the plans are approved and the lumber has arrived and the excavation work is complete,” said Bloor.
The metal-clad shelter will contain pens that are seven feet deep for dogs with an outside trap door that will give them another seven feet of space for a small run. The next big step will be the organization of committees to take care of the daily details and operations.
“Gosh, we can use all the help anyone cares to give us,” said Bloor. “And the more money we can raise, the more we can do. SaskEnergy has provided us with a bursary for an original installation for their services to a non-profit as has SaskPower, and the Town of Midale has promised us a dedicated waterline as their donation and the RM (Cymri) is providing us with an annual grant for general operations. So we're pushing hard to make it happen.
We're out there looking for donations of towels, portable pet carriers and pet food. We've made arrangements with a local retail food outlet for them to bring in the food we'll need. We have some senior citizens on the committee already. We've actually been working toward this goal for some time already. Since last November we've been able to bring in $24,000 through various fundraising projects,” Bloor said.
Those wishing to receive more information, or who are thinking about donations or volunteering may contact the Midale group at 458-2313.