All dogs go to homes – or at least in St. John’s they do

Shelter canines that go up for adoption often get hundreds of applications.

Ella Burke

While other communities have full shelters, rescue dogs in St. John’s are in high demand.

Dogs or puppies that get brought into shelters get adopted back out almost immediately.

At the city-run Animal Care Adoption Centre on Higgins Line, there are a lot of cats available to bring home, but no dogs. Cindy McGrath is the manager at the centre and has been working there for 11 years. Over the last few years she says there has been a drastic change in the number of dogs they see at the shelter on any given day.

“We traditionally had anywhere from eight to 12 dogs on a regular basis,” McGrath.

“Now sometimes we have no dogs. We’ve had no dogs for several weeks at a time.”

Normally the shelter staff doesn’t see more than four dogs at any one time. And the dogs they do see get adopted pretty quickly.

“Now what happens is when they get adopted out, a lot of the time they aren’t coming back in again,” she said.

In the past, people would adopt dogs and then bring them back for various reasons. That’s now the exception to the rule, she says.

“You could tell that he wasn’t happy. “

Rebecca Oxford

There are still some rescue dogs ready to be adopted through places such as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. But for the most part such dogs are on the west coast of Newfoundland and in Labrador.

Rebecca Oxford is a nursing student who used to volunteer at the SPCA in St. John’s. While she was there Sammy entered the shelter and her life.

“I noticed he was the only dog that wasn’t excited to see a person,” Oxford said.

“He didn’t really like being in the kennel there. You could tell that he wasn’t happy. So, I ended up fostering him and I ended up keeping him.”

While working at the SPCA, she said it seemed like dogs would come in waves. Either the kennels were completely full, or totally empty. And that when they did come in, they didn’t stay long.

“Which is a good thing.”

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