Salvation Army launches pilot project for pet-friendly shelter

Staff hope it will reduce barriers for people on the street in Abbotsford

Dogs owned by Salvation Army staff try out a new kennel

Dogs owned by Salvation Army staff try out a new kennel

The Salvation Army in Abbotsford launched a pilot project for a pet-friendly shelter on Wednesday, in an effort to reduce the barriers to homeless people coming into the Centre of Hope shelter.

At a ribbon cutting on Tuesday, Nate McCready, the community ministries director, said that not being a pet-friendly shelter kept some people from accessing services and shelter at Salvation Army.

He said that for some homeless people, their pets keep them going.

“You shouldn’t have to give your pet up to sleep inside.”

McCready said that to their knowledge, it is the first pet-friendly pilot project for Salvation Army facilities in Canada.

He explained that it took five months from the idea to getting the project launched. He said if it goes well, it may be encouraged in other Salvation Army locations.

McCready said by allowing people with pets to come inside, staff are able to connect with both the pets and owners.

The Centre of Hope, located on Gladys Avenue, also received donations for the project.

They were given a kennel by Buckerfield’s, a dog house from Hero Dog Houses and supplies from the SPCA to help provide care for the animals. McCready added that the animals will also be able to stay alongside their owners in the shelter.

The centre will have an ongoing partnership with the SPCA as well as assistance from local veterinarian Dr. Kelly O’Blenis of Bakerview Pet Hospital. McCready also thanked the city for supporting the idea.

He said they also hope to hold a pet day, where services can be provided to those who cannot afford to bring their animals a vet.

He said that donations to support the pilot project will be accepted. To contact the Centre of Hope call 604-852-9305 or visit www.careandshare.ca.