Learning about dog adoption at an Animatch clinic
They wait by the entrance, but once their name is called, the frenzy begins. They rush into the room with wide eyes and open mouths looking for companions. Some prefer to sit, observing the fun from afar, others fancy running around with their new friends. In this room, time flies as both visitors and dogs enjoy each other’s company.
On Oct. 14, the Doggy Café in the Plateau welcomed visitors as they hosted an adoption clinic for the non-profit organization Animatch. Animatch is a shelter for dogs who were either abandoned or part of the commercial breeding industry. With over 100 volunteers, the organization welcomes about 30 dogs to the shelter every month and find homes for over 300 dogs each year.
Each week, Animatch holds at least four adoption clinics in and around the city. The organization is looking to de-mystify the process of adoption. “We are here to inform people on how to adopt a dog and answer all of their questions, but also to correct common misbeliefs, like all shelter animals are sick,” said Andrea St-Pierre, a veterinarian assistant and volunteer at Animatch.
For Christine Blanchette, who has been volunteering with the organization for over 10 years, adoption clinics are also a way of opposing commercial breeders. “Not only is the adoption fee the same for all breeds, but also, bringing [shelter dogs] to the clinics allows people to see they are just like any other dog,” she said.
When the dogs are rescued, they may suffer from physical injuries, diseases or traumas. In such instances, the dog will be sent to a veterinarian to be fully treated. The dogs then have time to recover and be trained at the shelter before being put up for adoption. “Every week, we have a car full of dogs heading to the vet for checkups and treatments,” St-Pierre said. “We also have an animal trainer that comes to the shelter to evaluate each animal’s temperament and train them.”
Relying on adoption fees and donations, Animatch sterilizes, vaccinates, de-worms and treats our four-legged friends against fleas, mites and ticks before they come to our homes. “We often have arts auctions, garage or bakery sales and special seasonal events which are of great help to collect funds,” St-Pierre said, adding that, unlike a decade ago, social media allows for a more constant collection of funds.
Animatch performs strict screenings on adoption requests to ensure the best match between a dog and owner. According to Blanchette, the extensive application form makes sure the home environment would be suitable for the dog. “We also check on the dog and owner after it is placed. If the match is not working, we will reimburse the owner and take the dog back,” she said. “But to avoid things like that, we have a waitlist system for the perfect match.” Blanchette and St-Pierre agreed this bond is what they strive for. “All we want is for the dogs and the owners to be happy,” Blanchette said.