The Bide Awhile Humane Shelter for Lost and Homeless Animals is a private animal shelter about to celebrate it’s 50th anniversary.
Located in Dartmouth, the Bide Awhile shelter is a drop off and adoption center which primarily focuses on cats and dogs of all ages. They open their doors to most situations for surrendered and rescued animals and adoptive families.
At the shelter, the mostly volunteer based and staff are a team of enthusiastic and well trained people who have a variety of duties within the shelter. From basic handlers and caregivers to medical and health care, all the staff provide care and compassion to both the animals in their care and the people who come to the shelter to either surrender an animal or to possibly apply for adoption of an animal.
They understand that circumstances can play a heavy affect on the well being of an animal in a home that may not be able to provide proper care for their pet and what process it takes to decide on the long term commitment of adopting a new family friend into the home.
The adoption process is based on several major factors which is assessed upon the first visit to the shelter. An application is filled out and a tour of the ready to adopt animals is arranged. A possible adoptive family can interact with the animals, finding the perfect match. The family and the animals are observed by the staff to see how they interact. Specific animal needs are also discussed, especially in terms of older animals, animals with health issues and dog breeds.
The shelter looks to find forever homes and if there is any doubt in the long term placing of an animal, the staff will discuss and work with the adoptive family to try to find a more suitable solution.
All animals who are adopted are fully up to date on their health records and needs, fixed, and microchipped.
To help the communities with pet care, they also offer several great services.
The first, and most popular program they offer, is a low priced spay or neuter program for qualifying households. They fully understand that animal companionship shouldn’t be limited by finances, so a family can apply for the program online or in person. If approved, the shelter, who use specific veterinarians in the HRM, will arrange the surgery.
By offering this program, it helps to keep the pet population under control.
An incredible program they have also introduced involves pregnant or newly deliverd puppies and kittens. The shelter will now allow families to surrender new kittens and puppies (once properly weened from the mother ofcourse) to be surrendered in exchanged for a free neuter or spaying of the mother animal. This involves the surrendering of all the newborns. More information about this program can be obtained from their website and Facebook page.
Surrendering animals also have a specific routine, including isolation of a new arrival so that health checks, including blood work to rule out serious infections or diseases. Eventually, as the animals clear vet checks, they will have opporotunities to mix and meet other animals of their kind. These interactions can also determine how an animal could fit into a new home, if they have conflicting personalities against other animals and other interactions. Cats have a large open area where they can roam and nap, and dogs also have an open area where they can mix and play. The staff also ensures considerable excercise and play time which keeps the animals active and happy. Surrendered animals primarily come from personal surrenders. The Bide Awhile shelter does not contract with the city, meaning animal control or other city related surrenders are not as likely to occur, but in some cases may happen.
Bide Awhile has many interactive programs as well, some of which are part of their fundraising programs and some which are community based.
Several programs they offer, aimed at giving back to the community, involves a book program for schools and other resources, and comfort animal programs meant to bring the joy of animal companionship to those who may lack the day to day companionship of a loving pet.
The books are a program where the shelter compiled 2 books, one for dogs and one for cats, which aims to educate children on the needs of proper care for our pets, including the importance of population control and the fact that pet ownership comes with requirements and needs. These books have proven to be quite popular, and the shelter offers in house book readings and education sessions for childrens groups. The books are in many school libraries also.
Fundraising is an important part of the shelter.
One of the more interesting fundraisers is the enjoyable “Cat Yoga” which they offer in house. With 2 upcoming events, one on March 17th and one coming up on April 21st, this program mixes yoga with, well, cats. A room full of cats.
An upcoming dinner and a show, to be held in Halifax, will also help the shelter.
They shelter also participates every year in the Bluenose Marathon, taking donations for runners to run on their behalf or support runners for their shelter. Information on all these events and more can be found on their website and Facebook (page listed below)
The funds are used to care for the hundreds of animals they see over the year. Personal donations of money or needed items, such as food, kitty liter or even new toys, can be made to the shelter as well, which helps in every way.
During the tour of the Bide Awhile shelter, we were shown the various rooms and some of the many animals, at this time all cats with no dogs currently on site, and it was observed with how professional the staff were and how clean the rooms were kept. The animals on site were clean and healthy looking, and were very interactive, waiting for their shot at a loving forever home.
Find them online at http://bideawhile.org
And on Facebook