Melissa David, of Parachutes for Pets and her dog Hudson are seen in Calgary, Alta., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Canadians urged to include pets in their COVID-19 emergency plans

That includes plans about who will care for them if the owner is hospitalized

Melissa David has seen the toll pandemic-related financial and physical strain can have on pet owners.

She runs a charity called Parachutes for Pets, which provides subsidized pet care including food hampers and medical care, for low-income residents.

“We put out 200 hampers the last two weeks of March. Normally we do about 25 a month to older people,” Bond said.

“People were literally sending us pictures of their last cup of food in their dog bag. We’re like okay we’re going to have to pool our resources and try to do what is absolutely urgent for the next month or so or however long this goes on.”

David feels strongly about making sure pets are taken care of during the COVID-19 outbreak. After all, she relies on her three dogs for support.

“They’re absolutely my lifeline. Just having their companionship and their support. My husband’s a truck driver so he’s not always home so having them is huge.”

Humane Canada, which represents humane societies and SPCAs across the country, is urging Canadians to consider their pets as part of their emergency preparedness.

“First of all, I’ve got to have enough in the house if I have to be quarantined then I need a couple of weeks of medicine and a couple of weeks of litter; a couple of weeks of food for my animals,” said Barbara Cartwright, the CEO of Humane Canada in Ottawa.

“What happens if I get sick and I get incapacitated or hospitalized? What’s the plan for my pet? Who will take care of them?” she asked.

“We’re recommending that people have at least three contacts that they can call upon to take care of their animals should they end up being hospitalized or they can no longer care for their own animals.”

Cartwright said the current pandemic has reinforced how important pets are in people’s lives. She said people also have to make sure that their furry friends observe social distancing from other animals and humans because in rare cases the animal can become infected as well.

“There’s no evidence that they can transmit to us but there is growing concern that we have to protect our pets from either getting it from other animals or getting it from other humans,” she said.

“If we’re sick we need to stay away from our animals.”

READ MORE: B.C. veterinarians want to smooth the fur of COVID-19-worried pet owners

Jeanette Simeonid of Calgary spends nearly every waking moment with her two French bulldogs. One is a year old, the other is three-and-a-half months.

“I think I would go nuts if I didn’t have them because at least I can take a break and go for a walk if I need to just to get some fresh air and they totally keep you company. There’s always someone to talk to, to laugh with,” she said.

“I don’t know what I would do without them. You’re never alone. Even if you’re quarantined you’re never alone.”

Joanne Ginter, a senior psychologist with Sundancer Psychological Services in Calgary, said one of the best ways to deal with anxiety or depression during the pandemic is to have a routine, and that’s something pets require from their owners.

“The pets give you a schedule, which I think is very important for people because schedules help with anxiety, schedules help with depression. It gives us something to do during the day,” she said.

“The pets give you connection to another living being,” Ginter said.

“Any time that you feel out of control it helps if you have someone else to care about and pets give you that.”

Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusPets

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

VIDEO: Saanich police tackle man who refused to move off Trans-Canada Highway

At this point, it is unclear why the man refused to move

Three people facing mischief charges after protests at Premier John Horgan’s home

Special prosecutor was appointed to avoid real or perceived undue influence

No one injured in suspicious Victoria boat fire, say investigators

Victoria police and fire personnel called to blaze on waters near Selkirk Trestle May 22

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Island Health signs working agreement to turn former Comox hospital into a ‘dementia village’

Island Health has signed a project development agreement with Providence Living to… Continue reading

Kelowna man charged with harming a hamster

The 20-year-old Kelowna man faces several animal cruelty charges

High tech fish transport system set up to ‘whoosh’ salmon past Big Bar landslide

Fish will spend roughly 20 seconds inside the system, moving at roughly 20 metres per second

Trudeau to seek 10 days of paid sick leave for Canadian workers, says talks are ongoing

Paid sick leave is key to keeping COVID-19 spread under control, prime minister says

Snowbirds jets will not be leaving Kamloops, just yet

The Snowbirds have been in Kamloops since May 17 when a plane crashed killing Capt. Jennifer Casey

Most Read