It started with a single dog adopted in 2010.
In 2020, despite the limitations of COVID-19 and pandemic lockdowns, Finding Them Homes – James Bay Pawsitive Rescue managed to rescue and find new homes for 394 dogs from the James Bay, Manitoulin Island and Thunder Bay areas.
In northern communities, a key challenge is the lack of available veterinary care. Unwanted litters, injured and abandoned dogs contribute to a dog overpopulation problem in the scattered communities of northern Ontario, where the closest care could be in Thunder Bay and accessible only by air.
Finding Them Homes was launched to provide an alternative.
The non-profit organization has been bringing rescued and surrendered dogs south to the Barrie area for veterinary treatment, fostering and finally finding a “forever home.”
Thanks to community donations and local volunteers, rescued dogs are treated by a veterinarian, spayed or neutered, fed, loved, and hopefully, adopted.
On Saturday, Finding Them Homes held a meet-and-greet and adoption event at the Cookstown Tanger Outlet Mall.
In an empty store inside the mall, over a three-hour period, a total of 12 rescued dogs had an opportunity to garner pats and treats, demonstrate their loveable characters, and tug on heartstrings.
There was Boady, a two-year-old “super-sweet” husky mix; Barney, a nine-month-old pup surrendered by his owner; Chester, a shepherd mix brought down for the north for emergency surgery and described by his foster family as a ”good dog, great personality!”; and Camino, another friendly two-year-old husky mix.
The hope was that at least some of the visitors who came through the doors would be inspired to donate, volunteer to provide a foster home for rescued dogs, or even bond with one of the rescued animals and decide to adopt.
"We are always looking for monetary donations to help pay for medical expenses of the dogs that come in," said Ashley Viger. "As well, we are always looking for new foster homes. The more foster homes we have, the more dogs we can help."
And yes, she said, a number of applications to adopt were received, as a result of the Tanger Outlet Mall meet-and-greet.
To date, Finding Them Homes has found forever homes for 3,437 dogs.
For more information on the charity, click here.
A fundraising fall photo shoot will take place at Thee Place for Paws dog spa and daycare in Innisfil on Oct. 16.