Saying a Good Goodbye: Practical Strategies to Help Families Through Foster Care Transitions

Parker holding a foster catBy: Parker Pothier

One reason many families are hesitant to try fostering is because they are worried about or afraid of the process of saying goodbye. Specifically, families often worry about how their kids will handle the goodbye and that they will never be able to “let them go.”

Though saying goodbye can be hard, I assure you, it is not impossible, and it doesn’t have to be as bad as you think! In fact, I have some great strategies that may help you and your kids prepare for the goodbyes and cope with the grief that comes after your foster pet has moved on to their new home.

These are only suggestions, you know your family and what will work for you—take what’s helpful, leave what’s not, and adapt as needed!

1. Start with the end

When you are thinking of fostering or taking in a new pet, remind everyone in the family, adults included, that this is a temporary visitor who is not going to live with you forever. From day 1, keep in mind that this is not your pet, this pet belongs to somebody else and is staying with you for now.

2. Tell the pet about what kind of home you want for them

Verbally saying things like this out loud gets your brain used to the idea that they’re leaving. “I can’t wait to find you a home with no other pets so you can be so comfy there as the king of the castle,” or “I hope they have lots of things that are high up for you to jump and climb on!” or “You are going to have the best life once we find you a home with another doggy or kitty for you to play with!” This can be great dinner table conversation!

3. Get your kids involved in the bio writing and photo taking

Get the kids to write or draw pictures of what the ideal family for your foster animal would be! Get their input! Their “job” is to find the cat or dog a great home, and part of that is dreaming and imagining what that might look like! “What colour of collar or bow tie should we put on the doggy for his adoption photo shoot?” “Do you think a nice photo of our foster dog in the park would help a new family see how friendly and pretty the dog is?” “Do you think our foster cat would get along well with other cats?” “Do you think our foster dog has lots of energy, or just a little bit of energy?” Then, you can send your kids’ input along with your own to the Zoe’s team when it comes time to write their bio!

4. As soon as there’s an application, prepare for goodbye

“Hey kids! We got an application to adopt our foster dog! That’s so exciting, and also kind of sad!” Even if the application doesn’t move forward, let them know an application was received and why it did or didn’t get approved. It’s an exciting thing that your pet is wanted, and also good exposure to the goodbye process, even if the inquirers aren’t a good fit. Have the kids make a list for the potential adopters of questions they want to make sure are asked, and maybe get them to help demo some tricks to the potential adopters when they come over for their meet-and-greet!

5. Tell the animal about their new home

This is the same concept as telling them what you’re going to look for. “Foster kitty, I think we found a great home for you! We got an application from a lovely couple who don’t have any kids and want a kitty to keep them company!” “Foster dog, I’m so excited this morning because today some really lovely people are going to come for a visit to see if they want to adopt you!”

Get the kids to draw pictures for the animal of what their new family will look like (the people, the type of dwelling, etc). You can even have the kids be the ones to break the good news to the animal! This will also help the kids learn who is getting the pet, and get comfortable with the idea of what the animal’s new stellar life is going to look like, and reassures them that the animal is going to a great home.

You can also encourage them to write goodbye cards or notes or draw goodbye pictures that you can send along with the adoptive family. They can also help choose a toy to send along with the animal to their new family, to help them feel comfortable.

6. Be realistic about how animals process transition, and don’t turn your animals into humans

Although animals do have thoughts and emotions, they don’t have human thoughts and emotions. They don’t wonder, to an existential level, where you went. They are very “in the moment” and in their new home they are likely thinking, “Oh this is different. This smells funny. All familiarity has escaped me. This is very different!” as opposed to thinking, “Where is my old family? Why didn’t they want me? I miss them so much!”

After a while, just like your foster animal got comfortable with you, they will get comfortable with their new family. You can reassure your kids that your pets do not have feelings that are the same as humans and are not cognitively processing this transition as a personal abandonment.

7. Have a “nesting” phase between foster animals

The nesting phase that happens between foster animals can be very intentional and therapeutic if you want it to be. As a family, you now get to engage in this fun routine where you clean all the bowls, wash the beds and blankets, and set your space up fresh! Kids may love to help set up the cat room that a new foster may hang out in for its first few days in your home, or they might like the opportunity to choose a new location for your new dog’s water bowls to go. You can even facilitate a special trip to one of Zoe’s supply locations to trade out the old bowls for new ones, pick out a new colour for your new foster’s collar, and get some fresh treats!

8. Remember: This goodbye is different than losing a family pet

Saying goodbye to a family pet you have had for many years can be extremely painful. When people imagine saying goodbye to a foster animal, many of them imagine how painful it was when they had to euthanize their family pet(s), or how much it hurt to re-home them after a major life transition. This is a short-term relationship with an animal that is not yours. Typically, you will have a foster pet for 2-6 months. In some cases, families have fosters for longer periods of time, but overall, it is a very short-term relationship. These goodbyes can be fun, too, because you got to help a pet find a forever home, and then you get to say hello to a new foster pet very shortly after!

9. Prepare them ahead of time for adoption day

Before and on adoption day, remind them what’s going to happen and encourage them to be part of it if they want to be. I love to make my foster “presentable” for their new family, so I give them a good brush and maybe even some dry shampoo and get them all ready. The kids might even like to take this time to write goodbye letters, share favourite stories and memories, and talk to the animal about hopes you have for their future.

If your kid doesn’t want to say goodbye or be part of adoption day, that’s okay. Don’t force them, and then afterwards, process it with them. “How did it feel to stay in your room when our foster cat was getting adopted? Did that work for you and feel okay? If it didn’t work for you and you feel like you regret that, is there anything you’d like to do differently next time so you can have the goodbye you wanted? Is there anything you wish you had for support that we haven’t been able to give you so that you feel like you can have a good goodbye? Do you want to say goodbye differently ahead of time, and then still make a plan to not be around when the new family picks them up? Would it work better for you if we made plans for you to be out with grandma or a friend while the new family picks the dog up?”

They may find that being removed from adoption day is genuinely helpful or fine for them, so process it and be open to following their lead. This is their grief journey that they will walk alongside for the rest of their lives in many ways. Kids will experience loss over and over and over as they grow – these foster care goodbyes are great practice for them to learn what works for them when they are grieving.

10. It’s okay to be sad

Loss is an inevitably sad time! Try to avoid telling them not to cry or be sad and let them feel what they feel. If they aren’t talking about it, ask them how they feel. You aren’t going to “make” them sad. If you ask how they feel and they start crying, they were already sad. They likely will become focused on the new foster pet when it arrives, and the sadness will get some redirection. Having photos of the foster animals you have had may help as well! I plan on one day printing out a picture of each of my fosters and having a dedicated space in my apartment for those photos. Maybe your kid needs to hang onto the dog’s old collar for a while, or maybe they would like to have a photo by their bed or in a special album.

11. Kids play through most things that bother them

No matter where you grew up, play was your first language. Kids learn and process things through play. Try to play imagination games with them, where maybe you pretend you’re adopting a new pet and someone in the game is the foster family and can play out that role too. Let the kid take the lead. Look for other ways in their play that they’re saying goodbye and take that as a sign they’re working through it. Did you see them playing with their cars, and someone got in a crash and died? Were they playing with their stuffed animals and then gave one to you and asked you to take care of it? There are so many themes in play that we miss that are actually related directly to experiences our kids are working through day-to-day. 

12. If they’re struggling, get help

If you have any concerns or worries about how your kids are processing grief, bring them to a play therapist who can support your kids in finding ways to process and explore their experiences. The play therapist can also help you as the parents learn how to have these conversations and help your kiddo at home as well. If you need referrals for mental health support for you or your kids, call 211, a nation-wide 24/7 help line that can connect people to low-cost mental health services.

Parker has been fostering cats since 2019 and has been a foster cat-dad with Zoe’s Animal Rescue since 2021. Along with fostering cats, Parker has a special passion for working with grieving children and teens. They have facilitated expressive arts-based grief support groups for kids and teens at Pilgrims Hospice Society since 2015. In addition to developing and leading grief workshops and webinars in settings such as conferences, non-profits, and schools, Parker frequents the Child and Youth Care program classrooms at MacEwan University, teaching students about issues related to working with grieving children, teens, and families. Parker is a Therapeutic Support Counsellor at One Tree Psychological and Therapeutic Services, a Community Resource Specialist with the Canadian Mental Health Association, and is a Sandplay Therapy Intern with the Canadian Association for Sandplay Therapy.

Further reading:
Why Foster?
Why I Rescue: A Foster Mom Forever

Who Rescues Who?

By: Andrea Young

We’ve all heard the phrase and we all know the answer. Every pet I’ve had has always come when I’ve needed them. Good times and in bad. They have all had a story, and it’s usually a bad one.

People in rescue are like that too.  We are a diverse group with varying upbringings. Some traumatic, some abusive, some neglectful, some spiteful, and some loveless.

I was one of the lucky ones until I wasn’t.

We lost my eldest son to violence. My world imploded. I had been a single parent and I felt my purpose was no more, or so I thought.

I had to start taking care of me. I had a 5-year-old depending on me and a husband desperately trying to mend us all.

I became the Director of Victims of Homicide, a support group in the city of Edmonton. It was there that my true purpose exposed itself. I had to bring my dog into the meeting with me one day as I don’t leave my dogs in the car. We had come from the vet and I had forgotten about the meeting (one of the factors of having PTSD).

Long story short, my beautiful broken boy, Jake (Shepard cross 120lbs) wove some magic and we started to see immense light come back in our members’ eyes.

That experience so inspired me I had found purpose again. I chose to take an animal training course through the Edmonton Humane Society and the lovely, Bilinda Wagner.

I wanted to help those that were as broken as me and that didn’t have a voice.

My family had done fostering when I was young, and I wonder why I didn’t think of it sooner. At any rate, 89 dogs later and Zoe’s co-director (who I co-parent newborn litters with) asked if I would like to name our newest litter after my son.

I think I stopped breathing, thinking and computing. After it all sunk in, what an honour and a privilege it was to remember my son and celebrate these precious lives. It was a full circle moment for me as my son was a HUGE animal lover himself.

In just a few short days ten healthy smart, exuberant and joyful puppies will be making their way to their foster homes to start looking for their forever lives with adopters.

Each puppy name means something to my son, a nickname, a favourite character, a treasured family member or friend and a place he frequented.

He is gone and I can’t change that. The universe knows I’ve tried.

Ten beautiful souls will be spread around with my son’s spirit, and I truly believe he’s in every one of them.

Brandon was kind, funny, clumsy, independent, fearless, an observer, comforting and generous of his time.

These puppies are all that and more. I’m a proud co-mama.

The goodbyes will be tough, I feel like I’m grieving his loss all over again. But truly the honour has been all mine. The joy the purpose the strength they have given me is immeasurable.

To my puppy family:

Pokey, Batman, Cuba, Einstein, Dragon, Tina, Wiley, Betty, Goose and Lexus,

May you know nothing but pure joy and happiness (and you better keep in touch with me!). To Kath Oltsher, who made all of this possible and has rode the emotion train with me, I adore you and respect the hell out of you.

Zoe’s is my lifeline. My second family. My people.

Life can be really hard. Pets always make it better, in the moment and far into the future.

Rescuing is hard, sad, maddening, life sucking, joyful, hilarious and comforting.

I hope, universe willing, I will keep being rescued and I can return the favour!

Please note: If you interested in adopting, please check on our website to see when they will be available. Also, please note that we will NOT be accepting applications prior to. Thank you!

The Benefits Of Crate Training

One people add a pet to their family, specifically a puppy, a big question is whether or not to use a crate.

Some people view crate training as a negative thing, but that shouldn’t be the case. There are many positive benefits for both you and your pet by having your pet crate trained.

It makes house training simple

One of biggest benefits to crate training, especially a puppy, is it makes house training for your pet much more simple.

The first thing pet parents should do when letting their puppy out of their crate is have them go outside right away to pee and or poop. They will learn very quickly that this is what they are supposed to and it definitely helps if they are rewarded with a treat and lots of positive praise for doing so. Dogs are very smart and like routine, so if you do this all the time, they will know that by going outside, they will get rewarded.

With that said, it’s never recommended to leave a puppy six months of age or under in a crate more than three to four hours as they will not be able to hold their bladders for longer periods than that.

There are people who instead will choose to place pee pads down on the floor and either block off an area for their puppy or let their puppy free roam throughout their house. The only downside to using pee pads is constantly having to change them or in some cases, the puppy will miss the pee pads all together and you will be left with a big mess on the floor.

At the end of the day, choose to do whatever you feel works best for you and your puppy.

It makes travel simple

 If you like and or choose to travel with your pet, having a crate for them to stay in is beneficial. Some dogs get very nervous and stressed not only travelling, but staying at a place they are not familiar with.

Having a place for them to decompress in a space they know makes a big difference. If you are staying at someone’s house, an Airbnb or hotel, would mitigate any stress that your pet might have by being in an unfamiliar setting. Some dog can will become destructive due to separation anxiety or stress, and no one wants to have to pay for damages left by your pet.

It’s also much safer for pets to travel when they are secure and if you ever chose to fly with your pet, they will have to go in a crate in order to be allowed to travel.

It also makes transporting your pet to and from the vet much easier if they tend to get stressed in a vehicle.

It can help with separation anxiety

 Many pet parents find themselves in situations where their pet all of a sudden becomes destructive by chewing, digging or peeing and pooping in the house. These can all be symptoms of separation anxiety.

As much as we all would love to bring our dogs with us everywhere we go or stay home with them at all times, it’s unfortunately not possible. Separation anxiety can be a very challenging and stressful situation to deal with.

Crates can help prevent massive destruction from your dog. It’s not to be seen as or used as punishment, but rather a place where they can feel safe and calm. Place their favourite blanket in their crate or you could even put in an old t shirt that you’ve worn so they have your scent with them to help relax them. Make it their home and make it a place where they enjoy going.

With that said, crates are not a solution for separation anxiety, especially in moderate to severe cases. If your dog is dealing with separation anxiety, it’s best speak to your vet.

How do you get started with crate training?

Like any training, go slow. Try giving your pet treats and even small portions of their meals in their crate and leave the door open.

Your dog may whine and cry at first while in their crate, and that’s normal. That’s generally when people decide to give up on crate training as they don’t like hearing or seeing their pet upset. Like anything, it will take time for them to adjust. Unless you notice your pet is highly stressed and agitated, try not to give up.

Make it comfortable for them. Some people will choose to place a pet pillow in their dog’s crate and or also place a comfortable blanket in there. The one downside is if your dog is destructive, you could come home to find their pet pillow ripped apart.

Giving you pet a Kong stuffed with treats or peanut butter (only use all natural to give to your pet) will keep them busy and occupied while in their crate.

Where you decide to place, your crate can also make a big difference. Many dogs like to be where their owners are, so having their crate in your bedroom or living room would be much better than having it in the basement or a spare room that you are never in.

There are a variety of different crates available. Wire ones make it easy for your dog to see out and they are also collapsible which is convenient to take anywhere. Hard shell plastic crates are ones that airlines use to transport dogs, so if you are planning on flying with your pet, that one would be recommended.

The biggest key to crate training is to not use it crate as a form as punishment. You don’t want your dog to associate the crate with any sort of negative connotations. If you notice that your pet is stressed, do not force it.

Dogs can sense your stress, so if you are stressed about using a crate, your pet will also be stressed.

Many people often assume that if a dog was never crate trained as a puppy, that they could never learn. That’s incorrect. You can 100% teach an old dog new tricks. Dogs can learn to be crate trained at any age.

Crate training, when used in a positive manner, is extremely effective for any pet owner.


Protecting Your Dog Against Ticks

As the weather warms up, that means more time outside with your dog. But, with the warm season, also means the return of something else: ticks.

Ticks are found specifically in longer grassy areas and in bushes. Even though many people think of them as insects, they are actually arachnids which are similar to spiders and mites. Ticks are parasites that feed off of the blood the host they attach themselves to. Those hosts can be can a human or an animal.

The biggest problem with ticks is that they are carriers of disease, specifically Lyme disease. Lyme disease can be very serious if not treated, with symptoms including a fever, loss of appetite, pain, lethargy, swollen lymph nodes, swollen joints and shifting lameness from one leg to another. If not treated, it can cause serious damage to your dog’s heart, nervous system and kidneys.

If you suspect that your pet has Lyme disease, take them to their vet as soon as possible. Your vet will want to do a blood panel to be sure and then start your dog on antibiotics right away as Lyme disease is a bacterial illness.

This is why it’s extremely important to do a tick check any time your dog has been outside, specifically if they have been in long grassy areas (such as the river valley) or in bushes. The most common places where ticks like to grab on to and most pet owners miss are your dogs ears, between their toes and arm pits.

What do you do if you find a tick on your dog? The safest way to remove a tick is by using a pair of fine tipped tweezers. Do not touch the tick with your bare hands as bacteria could be transmitted to you. Wear gloves or use a paper towel if you don’t have gloves. Grab the tick as close to the skin surface as possible so this reduces the chances of the head detaching. Pull the tick out with steady and even pressure. It may take a minute or two, so be patient. Once the tick has been removed, find a container and take it your vet so they can send it off to a lab to be inspected. Write down the time and place where the bite occurred. This helps vets and scientists know and understand if that tick carries Lyme disease.

Once the tick has been safely removed, it’s very important to disinfect the bite area and your hands as soon as possible.

So, what can you do to prevent your dog from getting ticks? Talk to your vet about what they recommend as there are many different options out there. There are monthly topical treatments that can be applied to your dog that are effective at keeping both ticks and fleas at bay. If your dog attends daycare, most daycare require proof that your dog is having it applied. But be cautious about using any random tick treatment you find at a store as they are not all created equal.

There are also oral medications, shampoos and even homeopathic/natural treatments. Like anything, talk to your vet to find the best course of preventative action.

Also, make sure you check yourself over if you have been out with your pet in high risk areas for ticks. You don’t want to take your chances.

Dog Harnesses: Why You Should Use One & How to Pick the Right One for Your Dog

Kaylie Belcourt

Is your dog a leash monster? Does your dog walk you instead of you walking your dog? Are you leash training? Do you have a dog who you take on walks? In all of these scenarios, a harness is a much better choice than walking with leash attached to a flat collar.

Walking with a harness distributes pressure from pulling over more of the body as opposed to concentrated pressure on your dog’s neck when walking with a leash and flat collar – which can damage your dog’s throat and neck, cause tracheal collapse or even protruding eyeballs. In addition to being physically safer, using a harness gives the walker more control over the dog, especially for reactive dogs or dogs who jump or pull, and are the best choice for breeds that are prone to respiratory problems (Boxers, Pugs, Bulldogs, Yorkshire Terriers, etc.) since restriction to the neck has been decreased. Another added bonus of harness walking is that, in most cases, the leash clips to onto the harness at a point on the dog’s back, so there is less chance of the leash getting tangled in the dog’s legs and yours!

When choosing a harness for your dog, consider their size and strength, their current leash skills, as well as the overall comfort and preference for both human and dog.

There are three types of harnesses to choose from:

Front clip– Provides the best control. With the leash connecting at the chest, a front clip harness provides the greatest amount control in steering or turning your dog right around. Wherever a dog’s head goes, the body will follow. Front clip harnesses do tend to tangle a bit easier.

Back clip– The most popular choice. Back clip harnesses are easy to put on and use, however they don’t provide the best control if your dog is reactive or has not learned how to properly walk on leash.

Dual/Multi-clip– This style is becoming very popular because it provides the advantages of the both the front and back clip harnesses. Some styles have more than two clips as well as a handle to provide extra control. (Multi-clip bonus: small dogs can quickly and easily become pup suitcases, or pupcases, and that’s always entertaining.) While they tend to  be on the more on the expensive side, this is a worthwhile investment if you are leash training and can transition to an every day walker buy securing one leash to only the back clip.

Once you’ve decided on a clip style, consider how the harness goes on and off your dog. There are two options:  

Overhead- This one goes over the dog’s head and usually has fasteners at the neck and torso. If you have a patient dog who doesn’t mind things in their face, this will work just fine.

Step in- This one is a bit easier as your dog literally steps into the harness, typically just one fastener at the torso.

Fit your dog before you purchase and leave the store. A too small harness will be uncomfortable, painful and restricting; too big and your pup will slip right out. Many local pet stores, like Homes Alive, Bone & Biscuit, Tailblazers, or PetValu, have trained and educated staff who can help ensure you choose the right harness for your dog.

Once you have chosen the right harness, you will need to adjust and fit it to your dog. The straps should be snug against the body, but not tight, with just enough space to fit two fingers between the harness and your dog.

Now, who’s ready for walkies?!?! Huh?? Who’s ready for walkies!?!


Zoe’s is committed to being 100% force free. We strongly advise against the use of choke, shock, and prong collars. All of these aversive items will cause pain and damage to your pet, usually to the trachea or esophagus, sometimes to the skin and fur.

When it’s Too Cold to Walk: Indoor Enrichment Ideas for your Dog

by Lindsay Herrick-Somerset 

With the winter months comes snow, ice, cold, and, this year, a Polar Vortex. Winter can be challenging for any dog owner, especially if you have smaller breeds or any short coat breed dog that does not do well in the cold. It is even more challenging when temperatures drop so low that potty breaks are met with looks of “I have to pee in this?? You can’t be serious.”

So, how can you keep your dogs active when the temperature drastically drops?

Doggy Daycare

While it’s not the cheapest of options, if you have a dog that needs to burn off energy and does not do well in the cold weather, daycare is the best thing. Not sure how to choose the right doggy daycare, one really important thing to look at is if they are a member of the Alberta Force Free Alliance (as Zoe’s is also a member of and a strong advocate for force free training).

Unfortunately, the indoor dog park here in Edmonton closed last year. I know that was a very popular option for a lot of dog owners in the city as it was a warm and safe place to take your dog.

What if you live somewhere where doggy daycare is not available (such as a small town)? Then what?

Canine Enrichment Activities

Do you just hand feed your dogs treats? Or just put their food in a bowl?

There are now many options for canine enrichment where your dogs need to work at getting their treats or food out.

One the best options is putting a treat, peanut butter (100% natural peanut butter only) or some of their raw food in a Kong and let them work at trying to clean it out. A great challenge (and great if you have a teething puppy), is to throw it in the freezer before hand and then give it them.

Along the same line of a Kong is a Tumbler toy where you put a treat in it and your dog needs to roll it around to get the treat out. It keeps Max busy and frustrated for hours at a time (especially if you put in a treat that is hard to get out).

Another great canine enrichment option are Snuffle Mats.

So what can you put in a snuffle mat? Anything you want (except raw food because that would be a gross mess). If you feed kibble, you can put their kibble in there or you can hide some treats in there for them to dig around and find.

If you do feed a raw diet, you can also use a Slow Feeder bowl and then your dogs will need to work at getting their food out (which also works well if your dog eats their food way too fast).

The great thing is that there are many different options and games you can get for your dog from your local pet store to keep them entertained in the cold, long winter months.

While none of these options are going to replace taking your dog out for a walk, they will help your dog burn off some energy which in return, will help you keep your sanity.


Pot and Pooches

By Kim Barrett

With legalization on the horizon, pot talk is everywhere.  In addition to the effects legalization will have on people, there has also  been much discussion about the risks posed dogs to our doggy family. In a recent Facebook post, Tamarack Veterinary Clinic discussed the high occurrences of marijuana overdoses in Edmonton dogs. Coupled with increasing usage of cannabis oil in pets, vets expect recreational legalization to raise the instances of overdoses in pets even more.

As is the case in Colorado. A recent study in the state found cases of marijuana toxicity in dogs quadrupled after pot was legalized in the state. Once legalized, people have a tendency to be less careful about safety and storage. Edibles – particularly cookies, brownies, and candies – can be quite enticing to dogs. Dogs are superstars at quickly stealing food before their owner notices. (This is much less common with cats and they tend to be pickier eaters.)

What does ingestion or overdose look like in dogs? Decreased balance, “drunken sailor” walking, weakness, incontinence, disorientation, tremors and more depending on the amount eaten. In some cases it may cause seizures, coma or even death.

Pot can cause a dog to become ill very quickly as they are extremely sensitive to even small doses. If your pet ingests marijuana, bring them to the vet immediately and be honest. The more honest you are about what the animal ate, how much and when, the more your vet can help your pet. Veterinarians report that owners sometimes don’t want to admit what their dog ate due to the legality of the substance, but they need to know. The more information they have in a timely manner, the more successful they can be in combating toxicity.

Remember, dogs are very similar to toddlers. As pet parents it is our responsibility to keep our homes safe for them. Like cleaners, medications and other dangerous substances, always be mindful of keeping marijuana in a safe, non-accessible place.

Dogs overdosing on marijuana, veterinarian warns;…/no…/marijuana-pets-nova-scotia-1.4467036

Hold onto your butts: Don’t let dogs get stoned on your leftover weed;

Marijuana making more dogs sick, veterinarians say;…

Feature Foster: Tink Hunt

Hi! Tink here!

I’ve been in foster care for a long time.  A VERY long time: 398 days and counting. Can you believe it? I can’t. My foster family can’t figure it out either. Sure, I am very shy and unsure when I first meet someone, which can be a tad off-putting, but once I get to know you I’m the sweetest little loaf you ever did meet. 

Just loafing around….

While I’m hanging out, waiting for my forever family to find me, I thought I’d write a little something about myself. When things don’t come you, you have to go out and find it. Amiright?!

I’ve come a long way since Zoe’s took me in. I used to be quite, uh…..unpleasant. You see, when I was much younger, I was declawed. Over the years, my paws became severely arthritic which caused me a lot of pain. The pain made me exceptionally grumpy.

If you didn’t know, declawing is a pretty awful thing to do to a cat. It’s sort of like having your fingers snipped off at the first knuckle and having to walk around on those nubs the rest of your life. Let me show you.

This is an x-ray of normal cat paw:

These are x-rays of my paws:

OUCH, right??

Thanks to the dedicated Zoe’s Cat Team and my fabulously amazing foster family, I’ve gone from crank pot to cuddle monster.


I just love love. Wherever you are, I want to be.

With the right pain medication and a home that I feel safe in, I am finally able to settle down and let my sweetness take centre stage again. All I want is love and affection!

Oh, did that “pain medication” thing freak you out? Don’t worry, it’s easy peasy! Just one squirt in my food twice a day. That’s it! Mealtime is my favourite time of day so you don’t have to fret about me not taking my medication. The cost is small; only $40 a month to fill my prescription.

I feel great now that I’m not in constant pain, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still have my moments. Every once in a while new humans will come to my foster pawrents’ house and it’s very confusing for me. I get excited to meet them but then remember that I don’t have claws to defend myself if they happen to be terrible, awful people. I can get scared and a little sassy. My foster pawrents tell their visitors to politely ignore me and let me come to them. When I feel comfortable, I’ll check them out.

I will likely have trust issues for the rest of my life. As long as you respect my boundaries, we’ll get along just fine.

You can look, but don’t touch!

Despite my trust issues, I love hard with every ounce of my fluffy floofy feline being. I want to soak up every drop of attention you have to give. I come running for pets and cuddles at the slightest invitation, and I’ll always figure out a way to snuggle up to you, even if it seems like kind of a silly position to be in. PSA: I don’t believe in privacy amongst best friends. If you’re in the bathroom, you’d better believe I’ll be waiting outside the door for you. Sometimes I’ll even nap on the bath mat while my foster mom is in the tub. I don’t mind at all!

My foster pawrents say that I deserve the perfect home, and I can’t disagree. I am quite special.

If you’re looking for a cuddly pal with a whole lotta love to give and you’ve got a calm home with a warm laps for me to curl up on, this gal is your gal!

Are we the purrfect match? Fill out an application and find out!

PS: My adoption fee is only $25, which is crazy! I’m totally priceless.

First Aid…..for Pets!


By: Kim Barrett

Your dog starts choking on a toy…
Your cat jumps on a hot burner on the stove…
Your dog gets a bad bite on his head while visiting the dog park…
Your cat suddenly collapses and is not breathing…
While out for a walk your dog has a seizure…

If you found yourself and your pet in one of these situations, would you know what to do?

It is quite distressing for many of us to imagine such scary situations, let alone live through it. These situations are not planned and how you are able to respond can save your pet’s life. It’s quite obvious that you need to seek immediate medical attention from a vet but what do you do until you get there? How can you dress a wound to prevent further blood loss or cope with shock? What if you are camping in a remote area and nowhere near a vet?

The motto of Scouts “Be Prepared” is fitting advice.

Emergency situations require quick thinking and fast action. The best way to avoid panic or ‘freezing’ in any situation is to be educated and prepared. Many people are trained to provide first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to humans, but have you learned these skills for your pets?

The Edmonton Humane Society offers a pet first aid course facilitated by Walks N Wags. The 10-hour course covers everything from CPR for animals to bandaging and splinting to preventative medicine.

This past November, I attended the pet first aid course. The instructor, Leah Daoust, has had a wide range of experiences working with animals and handling medical emergencies. She was very open to answering questions and covered the material in a clear and understandable way.

This certificate course provided an opportunity to learn and practice CPR for cats and dogs and how to treat a choking animal. We practiced dressing wounds on different body parts as well as how to deal with foreign objects, such as a porcupine needle or a fishing hook. We also learned how to make a splint for broken bones and what to do if your animal is impaled with something. Leah covered wide range of medical conditions, including showing videos of an animal having a seizure and one experiencing bloat so we could see the reality of the condition on a live animal. Lastly, we learned how to assemble first aid kits and the three important places to keep them: home, car, with you.

I now feel much more confident in my ability to deal with emergency situations involving animals.

In-person training with a qualified instructor and opportunities to practice is best way to learn, however, there are many resources online for learning about first aid for pets.

Consider making learning pet first aid a goal for 2018!

Pets and Domestic Abuse

By: Kim Barrett

Most of us would probably describe our home as our sanctuary. After a long day of work or errands, coming home gives us an opportunity to destress, relax and recharge our batteries for the next day. While household activities can also keep us quite busy, overall home is a welcoming refuge. For some people, however, this is not the reality. Home is not a peaceful or safe space.

So many harrowing stories have appeared in the media about violence against women and sexual assaults. Unfortunately, Edmonton is no stranger to violence. The Edmonton police service reported 8715 events of domestic abuse in 2016. Most cases go unreported so this number is a gross underestimate of the current situation in our community.

Domestic abuse is defined as use of physical or sexual force, actual or threatened, in an intimate relationship. It may include a single act of violence or a number of acts forming a pattern of abuse through the use of assaultive and controlling behaviour. The pattern of abuse may be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, stalking, or threats to harm children, other family members, pets, and property. Holidays can be a stressful, hectic time for many families and many organizations see an increase in number of people accessing domestic abuse services around New Years.

A 2012 study in Alberta showed more than half of abused women who have animals reported that they delayed leaving because of their animal. An abuser seeks power and control by inflicting suffering on others. A pet may be used essentially as a hostage. Thirty-six percent of abused women with animals reported that their abuser threatened or harmed their animals. In cases that involved children as well as threatened animals, 85% of women reported that the children witnessed the threat or harm to the animal.

The Alberta SPCA Pet Safe Keeping program is designed to help people in domestic abuse situations. People who are experiencing domestic violence and who need to escape their situation can contact the program to have their pets cared for temporarily. Once accepted into the program the pet can also access veterinary care.

The Companion Animal Welfare Society (CAWS) is another organization committed to helping people keep their beloved animal companions during times of transition.

We can help access or navigate these resources in the community. If spaces are not available, We may be able to assist or connect with other local rescues to ensure that help is found.

In September,  Zoe’s aided a mother and children fleeing a domestic abuse situation. While the woman was seeking safety for herself and her children, Zoe’s temporarily took care of the family’s five cats. Once the family was settled in a safe space, they were able to bring their cats to their new home. Not only was the  family relieved to be able to keep their pets safe, they were grateful to have them back. Few things compare to the love and comfort from a pet during difficult times.

For more information on the Alberta Pet Safekeeping Program, contact the Alberta SPCA at 780-447-3600 ext. 3750, call 211 and inquire at any domestic violence agency in the greater Edmonton area.

To report domestic violence, call 911 (in an emergency) or the Edmonton Police Complaint line at 780-423-4567 (#377 from a mobile device in the Edmonton area).

To talk confidentially with a social worker, call the City of Edmonton Assessment and Short-Term Counselling at 780-496-4777

For information on resources in Edmonton and across the province, call the Family Violence Info Line toll-free at 310-1818. Help is available in 170 languages, 24/7.

Edmonton Police Services. Domestic Abuse 2017.…/Family…/DomesticViolence.aspx

Inside the Cruelty Connection: The Role of Animals in Decision-Making by Domestic Violence Victims in Rural Alberta. Dr. Donna Crawford and Dr. Veronika Clarke. 2012.…/publications/InsideTheCrueltyC…

The Holiday Spike in Domestic Abuse. Mattie Quinn. 2014.…/the-holiday-spike-in-…/383995/