Wendy McRae loves animals. There’s no doubt about it. She loves to take her five dogs, along with other neighbourhood dogs, for long walks in the wooded areas surrounding her home. “We adopted our first two dogs from the Huntsville Animal Shelter before it closed down. They were the best dogs.”
So it’s no surprise that McRae started a campaign to bring awareness and financial support to animal rescue organizations around Muskoka.
“The idea came about on Christmas Day 2019,” says McRae. “I had already knit red scarves for the dogs I walk and didn’t know what else to knit. So I decided to keep knitting scarves in order to sell them and give the proceeds to animal rescues in Muskoka.”
She had originally planned to knit 500 scarves by the beginning of November this year, but when she reached out to neighbours and friends for help with the project, an overwhelming response resulted in reaching her goal far ahead of schedule—before the end of June.
McRae had sixteen knitters who helped with the project: Pat Power, Carol Speers, Kim Gingrich, Ann Bell, Liz Playford, Martha Moore, Jodie Aukland, Lisa Mavrou, Kristen Hodgson, Patty Labadie, Patti Waugh, Phyllis Mattice, Tami Mattice, Christine Bogles, Alison Frankcom, and Lorraine Blondin.
The five animal rescues that McRae and friends are raising money for are Muskoka Animal Rescue, Paws of the North Rescue, Carter’s Forever Rescue and Sanctuary, the OSPCA Muskoka Animal Centre, and Cottage Paws Rescue. “All do amazing work to save animals and give them a chance at finding a forever home,” says McRae.
Each animal rescue has a model of taking in surrendered animals, and then placing them in loving homes of foster-based care until they can be permanently adopted. Four of the five rely solely on volunteers, donations, and/or adoption fees to run, while the registered charity OSPCA also has paid employees.
And while each of the animal rescues has a similar model, their area of focus may differ slightly. Muskoka Animal Rescue facilitates surrenders and adoptions of all kinds of companion animals. Paws of the North Rescue assists isolated northern communities with rehoming dogs in need. Carter’s Forever Rescue and Sanctuary shelters, fosters, and adopts out dogs, particularly those who are hard to place due to breed or age. Cottage Paws Rescue works at matching homeless or unwanted animals in need with new adoptive families. And the OSPCA Muskoka provides a broad range of service for animals.
According to the Humane Canada 2017 Animal Shelter Statistics report—which does not include statistics the many smaller private rescues, fosters, and shelters across Canada—there were an estimated 7.4 million dogs and 9.3 million cats living in Canadian households that year. Of the 93 SPCAs surveyed in the report, there were 87,000 cats and 33,000 dogs in shelters, with approximately one-third of the animals having been surrendered by their guardian. And while 45 per cent of dogs and 60 per cent of cats were subsequently adopted, nine per cent of dogs and six per cent of cats who were deemed either healthy or treatable and adoptable were euthanized due to issues such as overcrowding and shelter capacity.
McRae urges people to consider rescued animals first if they are planning on getting a pet. “The more people who adopt rescued animals, the more animals will be saved.”
“I follow the rescues mainly on Instagram to see the amazing work they do,” says McRae. “Social media has really helped show the dogs and cats, and all the work that goes into running a rescue.”
The Red Scarf for Rescues campaign hopes their red scarves will serve as a symbol to show support for all that these rescues do. Scarves are $10 each and can be ordered online and delivered, picked up, or mailed out. All proceeds go to the animal rescue organizations.
To find out more about buying the red scarves or donating to support this project for local animal rescues, visit redscarfforrescues.ca. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow them on Instagram @redscarfforrescue.
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