The Cochrane and Area Humane Society (CAHS) has officially welcomed Airdrie as the newest community to join its service area.
Tracy Keith, executive director and founder of CAHS, said the society began on an ideal that it would be a leader of animal care in the often overlooked rural areas. But following numerous requests for help from both residents and businesses in Airdrie over the years, the society decided its services were needed in the city.
“We really wanted to put our focus (on rural areas) and that’s what we’ve done to date,” she said. “Considering that Airdrie has really needed the help and we are so closely located, we decided we would be happy to also service (the community).”
Though CAHS had been unofficially taking animals from Airdrie for the last couple of weeks, she said a resident found and delivered the first “official” cat from Airdrie to the society on April 3.
With a hospital facility on site, Keith said it’s good the cat had been brought in as he was in need of some immediate medical attention.
“He was in pretty rough shape, so we’re happy to have him here,” Keith said.
CAHS offers a full range of free services for residents within its coverage area, she said, including sheltering for animals in need whether people are surrendering a pet or have found a lost animal.
It also offers an emergency boarding program and a pet safe program for families experiencing domestic violence, personal tragedy or hardship.
“We did a lot of boarding here during the floods,” she said.
Adoption programs are run through CAHS, she said, as well as a full range of obedience, agility and specialty classes for dogs with more challenging behaviours.
The society is also in the process of expansion, which Keith said would add a 372 square-metre training centre to its currently facility.
“We do a lot of rehabilitation on the animals in terms of both medically and behaviourally,” Keith said. “We have very strong programs in both of those areas.”
It is CAHS’s goal to lead and educate communities on animal welfare by ensuring people have the training and support needed to be responsible pet owners, Keith said.
Though educating for all age levels is a key part of the CAHS’s mission statement, she said it is very important to start this process at a young age.
The society offers educational opportunities to all the local schools in its coverage area, which Keith said could be tailored with individual teachers to mesh nicely with curriculum the class is currently learning.
The CAHS also runs kids camps throughout the summer months, as well as Christmas and Easter break, that focus on volunteering and animal related topics, she said.
“We want to be sure we are educating from the youth and up,” she said. “They’re learning about compassion, which really also translates to other things in life as they grow.”
CAHS gave a presentation to Airdrie City council April 4 detailing the services offered by the society.
“We have a lot of pets that live in Airdrie,” said Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown. “I appreciate all the work you do (and) it’s great that you are supporting us.”
The first volunteer orientation session in Airdrie for CAHS is on April 26 at The Place 4 Paws at 6:30 p.m. Keith said interested individuals can register ahead of time at cochranehumane.ca
Keith said the society is hoping to find some dedicated volunteers to create a strong presence in Airdrie that can help with shuttling animals to CAHS for people who have no transportation options, form a local rescue team and help distribute promotional material like posters and coin boxes.
“We do have some (volunteers from Airdrie) now and they’re wonderful but we’d like to expand that,” Keith said.
CAHS is open Tuesday to Friday from noon to 6 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
For more information about CAHS, visit cochranehumane.ca or give Keith a call at the society’s phone number, 403-932-2072 extension 102.