Commentary, Opinion

Outrun and the Pet Grocer team up to help furry friends get social

March 3, 2022   ·   0 Comments

On Sunday, February 27 Outrun Animal Rehabilitation Centre teamed up with Pet Grocer, an award-winning holistic health food store for pets in Alliston, so ‘Blueberry’ – a soon to be adopted dog in Outrun’s program – could get some much-needed people time during a ‘Socialization Sunday’ (SS) event.

Outrun representative Emily Day said, “For the animal, it allows them to practice their leash and obedience skills in a safe location where we can ensure success and also where we can introduce them to novel experiences. For the rescue, it is an opportunity to meet people and show the community a little of how we do what we do. For the public, it is an opportunity for them to work hands on with one of our animals and potentially learn a skill that they can take home to teach their own dog. For the hosting business, it is added advertising while allowing them to give us something that doesn’t cost them anything – support, time, space.”

Day told The Times Outrun is run by a Board of Directors, and operates from two main locations: 998089 Mulmur-Tosorontio Townline, in Lisle and 8016 Adjala 20th Sideroad, Loretto.

They provide rehabilitation through the medical and behavioural training of animals using a science-based approach. They also facilitate the adoption and rehoming of animals while providing education to community members on the betterment of pet ownership.

“Animals come to us via owner surrender, pounds, shelters, and other rescues,” explains Day. “We also get animals through reservation stray programs, and provincial animal welfare services.”

Outrun adopters have the opportunity to join an alumni group who is there to assist them in part through monthly newsletters with tips and tricks to help pet owners.

“Our hands-on and on-site volunteers have a place of safety and solace where they can come, offer some socialization time to help an animal, and spend some time on their own self-care and mindfulness, successfully helping animals invariably forces us to slow down and listen to the rhythm of both ourselves and those around us,” says Day. “Oftentimes, our volunteers come here seeking to help animals and end up healing themselves in various ways. They are invaluable and most important to our rehabilitation and retraining program.”

Outrun was established in March 2020 and its mission is to protect, retrain and advocate for domestic animals and to give them a second chance by strengthening the animal human bond. 

“No domestic animal should endure a lifetime of pain and suffering due to neglect or abandonment,” said Day.

The Socialization Sunday (SS) events have run in September, October and November.

“We generally aim for the last Sunday of every month, we took a few months off around the holidays but we plan to continue to run this event every month except for December and January weather and schedule permitting,” said Day. “Our events all follow all COVID safety regulations as outlined by our government.”

In New Tecumseth, Day says issues surrounding animals include stray and feral cat colonies.

“Outrun runs a trap/neuter/release and barn cat program which works proactively to resolve this issue – this is very expensive both with respect to time and money so community support is very important,” said Day.

Other issues include unwanted dogs and cats that have nowhere to go. 

“Outrun is limited by how many animals we are able to help by the amount of foster homes we have – people can foster an animal and help us save a life,” says Day.

With the help of 40 volunteers in various roles, Outrun also offers pet owners who don’t have appropriate training support for their animals and who are unable to get the help they need because they don’t know what they should be looking for. 

Always looking for additional help, the community can donate, foster, volunteer or even help spread the word about the organization by sharing its social media posts.

“Help us promote animals who need a second chance,” said Day.

The majority of the costs incurred by Outrun are related to medical care, however, food, litter, crates, ex-pens, treats, toys, and enrichment items are also part of the monthly costs.

“Cost varies based on how many animals we have in care at a time, but it is not unusual for us to spend up to $7,000 on medical care, more than $2,000 on food, $500 on replacement crates, enrichment items, ex-pens and $300 on cat litter in one month,” said Day. “The community is filled with caring people who are willing to help with what they can. We are very blessed that we receive food donations which help to offset that particular cost. Sometimes this allows us to reduce our food costs by as much as 30 per cent. Unfortunately, our adoption fees do not cover all of our expenses so Outrun organizes many fundraisers throughout the year.

“Our Amazon wishlist, bottle and clothing drives are constant. Last year we also ran microchip clinics, nail trim events, online fundraisers and sponsorship programs.”

This month’s Outrun Socialization Sunday took place at Pet Grocer, located at 312 Victoria St. E., in Alliston and owned by Jenn Newark. Pet Grocer is open Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Pet Grocer opened in 2017 at its current location, however it began as an online business in 2009. 

Jenn and Pet Grocer got involved with the Socialization Sunday event because of her knowledge of Outrun.

“When Emily told me she was starting up Outrun I knew that she would do a fantastic job with rehab and helping animals in need,” says Jenn. “She is committed strongly to their wellbeing, and is a person that takes action instead of just talking about ideas. We may not always have similar philosophies, but we 100 per cent agree on our commitment to helping animals.

“They have had many meet and greet type days at the store. We try to support their efforts through donations in store, ’round up’ days where people round their total up to the next dollar, etc. They try to do an event monthly at our store to get more exposure for their dogs that are up for adoption. We are excited to be a part of this work in helping pets find loving forever homes.”

By Wendy Gabrek

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