Prairie Animal Assistance — the Healing Place.
Located on a picturesque acreage just outside Regina, Saskatchewan Canada, Prairie Animal Assistance provides a permanent home for special needs rescue animals who would be difficult or impossible to place elsewhere. Our expert volunteer staff have the skills to help animals who have been abused, abandoned, neglected, starved, or lived through traumatic situations such as an accident, fire or natural disaster.
Some of our residents have medical conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes, cancer, asthma, thyroid problems or arthritis. Others have physical challenges such as blindness, deafness, spinal chord injuries, lameness or gastrointestinal issues. However, the most common issues are not easily seen at first glance. Almost all of the animals in our care have suffered psychological trauma, leading to behavioural issues and requiring specialized “psychotherapy for animals” and behaviour modification.
Each animal has an individualized program set up to meet their specialized dietary, medical, physical, psychological and emotional needs. They live in a family setting and although they have “issues” that need to be worked through, rehabilitation at Prairie Animal Assistance is fun! What these special animals need most to facilitate their recovery is LOVE. Loving care, patience, understanding, exercise, structured routines, psychological, medical, and behavioural therapy, play, specialized training and mental stimulation all play a huge role in our work healing animals who, in many cases, were thought to be beyond hope.
The number one killer of companion animals is behaviour problems.
We are often asked the question, “Why put all of that time and hard work into animals who require such specialized rehabilitation? Couldn’t you help more animals if you just euthanized the severe cases and instead took in animals who would be easily adoptable?” It is a fair question. Maybe our resources could be put to use helping many animals a little bit instead of helping a few a lot. However, our many supporters would argue that through our educational programs, we are helping a large number of animals and I am sure our residents would, if they could, thank us for valuing their lives, severe issues and all. Even in our area, there are already many other programs set up to help animals. Some, like the humane society and the SPCA are involved with investigating animal cruelty and neglect. Others take in as many animals as possible and find homes for high numbers of animals. They may have to live in a cage, but their stay is made as pleasant as possible and a high volume of animals are rescued and placed in loving homes. There are also programs that are able to keep animals long-term in a network of foster homes. These programs are all necessary and worthy of support. However, so is Prairie Animal Assistance. We fill a different niche than many of the other rescue programs. As a matter of fact, we have helped most, if not all of the other local animal rescue programs with animals who deserved a chance at life, but had special needs that their programs were not equipped to deal with. It is not our desire to compete for funding with these other organizations, but rather to compliment their services with our own unique, and necessary programs.
It is difficult to find statistics on cats and horses, but the number of dogs euthanized each year in the US and Canada is astounding. According to Lindsay (2000) “behavior problems are not only a nuisance” but a “serious risk to the welfare of dogs” citing estimates anywhere from 50% to 70% of dogs surrendered and euthanized due to behavior problems. In 1997 Overall “estimated that at least 7-8 million animals die in shelters each year…with an equal or greater number of animals being euthanized in private veterinary practice for similar reasons” and Riech and Overall (1998) “claim that ‘abnormal or problem behaviors kill more pets annually in the U.S. than do infectious, metabolic, and neoplastic disease combined.’ This sad situation is unnecessary and it is our goal to help change it by:
Sharing with other animal rescue workers and animal trainers, our pioneering and revolutionary behaviour modification techniques that have helped the animals in our program. These techniques have been discovered mainly because our staff have the time, and the training to give each animal the individualized therapy and attention her or she needs over a long period of time.
Helping to prevent behaviour problems from occuring in the first place through our educational programs.
Educating children and youth on proper animal care and positive training techniques to help improve the problem for future generations. Children and youth programs
Showing as many people as possible the remarkable progress of the animals in our care through videos and visits to our education centre and helping to increase adoption of rescues and maybe even change public perception about the value of and the possibility of changing problem behaviour.
Keeping more pets with fixable problems alive by helping pet owners learn techniques to remediate problem behaviour in their pets through email and video support, private lessons and group classes
Since 1997, we have helped over 800 pet owners with behavioural issues. Because most of our animals have such severe issues that they would not be able to function in a regular home, or would find relocating too stressful, most of our residents live at our facility for the rest of their lives. Occasionally, our residents respond so well to their therapy that they can be adopted into loving homes. See our Success Stories page to meet some of them. For more information on animals that are currently available for adoption see our Available Animals page.
To answer the question of why does Prairie Animal Assistance help animals who need such specialized care, the ones many feel are beyond hope? Because we can. Because they deserve it, and mostly because the end result of our work is that many more animals will be saved through our educational programs. Our special residents play a big part in our educational programs. See our Meet the Animals page to meet them.
Prairie Animal Assistance
To promote animal welfare through teaching and promoting positive, humane training for all animals, with a special emphasis on rescue animals.
To show the world our wonderful rescue animals who have been trained using positive reinforcement (specifically clicker training). Our role models will inspire others to adopt rescues, thereby saving lives.
To save as many animals as we can, accepting those who will benefit most from a comprehensive training program in a family setting. We rescue, rehabilitate and train dogs, cats and horses without the use of force.
To promote and teach positive humane training for all animals, especially rescues.
To rescue animals in need, rehabilitate and train them using force-free training methods.
To fundraise to carry out the above activities.