Those looking to add a new four-legged family member have a new adoption option to consider. The TRU Animal Health Technology (AHT) program opened their kennels to the public on Nov. 9, and is in search of homes for 20 cats and 11 dogs.
All of AHT’s dogs and cats come from rescue and shelter groups from across B.C., according to AHT instructor Erica Gray. The animals have been with the program since September, and are fully prepared for adoption by the program’s veterinary technicians in training.
Students assist with spaying, neutering, deworming, tattooing and microchipping the animals.
“It’s a part of our learning. In September and October we learned how to get into surgery and do it properly,” said AHT student Marnie Deyotte.
According to Gray, a veterinary doctor performs the surgeries themselves, but students assist them. “We’re overseeing the monitoring of the vital signs and anaesthesia and inducing and [pre-medicating] them and checking up on them afterwards,” Deyotte said.
Alongside the physical preparations, the animals also go through some behavioural training. “Some of them are fantastic, some of them need just need a little bit more help. It really depends on the cat or dog,” Gray said. “I find it to be so rewarding to work with them, not just from a medical aspect but the behavioural aspect is fascinating. To watch them come into the program and become socialized animals and really great members of someone’s family eventually,” Deyotte said.
AHT hosted its first adoptions in 1980, and according to Gray, has never encountered problems finding homes for their animals. Many are adopted by former students of the program and previous adopters often return for another animal.
The department’s website showcases the wide variety of animals they have up for adoption. Dogs range in age from one to six years old and are from a variety of different breeds. Cats that are up for adoption range from six months to seven years old.
Detailed descriptions of the animals as well as their unique behavioural quirks are featured on the website. For example, Scarlett is described as “a high energy Vizsla mix that loves going for walks and playing with other dogs,” but comes with the disclaimer that she is sometimes nervous around men.
According to Gray, adoptions will stay open until all of the animals have found a home. To qualify to adopt, prospective adopters have to be interviewed beforehand to ensure their new pet is a good fit for them. The process is similar to that of the SPCA’s.
“They come in first to meet the dogs and fill out an application form, and we chat with them. A lot of people will come in three times to meet the dogs and make sure it’s a good fit. The things we’re looking at are lifestyle, whether or not they have kids, things like that,” Gray said.