by danielam on December 13, 2017 - 9:47pm
Throughout the last part of the semester, I focused on animals and their well-being. All of my life I have had pets in my house and I can not imagine a world without animals. These are so pure and all they do is be there for us, humans. It is our duty to help and protect these animals as they are living beings. After researching about animal wale fare in Quebec I found it heartbreaking that it is known as the best province to be an animal abuser. For this project, I wanted to volunteer at a place where animal wale fare is the top priority. With the help of our teacher, Gabriel Flacks, I found the perfect organization called Engage. Engage is a relatively new non-profit organization whose goal is to raise awareness of animal well being and educate youth on this. They believe that by educating the new generation, past generations will learn from them and change their ways. Also, since they are younger, it is easier for them to learn and practice the values of respect, compassion, responsibility, and civic engagement. They offer interactive workshops to educate children and they do this by working collaboratively with animal shelters, schools, and community organizations. Not only do they want to improve animals lives but the community as a whole, as they would like to create a socially-conscious society.
Throughout the years, animal abandonment rates in Quebec have increased. A CBC news article was written on October 30, 2017, by Laura Marchand talks about stray cats in Montreal. It is difficult to count the number of stray cats but animal wale fare believe the number is reaching into the millions. Many people are taking action into their own hands by killing the cats. Poisoned cat food was found in the back of alleys of Verdun and many cats died to do to this. Sophie Gaillard, animal advocacy lawyer with the Montreal SPCA “warns that without an island-wide effort, getting rid of the stray cat population will be difficult.” Volunteers have been working with shelters in order to capture stray cats and sterilize them. This will decrease the possibility more population but it will not stop the problem. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-stray-cat-problem-1.4377095
For the volunteering part of the project I, along with three classmates, met with the founders of the organization; these are Emilie and Colleen. They explained the organization and their main goal which is for animal welfare education to become part of Quebec’s educational system. They would like this to be taught in elementary as it would be something useful for the kids. In the meeting, we helped them by giving them little tips on how they could improve. We thought that the word workshop was not as appealing and we explained why. Also, their brochure had a lot of writing and we advised them to put more pictures than words. In addition to, the pictures in the brochure were of kids around the same age and we recommended them to include a greater variety. In the meeting, they gave us brochures so we could put them around the south shore. They are trying to reach as many children as they can and they work all around the Greater Montreal Area. This is great because their message will be able to expand to many places and not just one.
On Saturday, December 9th, 2017, I attended one of the interactive workshops Engage in the Service Animalier de la Rive-Sud in South Shore. Once we went to the shelter they gave us a presentation of what Engage is. In the workshop, there were five girls and two boys. After the presentation, they gave us a tour of the facilities. We went to every room and part of the shelter. We got to see where the sick animals are kept and where the vets get them checked. We saw their cages and played with some cats. We also saw the room where they euthanize animals that are very old or very sick. At the beginning of the tour, the shelter was closed to the public so we got to see the volunteers and people that work there do some of their jobs. We made some toys for the cats and each gave it to a specific cat. We got the chance of seeing how they played with the toy we made. After, we went back to the conference room and talked about why there are so many stray animals. We gave the reasons and for each reason, we provided a solution. Once the board was done, each of us chose a solution and made an informative poster about it. We had magazines we could cut pictures off and we wrote a simple yet effective message. We could only stay for half of the workshop but in my opinion, it was really good. The presentation was informative and it gave the children a chance to think and interact with the presenters. Also, by creating the posters it got their creativity going and raise awareness of the problems and gave a solution for it. They really seemed to enjoy the tour and the activities as they were all participating in the conversations and in the activities.
For the multimedia part of this volunteer project, I took pictures and videos of the facilities of the shelter and of the workshops. I created a video with the pictures that I took and I added little commentary for the pictures. I would have liked to have more pictures for this video but we had very little time and activities. The first part of the video I included pictures of the exotic animals, after, the cats and then of the dogs for adoption. I also included a picture of the toys we created and a video of the cat I gave my toy to. The last pictures correspond to the posters we made and these were placed in the shelter.
The link to the video is: https://youtu.be/KZKgVj8235U