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Adopting a furry-friend may have more benefits than you know. A 2022 study revealed that owning an animal companion can lead to various positive health outcomes. The study found a link between lower levels of depression and anxiety when owning a pet.

At the same time, according to another study, animal shelters in Canada brought over 100,000 dogs and cats into their care in 2019. 

As such, many animal shelters have quickly picked up the phrase “adopt, don’t shop.” Meaning that when you are looking for a pet companion, consider looking at animal shelters instead of other avenues because odds are, they might have just what you are looking for.

Local animal shelters, MEOW Foundation and Animal Rescue Foundation, are working to provide lost animals with a loving home. Non-profit foundations like these take on the responsibility of caring for animals that fit in their shelter, while animals are astray in Calgary. 

Jenna McFarland and helper keep cats nails trimmed and well-groomed. PHOTO: ISABELLA WEST

Animal rescues are put into place in order to save, nurse back to health and put a roof over stray, abandoned, surrendered and lost animals. 

Jenna McFarland, intake manager from the MEOW Foundation believes that every cat can become nursed to health. 

“We don’t discriminate based on age or medical status,” said McFarland. “We believe that every cat is adoptable. So even if it may not be what we’d consider to be a top tier adoptable cat, we want to be helping these animals live a healthy and long life.”

Animal shelters need workers like McFarland who handle the core duties of operations. However, as important as those positions are, shelters strive for volunteers and they are in high demand. 

Animal shelters are always looking for an extra set of hands in order to help with the essential parts of working with the animals, like keeping the living spaces clean, ensuring everyone is fed and watered and giving out some much needed TLC.

“A challenge is definitely keeping volunteers … having the volunteers and the commitment level. Some people just wanna volunteer a few times a month and that’s what they can commit to, whereas other volunteers can do a little bit more,” said Sarah Barks, volunteer coordinator at the rescue foundation. Ways to be involved include adopting, donating and helping out at an animal shelter in your area. 

Jenna McFarland from MEOW Foundation cuddles a cat. PHOTO: ISABELLA WEST

Editor’s note: Due to a technical error, at 5:35 minutes into the video, the name of the speaker should be Jenna Verot.

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Isabella West is a fourth-year Journalism student at MRU. She completed her work term over the summer of 2023 at LiveWire Calgary in partnership with the Calgary Journal.