An Accidental Beginning
While Finding Them Homes – James Bay Pawsitive Rescue recently celebrated the 2,200th dog adoption in its short history, it had an almost accidental beginning.
In September 2012, Sara Feero, a resident of Moosonee, Ontario learned that the deadline for two puppies (Patches and Willow) to find a home was near, and as is so often the case in communities with no veterinary care and few options for stray dogs, would be euthanized. Sara contacted a friend, Brenda Mueller, and together they decided to foster these 2 puppies. To find forever homes for them, Brenda contacted Julia (Jules) Dezoete in Barrie who got word out via social media about a couple of dogs available for adoption. In the meantime, Nadia Peters in Moose Factory was also looking for homes for a litter of puppies.
On Sept. 28, 2012, with the assistance of Pilots ‘n Paws, the dogs were brought south to Barrie and subsequently adopted out to friends and family. Although we didn’t know it at the time, that date has since been recognized as the official start of Finding Them Homes.
Soon, Karen Metatawabin-Wesley from Fort Albany, another James Bay area community, contacted the group of friends to find solutions to the large population of stray dogs. The only available option till that time to manage the over-population of dogs was to conduct culls. Before long, Karen led volunteers into the woods and along river banks to rescue stray dogs and litters of puppies, and with the ongoing help of Pilots ‘n Paws, Ontario Northland Railway, and dedicated volunteer drivers, many rescued dogs found their way to Barrie.
As the number of dogs increased, the nucleus of an organization began to take shape. Lisa, Julia’s twin sister, became heavily involved, especially after they nursed a sickly pup, Oakley, from the brink of death back to life. He subsequently became the mascot for Finding Them Homes (and is featured on the logo). As word spread of the plight of dogs and puppies in remote northern communities without access to veterinary care, donations to rescue and provide care for them started to come in. Toward the end of 2013 it was decided to add some structure to the ad hoc group and a board of directors was created to help manage the growing volume of work. In January 2014 it was decided to apply to the CRA for charitable status and this was granted in July 2014.
5 Years & Counting
Finding Them Homes has now completed over 5 years of operation but it could not have reached this point without the tireless efforts of its many volunteers. Board positions are also all volunteer. The only remuneration anyone receives is the satisfaction of seeing so many dogs rescued and placed in loving forever homes. Through the donations of countless supporters, funds have been raised to conduct veterinary clinics in a number of communities where dogs could be neutered/spayed and receive vaccinations.
Communities in the James Bay areas that Finding Them Homes has been able to help have now become much safer with the reduction of roaming dogs. The success of these programs in the James Bay area has allowed Finding Them Homes to offer help to communities on Manitoulin Island as well as those north of Thunder Bay.