Last Updated: June 1, 2020 – 8pm
The management and leadership of Pacific Assistance Dogs is wanting to share that we are treating COVID-19 pandemic with seriousness, without unduly restricting the important work PADS is doing.
As an essential service, Pacific Assistance Dogs is operating on a limited and adapted basis, with many staff off work, working in isolation or from home.
Please note, the following status is subject to change as the situation unfolds (in consultation with Government recommendations):
ABOUT OUR PEOPLE
PADS is taking the following precautions in order to minimize the spread of illness, and to protect the health and well-being of our staff, volunteers, clients and supporters:
- increasing the frequency of cleaning of multi-contact surfaces within our facilities;
- giving staff the option to take time off, work remotely or self-isolate if they have been exposed or are showing symptoms;
- Implementing protocols within training programs that leashes and collars are only used by one handler to minimize vector transmission.
ABOUT OUR DOGS
Infectious disease experts and multiple international and domestic human and animal health organizations agree there is no evidence at this point to indicate that pets become ill with COVID-19, nor are they vectors of transmission.
In order to support the Government’s request that the general population stays home and to practice social distancing public access has been suspended for our dogs in training, except in cases where their handlers must continue to report for work.
ABOUT OUR PROGRAMS
- We have currently suspended our intake of new expressions of interest (EOI’s) during the COVID-19 Pandemic. We continue to process existing EOI’s that were in the queue prior to May 5th, 2020 and to process applications that have been submitted.
- New Client Team Training: Proceeding as scheduled with essential staff & volunteers only.
- Client Care: In-person annual follow-ups are canceled until further notice, PADS staff will continue to actively support client teams remotely (phone, email, teleconference) or in-person in the case of emergency.
Volunteer Programs [New Update]
- All in person volunteer programs are suspended (puppy-classes, new volunteer onboarding and puppy-raiser walk & talks, one-on-ones, etc).
- We are currently looking at ways we can support our volunteers in person while observing social distancing guidelines – this will allow for one-on-one training support in outdoor environments.
- Volunteer intake is currently on hold as we develop online training and orientation curriculum.
- Full information for volunteers on supports and changes in operations can be located at hydrant.pads.ca/covid19
In response to the COVID pandemic, PADS took the decision to pause our breeding program mid-March based on the uncertainty regarding how the spread of the disease would play out in the regions that house our breeding and puppy-raising programs, in order to ensure that we were not placing undue risk or pressure on our volunteer breeder-caretakers, breeding program staff, the veterinary community, and our puppy-raising program.
As the pandemic has continued, our team meets regularly to reassess our operations, and we will be resuming breeding activities at a reduced level for the near future. This decision has been made by weighing the long-term implications for PADS clients and applicants of suspending the breeding program any longer, the availability of veterinary service, the number of raisers waiting for puppies, and the ratio of qualified breeder-caretaker homes to litters we’ll be expecting, which means that we will be able to move litters in case of volunteer illness. Within the past 6 weeks, simply due to the unfortunate timing, we’ve skipped close to a quarter of our breeding heats for the year, and the shortfall we’ve already experienced will continue to be felt in lower placement numbers with clients for the next several years.
The safety of our people and puppies are our utmost concern, and breedings will only be done if there is a volunteer who is comfortable whelping and rearing the litter, whether it is the dog’s regular caretaker, or a different volunteer or staff home.
While it is impossible to forecast what the situation will be in 2.5 months when the puppies are due and 4.5 months when the puppies go out to raisers, this may continue to be the reality for the foreseeable future. As the condition with the pandemic continues to evolve PADS will continue to adapt its response to the current situation with the joint goals of keeping our community safe and ensuring there will be quality assistance dogs available to our clients 3 years from now.
- Upcoming Events: All currently scheduled events are canceled (Love of Dog Gala, BC Distilled), future events (such as our summer Open Houses, etc) will be determined at a later date.
- Community Engagement Events: All currently booked events have been postponed, and PADS will not be accepting requests for future bookings until further notice.
PADS greatly appreciates the support of our community during this challenging time, this page will be updated on an ongoing basis. Please feel free to check back for updates as they unfold.
Any questions regarding PADS COVID-19 response should be directed to communications [at] pads [dot] ca
HOW YOU CAN HELP
We have been overwhelmed by those asking how they can help PADS in this time.
Our dogs are well cared for and loved, we have few litters on the ground, but the largest challenge PADS is facing is financial. We’ve had to cancel countless community events each week, as well as our annual Gala.
These events change lives.
We ask that if you are in a position to give—maybe even saving some money on gas and morning coffees as you work from home—we’d be honoured if you chose to share with PADS. Your gift will help ensure we continue to place life-changing dogs.