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Shuswap animal rescue a whisker away from capacity

Shuswap Paws Rescue Society currently has over 100 animals in foster care
Oriah Johnston hand feeds a kitten needing medical attention in Shuswap Paws Rescue Society’s foster care, with the organization currently caring for over 100 animals after having an influx from the summer’s wildfires. (Siobhan Rich photo)

After a busy summer, it’s all paws on deck for a local animal rescue group.

Shuswap Paws Rescue Society took in a lot of animals displaced during the summer’s wildfires, and currently still has over 100 critters in their care with 27 of those being fostered in Sicamous alone.

“We’re operating on an emergency basis only right now,” volunteer Siobhan Rich said. “We’re closed for intake, but that doesn’t mean we won’t take emergencies.”

After the Bush Creek East fire, they ended up with a lot of animals from people who had lost their homes and couldn’t rent a temporary place with pets. Additionally, Paws volunteers went in to the Little Shuswap fire zone and trapped cats that they fostered until their owners could be identified and reunited, or re-homed as needed. Rich added, however, that they don’t typically take owner surrenders because they don’t have the room, and instead focus on the hard cases where medical assistance is needed.

They also trap feral cats, re-homing the ones that are young enough to be socialized while the older ones that can’t be tamed go through their Trap, Neuter, Release program and are returned to their accustomed habitats. All animals that come to the Paws society get the full veterinary work up and are spayed or neutered, tattooed and microchipped and vaccinated before being re-homed or released.

As vet bills are the non-profit’s biggest expense, they fundraise regularly at craft fairs and other events, as well as collect bottles and cans for return.

“We have a huge income from that, so we really appreciate that,” Rich said, adding that volunteer Tracy Hughes collects and sorts the majority of those.

A lot of the other expenses related to the society’s work is absorbed by the volunteers themselves, who give their time and use their gas to chauffeur the animals to vet appointments as needed.

“It’s not just having a cute kitten in their house,” Rich said of the fosters. “They can need a lot of vet appointments that you have to take them to.”

She added, however, that it’s worth it and their volunteers all willingly step up to help the animals, which has included a pig and chickens.

Anyone wanting to donate, volunteer or adopt their fur-ever friend can contact the society on their Facebook page under Shuswap Paws Rescue Society, or by emailing them at

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About the Author: Heather Black

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