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02.24.20 / Community

Delta Community Animal Shelter—a different kind of shelter

Free seminars for animal lovers, children calmly reading books to purring cats, dogs frolicking in an off-leash fenced yard…no, this isn’t a spa for pets. This is the Delta Community Animal Shelter, and it’s changing perceptions of what an animal shelter can be.

“We’re so much more than a safe, temporary home for animals,” says animal shelter manager Ryan Voutilainen. “We’ve become a community centre for people and their pets. Everyone who visits says this doesn’t feel like an animal shelter.”

Ryan says providing temporary homes for more than 800 animals a year, as well as their medical and emotional support, is a big part of what they do. As part of the shelter’s commitment to the community, it also began to offer a variety of programs to help ensure everyone has a great relationship with their pets. “We partner with professionals in our local pet community to offer fun, free educational classes and seminars,” he explains. “Plus, our annual Delta Community Animal Expo helps pet owners connect with vendors and animal organizations from across the Lower Mainland.”

Delta Animal Shelter dog

Popular shelter programs include the Tales for Tails reading program, where children read to the shelter’s animals to better their lives. The shelter has also opened two fenced leash-optional yards with agility equipment for dogs, which are open to the public.

The most rewarding part about doing his job, Ryan adds, is having the opportunity to help change the lives of so many animals, such as Wanzi, a hairless Pomeranian who required extensive veterinary care. The shelter provided the care he needed and found him a loving foster home until he could be adopted.

Delta Animal Shelter cat

“Now, he’s thriving in his new home,” says Ryan. “And all his hair has grown back!” In 2018 they were able to find homes for 246 pets and are on track to beat that number this year.

One of the big reasons the shelter is able to do as much as it does, is because of the support of the Delta community. “We simply couldn’t help as many animals as we do without the support of our community minded volunteers,” says Ryan.

Visit the Delta Community Animal shelter at 7505 Hopcott Rd., Delta. Learn more about its programs and read profiles of some of the animals looking for forever homes .