An organization that helps match dogs with owners needs help. Animatch is looking for donations and volunteers. The not-for-profit, registered charity began in 1999 in the Île Perrot home of its founder, Helen Lacroix. Animatch later moved to Les Cèdres and was based there for 18 years until recently when the city expropriated the property to build a new public works garage. But recently, Lacroix relocated Animatch to her new home in the Québec part of Pointe-Fortune.
“We’re panicking, we’re in a desperate situation here,” said Lacroix about the need to properly develop and outfit a new dog adoption centre at her Pointe-Fortune property before the winter months arrive. Animatch provides dog adoption services a lot like how children’s services agencies have a process for placing children with adoptive parents. Lacroix said Animatch receives dogs from people who have decided to give up their pets, from local animal control agencies, and puppy mills. It is different than the shelters operated by humane societies or Societies for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) because walk-in adoptions are not allowed. A potential adopter cannot just arrive at Animatch and leave with their new pet. There is a strict screening process.
“It’s not the people who are our clients, it’s the dogs,” said Lacroix. Dogs at Animatch are not given to new homes unless there is proof they will be properly loved, cared for, and not ignored due to owners’ busy schedules. Hopeful dog owners pay $425 at Animatch. All adopted dogs are sterilized, vaccinated, and microchipped.
Animatch has always operated from a facility at Lacroix’s home, and right now, everything is crowded into her garage in Pointe-Fortune. She’s in the process of getting ready to build a stand-alone facility that meets Québec regulations for animal shelters. Lacroix said Animatch’s budget has flatlined at $130,000 and she needs $200,000 for the new adoption centre. She said there are usually 25 to 30 dogs at Animatch and due to space restrictions, she has been turning away an average of two dogs per week lately. The dogs also don’t have a secure area to be outdoors in. “We don’t have a proper fence for them,” Lacroix said.
The level of corporate sponsorship and the number of volunteers are two other things Helen Lacroix wants to increase for Animatch. There are about 100 volunteers now, but most of them live on the West Island or even further away. Animatch is governed by a five-member board of directors and has a five-member fundraising committee that is trying to raise money, so it can develop a proper adoption centre in Pointe-Fortune. Animatch is meant as a temporary stop for dogs on their way to being permanently adopted. “These dogs need a home,” said Helen Lacroix.
More information on Animatch is available on its website; animatch.ca