For many, animals are beloved family members, friends and companions. When they are sick or injured, owners experience a variety of emotions and challenges.
As part of the treatment team at the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre, the Veterinary Social Work Program is here to support you through this difficult time.
How we can help
- Offering emotional support during diagnostic testing, treatment or euthanasia
- Helping you communicate your questions and concerns to your medical team
- Helping you communicate your questions and concerns to your veterinary medical team
- Providing referral to community supports if needed after you leave the medical centre or after an animal's death
- Helping you communicate your animal's illness and possible death to your children
- Helping you and your family work through your loss
- Support and referral for farm stress due to issues with your herd or production animals
- Support and referral for family members who are caring for seriously ill pets
- Support and referral for issues such as abuse (animals/people) and alcohol/drug addictions
Quality of life decision-making scales
Created by the University of Tennessee Knoxville VSW
Mobile crisis units across Saskatchewan
- Suicidal feelings, thoughts or plans
- Child abuse and neglect (when the Ministry of Social Services — Child Protection is closed)
- Marriage and family problems
- Overwhelming emotions
- Relapse of mental illness
- Problems with drug and alcohol use and abuse
- Worries about safety
- Older adults/seniors in distress
Monday to Friday: 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.; 1 to 5 p.m.
General emergency preparedness
- "Prepare for an emergency" website, Saskatchewan Public Service Agency
- "Get prepared" website, Government of Canada
- Download the WCVM environmental disasters and mental health fact sheet
Pet emergency checklist: emergencies can happen at any time. Plan ahead and prepare an emergency kit for your pets.
- Download pet emergency kit checklist (saskspca.ca)
- Download pet project: five ways to prep your pet for emergencies, Centers for Disease Control
- Download pet emergency information sheet (saskspca.ca): in an emergency, the pet emergency sheet provides an easy-to-follow guide with information that you can share with someone who may need to look after your pet(s). Post this information sheet inside your home in a highly visible location such as your refrigerator door.
Equine emergency checklist: emergencies can happen at any time. Plan ahead to protect your horses.
- Download the horse identification form
- Download the equine evacuation emergency contacts
- "Are you and your horse ready for an emergency evacuation?" (interactive)
Herd animal check list: the Animal Health Emergency Management (AHEM) project provides a summary of action plans and emergency phases for producers so that you can take action to better prepare and protect your herd.
- Download the Saskatchewan producer handbook for beef cattle
- Download "Emergency response procedures for non-disease related emergencies"
- Download the Animal Health Emergency Management (AHEM) producer workbook that provides an array of customizable tools and templates that can help you better prepare for an emergency event
- Download the fact sheet, "Suspicion of a serious animal disease: the first 48 hours for producers"
- Download a brochure about animal diseases emergency management
- Download a poster, "Detecting foot and mouth disease in cattle"
- Download the Livestock Evacuation Documentation form
- Download the Canadian Beef Cattle On-Farm Biosecurity Standard
Farm Stress Line
Intimate partner/domestic violence safety planning for pets
Created by Community Veterinary Outreach
A checklist for individuals leaving a domestic violence relationship and for professionals helping clients planning to exit violent relationships to safely plan for pets.
ViolenceLink.ca provides information about the link between animal abuse and domestic violence. The website includes resources for survivors, professionals and more.
Animal care guidelines for emergency co-sheltering
Created by Community Veterinary Outreach
Best practices for those emergency housing facilities interested in implementing co-sheltering services for people and their animals.
Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan
The Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan (PATHS) is the member association for agencies that provide intimate partner violence services across Saskatchewan. Members include women’s shelters (also known as domestic violence shelters, safe shelters, transition houses, or interval houses), second stage shelters, and counselling centres that offer counselling and support to survivors of IPV.
Pet safekeeping in Saskatchewan
The victims of interpersonal violence and abuse may stay in a violent situation in order to protect their animals. Some victims risk their own lives by returning home in order to feed and care for their animals. Animal safekeeping programs help promote the safety and wellbeing of individuals leaving a violent situation by providing short-term temporary care for their animals.
Family Services Saskatoon
Family Services Saskatoon offers a variety of support services for survivors of intimate partner violence. Visit the Family Services Saskatoon website and expand the “Individuals” section to access information on various topics.
- Intimate Partner Violence Outreach — a safe and secure place to access confidential individual services.
- Women’s Intimate Partner Violence Weekly Group — an open group for participants who have experienced violence to learn about the cycle of violence, to support one another, and to share personal experiences with weekly facilitator-led discussion topics.
- Abuse and Beyond — a group to explore the impact of abuse on your life and move toward healthy and positive relationships.
- Invisible Scars: Exploring Emotional, Verbal and Psychological Abuse (free service) — an eight-week group that explores the impact of emotional, psychological and verbal abuse in your life. Providing support and resources to heal from “invisible scars."
- Domestic Violence Court Caseworkers — click here to view the brochure.
For more information or to access any of these free resources, please:
- call Family Services Saskatoon at 306-244-0127
- speak with an intake worker and ask to be referred for domestic violence/intimate partner violence support
New Hope Dog Rescue Hospital Care Program
The Hospital Care Program can provide temporary care for dogs while their owners recover in the hospital. A patient's dog(s) can stay with a foster home for up to a maximum of 90 days.
If you are a client of the WCVM Veterinary Medical Centre (VMC) who needs this service, please contact the WCVM's veterinary social work program for a referral (306-966-2852).
For health care providers and community support agencies, click here to provide referrals for clients needing a referral.
Pet food banks
The positive impact of animals on human lives is well documented. Improved mental and physical health, along with unconditional love and companionship are key factors of the bond between people and our pets. They’re family.
Proper nutrition is a vital component in the health and well-being of all animals. By providing pet food, we hope to alleviate one of the many pressures faced by families that may be experiencing food insecurity. Together, we can prevent families from being forced to decide whether they keep their pet or surrender their loved one to a shelter or rescue.
SVMA Member Wellness Support Program
The Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA) began subsidizing professional counselling services for members in 2012. Professional Psychologists and Counsellors (PPC) is based in Saskatoon and provides access to over 40 therapists across the province by referral.
These counselling services are available to all registered veterinarians and registered veterinary technologists (RVTs) in Saskatchewan.
Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
Housing, Public Spaces, Employment and Education — Saskatchewan Human Rights Legislation
The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code requires the accommodation of persons with disabilities.
Under this legislation, “disability means: (a) any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement, including: (i) epilepsy; (ii) any degree of paralysis; (iii) amputation; (iv) lack of physical coordination; (v) blindness or visual impediment; (vi) deafness or hearing impediment; (vii) muteness or speech impediment; or (viii) physical reliance on a service animal, wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device; or (b) any of the following disabilities: (i) an intellectual disability or impairment; (ii) a learning disability, or a dysfunction in one or more of the processes involved in the comprehension or use of symbols or spoken language; (iii) a mental disorder.”
Click on the following resources to access information on the rights of service animals and emotional support animals in housing, public spaces, employment and education.
- View the SHRC Policy on Service Animals (saskatchewanhumanrights.ca)
Emotional support animals:
- View the SHRC Policy on Emotional Support Animals (saskatchewanhumanrights.ca)
- Ask a WCVM veterinarian or staff member about social work services
- Call 306-966-2852 for social work services