By Amanda Matwie

Pamela Young began fostering animals for Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS) in 2012, when she moved into a new house with her son and he requested a “big dog.” She knew that owning a dog, especially a large one, would be a significant commitment. At the time, Pamela was working full time and her son was in multiple sports, so she decided to try fostering first to see if a big dog would be able to fit into their lives.

Originally, Pamela was only able to foster dogs, as she had a cat who did not appreciate other cats in her space. Later on, when that cat passed away, she decided that it made sense to start fostering cats as well. The cats that she has fostered get to hang out in the basement with her cat-loving son, most preferring not to venture upstairs where there are multiple dogs at any given time. Pamela’s SCARS alumni dog Iceis took some time to get used to having other dogs in her home, so at first Pamela had to foster primarily male dogs. It took over a decade, but Iceis has finally gotten used to the steady stream of dogs coming through the home and will accept them all, which is fortunate considering Pamela has “come to love helping dogs and cats get their second chance” and seems intent on continuing to foster animals for as long as she is able.

“Though it can be exhausting and never ending, I just can’t NOT open my home to help,” Pamela says, crediting each dog that she has helped find “that special home” for keeping her fostering. “Each dog and cat deserves that second chance to be loved and find (its) forever home,” she declares. Pamela finds further motivation in seeing young people wanting to volunteer, especially as she actively raises her son and nieces to understand the importance of animal rescue and advocacy work. For those that are not ready or able to adopt or to foster, there are still endless ways to contribute to the work that SCARS does. When I ask Pamela what she wishes that more people knew about SCARS and rescue work in general, she replies that she wishes more people knew “how little time it takes to make a huge difference.” Pamela tells me, “Volunteers are always needed, whether that’s for fostering, dog walking, cat cuddling, driving or just about anything else one could think of.”

Second Chance Animal Rescue Society (SCARS), like most animal rescues here in Alberta, operates primarily through the efforts of volunteers. These volunteers do everything from walking dogs and cuddling kittens to opening their homes to provide temporary placements for animals. There are a multitude of volunteer roles that help the rescue run. Learn more about volunteering for SCARS.