Finding ‘forever homes’ for Surrey’s furry creatures

SURREY – They say if you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.

That’s something Rodney Weleschuk, manager of the SPCA’s Surrey Education & Adoption Centre, knows to be true.

Coming from a background in retail, Weleschuk made the jump into managing the new centre because he wasn’t feeling gratified in his previous job.

“My personal hobby and interest is small animals. I have four rabbits, as well as many little birds.”

And while he loves the animals, he’s also fulfilling his desire to nurture in his new position.

“I also have a sister who is mentally ill, so I’ve spent time in my life being her caregiver and advocate. This is kind of giving me more personal gratification, something that’s a little bit more meaningful.”

The new centre, located at 16748 50th Ave., opened March 1. In the first month, the centre adopted out 12 cats, two puppies, two hamsters and a guinea pig.

While it’s a happy moment when the centre makes a match, and adopts an animal out, it’s sometimes sad to see them go.

“I try not to get too attached. I am a bunny person, so I am kind of attached to one of the rabbits here. It’ll be tough to see him go,” he said of Bunz the bunny.

The key in adopting out animals is making the right match, Weleschuk explained.

“It’s important that you are close to all of the animals so you understand what their behaviours, wants and needs are. When I put them together that’s my big moment,” he said. “It’s about finding forever homes.”

The focus of the centre is to fast-track adoption for cats and other small animals suffering from overpopulation, Weleschuk explained.

But the group is taking it further than adoption, by looking at ways to help low-income residents keep animals they struggle to provide for.

“We’re trying to make connections with different food banks and drop-in centres so we can help low-income people with the food to feed their animals… We also want to develop in future programs where we can assist in perhaps medical services.”

Renovations are still underway, set to be completed in June. Cruelty investigators also work out of the new facility, as well as a retail store.