Nelson Community Pet Rehabilitation Project helps injured or abandoned pets find new homes.

Helping pets on the brink

A total of 49 cats and 14 dogs that have been admitted to the Pet Rehabilitation Project since it began in late November.

An aggressive German Shepherd named Spike was the first “client” of the Nelson Community Pet Rehabilitation Project. He had been slated to be euthanized because of his problem behaviour, but after a bit of training and some intensive TLC, Spike now has a new adoptive family and a new lease on life.

Then there’s Tom, a stray tabby cat known to Fairview residents for years. He’s on the mend after being treated for serious face injuries and broken teeth.

As for Boots, who had to have an eye removed due to trauma, that kitten has now been adopted into a loving new home.

These are just a few of the 49 cats and 14 dogs that have been admitted to the Pet Rehabilitation Project since it began in late November. Funded by a $20,000 grant from Osprey Community Foundation, the project is run by volunteers with the Kootenay Animal Assistance Program (KAAP). When these Good Samaritans receive referrals about pets at risk, they spring into action to provide assistance. That could involve spay/neutering services, vet surgeries, prescribed medications, behavioural assessments and training, or maybe a special training harness for an aggressive dog.

“Without this program, many of these cats and dogs would have been euthanized or left to suffer and die,” says Wendy Pope, a KAAP Director.

In one case, 17 cats that hadn’t been fed for six weeks were rescued from a single trailer. The animals were fixed, treated for minor medical issues, and placed in new homes.

Referrals — and there are a lot of them — come from the SPCA, vet clinics, and private individuals. KAAP’s goal is to keep pets in their own homes, if possible, but sometimes that is not an option. After treatment, they may be placed in foster care until they can be found new, permanent homes.

Osprey was able to fund this project due to a large endowment from a donor who specified that it be used for animal care. As with all Osprey funds, the donated capital will never be spent, but will continue to generate income every year ­— in this case, for the welfare of local animals.

“Osprey’s role is to connect donors with local causes that matter to them,” says Chris Smith, co-chair of Osprey’s grants committee.

“KAAP had a plan ­— plus the volunteer energy to put it into action — and just needed financial help to roll it out. Thanks to our donors, we were able to support their efforts.”

Donors to Osprey have the option of giving to a general fund that benefits the broader community or specifying particular causes or fields-of-interest they wish to support.

To find out more about how you can make a difference locally, go to or call 250-352-3643.  To learn more about the Pet Rehab Project, see

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