The 10 golden retriever puppies that were found stranded have become the gateway to starting a conversation about a nationwide abandonment crisis.

On January 9, news outlets and social media blew up surrounding the discovery of 10 golden retriever puppies that were found on the side of Highway 308 near Highway 503 in the R.M. of Reynolds.

The Falcon Beach RCMP caught three of them, and K9 Advocates Manitoba and Rural Animal Management Services (RAMS) found the remaining seven.

Meagan Malo is one of the volunteers at K9 Advocates that searched for the abandoned puppies, and she says that it is a weekly thing to do, to go out to pick up stranded animals.

She and a friend picked up three of the puppies and brought them to foster homes, while the others went to RAMS where they received a flood of adoption requests for the puppies and had to announce that inquiries will not be followed up on until the puppies are ready to be adopted.

"Rescues are run down, people are run down behind those rescues, and people dump their animals. They're abandoned, they're injured, and sometimes they're even shot. I do think that these golden retrievers have kind of brought some awareness, just with all the news and media and everything, because then people can kind of get informed with rescues and what is happening in Manitoba," says Malo.

She encourages people to give this same type of attention to the hundreds of animals that are rescued every month and to consider opening their homes by becoming a foster. What that means is to temporarily take in rescues and provide a warm and loving atmosphere while all the expenses are taken care of by the organization.

Due to the large number of animals on the waiting list to be put in shelters and to be taken by rescues, many organizations work together with others in different provinces. 

For example, the CEO of the Winnipeg Humane Society, Jessica Miller says that they work with organizations in Newfoundland because of the high demand for adoptions in the eastern province. It helps the overpopulation crisis of animals that Manitoba is facing right now.

"There's a North America-wide issue with shelters and rescues being full," says Miller. "Some of it is due to you know post-pandemic life, adopted through the pandemic...and now are finding the struggle real in terms of training their animals [that are] too far gone and we are seeing a surrender request increase specifically for behaviour animals. There's also a veterinary shortage, so with the lack of vets in general and high cost to care, people are finding themselves in a sticky situation with their animals."

Miller also notes that animal owners can't keep up with the rise of inflation and maintain regular vet visits, food, toys, etc for their animals.

If anyone does happen upon a stranded animal they can contact the WHS or another rescue, such as K9 Advocates. It's important to know that rescues do not have physical facilities so they rely on foster homes.

The WHS has adopted its own foster program due to the large backlog of animals on the waiting list to be surrendered. 

For pet owners that find themselves struggling and thinking of surrendering them, consider the many programs that the Winnipeg Humane Society has, such as urgent care through their veterinary clinic, food bank requests, and its Barn Buddies program.