In 1969, stray and abandoned animals were increasing in number. A small group of concerned citizens saw the growing problem and made it their mission to provide these homeless creatures with medical attention and shelter. Those dedicated people became the founders of Bide Awhile Animal Shelter.
For the next three years, animals were sheltered in the back room of a Spryfield veterinary clinic. Whenever there were too many animals for the clinic, our founders would seek out temporary homes. In 1972, they took out a mortgage. They were able to purchase a permanent home for the shelter, on Eaton Avenue in Dartmouth.
The building needed a lot of work to bring it up to code, but the community was supportive and provided both materials and labour. Money was tight, but the shelter’s first manager spent cautiously and saved vigorously. Volunteers cared for the animals, often helping out after their regular workday had ended. Even under such tight restraints, each animal was given the individual attention and playtime they needed to successfully transfer to a loving, permanent home.
A society of compassion
In 1970, Bide Awhile was incorporated as a society, allowing us to conduct professional business and creating a stronger foundation for the future. A statement of the society’s purpose was written and by-laws were drafted.
The community quickly recognized us as compassionate caretakers for animals in need. The space on Eaton Avenue was frequently renovated, and we began hiring paid staff to tend the growing number of animals and to provide better care facilities.
Our new home
In April 2008, we opened our new building on Neptune Crescent in Woodside Industrial Park, Dartmouth. Volunteers worked tirelessly for several years, raising the $540,000 needed to build and open the shelter. Executive Director Darrold Gould is extremely happy with the new facility, saying, “This is an amazing place that not only allows us to rescue more animals but helps us to provide a much healthier environment for all of the cats and dogs in our care.”
In May of 2009, we announced the end of our successful Building a Better Bide Awhile campaign. Throughout the campaign, we were constantly overwhelmed by the generosity of our donors—building suppliers, tradespeople, our friends, our members, and volunteers. We’re especially grateful for the kindness of our friend and lead donor Donalee Moulton, Principal of Quantum Communications.
Now that our campaign is over, we’ve strengthened our focus on caring for homeless animals by reaching out to the community and providing animal issues education. We’ve expanded our programs, adding a spaying and neutering initiative for people on low income and a pet visitation program for local seniors’ homes.
In 2012, we created a special garden on the property of the shelter. This garden provides a place to remember or honour a beloved family member or friend—human or animal.
We named the garden in honour of Trio, a three-legged cat who never let her missing leg slow her down. She lived at the shelter for nearly 23 years, loudly expressing her opinions in meetings and throughout the offices and hallways.
Her garden is not a cemetery. It’s a serene place where we can celebrate our loved ones. It’s also a stand-alone fundraising project. All monies raised will help fund the upkeep of the garden and contribute to ongoing animal care at the shelter.
Celebrate a loved one by improving a life. More information
After 40 years, our volunteers are still the driving force of the shelter. But even with our committed people and larger facility, we’re still unable to completely satisfy the current need. We’re dedicated to finding solutions by:
- working closely with animals and people
- educating the public about:
- animal welfare issues
- proper care and training
- how to interact with animals