“Charitable Choices” with Lori Waters, Director of Home at Last Rescue

Home at Last Rescue (HALR) is a volunteer-run registered Canadian Charity. Their goal is to save cats from poor living situations and provide them with better lives. They offer medical attention, emotional support, and a loving and nutritious environment all the while preparing to find them new homes. We spoke with Lori Waters, Director of HALR to learn more.

Home at Last Rescue

Describe your charity/non-profit in a few sentences.

Home at Last Rescue (HALR) is a Registered Canadian Charity, that is 100% volunteer driven. Our goal is to rescue cats from substandard living conditions and find them the loving homes they deserve. We will provide the medical care they need, including spays, neuters and vaccinations, prior to finding them their forever homes.

What problem does it aim to solve?

We know we can’t solve the problem ourselves, but we aim to contribute to ending the ever-increasing issue of over-population of cats and kittens, by spaying and neutering as many cats as we are able to. We will then either find them forever homes through our adoption program or release them through TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return) programs.

When did you start/join it?

We received our Registered Charity status in June 2020, but Home at Last Rescue was officially launched in November 2020 by a small group of seven dedicated volunteers with many years of individual experience in various other local rescues and animal shelters.

What made you want to get involved?

The need to help stray, abandoned, sick cats is never-ending, unfortunately. We wanted to start a new rescue with common goals and interests in mind – helping the cats and kittens in our care to the best of our abilities. Our goal is to put the needs of the cats first and foremost.

What was the situation like when you started?

As a newly formed rescue, we were able to develop our own policies and procedures with our values and beliefs in mind. We took the best practices from our previous experiences and built on them and also looked at what didn’t work before, or what didn’t fit with our values, and established our rescue from there. We were a small group doing only virtual in-home adoptions, due to Covid. We certainly mastered the art of doing paperwork and meet & greets virtually!

How has it changed since?

We started with seven people and have now grown to have over 150+ volunteers, which includes fosters, store volunteers, drivers, writers, crafters, etc. We now have a physical adoption centre located in PetSmart Etobicoke. Since our inception, we have adopted out over 700 cats – which means 700 cats that have been spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped that will never know life on the streets.

Home at Last Rescue

What more needs to be done?

The need to help never ends. We need to continue to educate the public to spay and neuter their pets. We need to advocate for more low-cost spay and neuter clinics. We hear so often that people don’t get their pets spayed or neutered because they can’t afford it. We need to educate people to keep their cats inside.

How can our readers help?

Volunteer to help in some capacity! Donate! We receive no government funding at all. Our adoption fees barely cover the very basic vetting every cat receives. Many of the medical cases we take on cost us thousands of dollars, which adoption fees don’t cover. We rely on our fundraising initiatives and donations from our supporters to help with these additional costs. Our vet bills alone were almost $180,000 in 2021.

There are so many ways to help – foster, volunteer, donate, and share our stories and initiatives. Not just Home at Last Rescue, but all rescues always need fosters – we can’t take in more cats/kittens if we don’t have fosters in place to take them.

Do you have any events coming up?

Our largest fundraisers are our online auctions! We generally have 2-3 auctions a year and our biggest one is coming up in November – our “Winter Wishes 2022” holiday auction. We will have hundreds of amazing items to bid on and all proceeds support the cats and kittens in our care. PetSmart Charities National Adoption weekend is also in November and we will have extra volunteers on hand at our adoption centre in PetSmart Etobicoke to speak with anyone who drops by.

Where can we follow you?

Website | Facebook | Instagram | TikTok | Twitter

PAY IT FORWARD: What is an awesome local charity/non-profit that you love?

Annex Cat Rescue does amazing work, especially with TNR initiatives.