Through Ruff Times

Program Description

The connection between people and pets is significant and sometimes one of the most important, fulfilling relationships in one’s life. Through Ruff Times aims to reduce barriers for people with pets who may experience poverty, homelessness, mental health and substance use, violent living conditions and/or any other self-identified challenges. We offer pet care options so that people do not need to make a “choice” between accessing supports or losing their animal companion. Along with our volunteer RUFF Sitter Team, we provide no cost, temporary pet care for up to 3 months.

We also offer dog/cat food and pet supplies and other pet related supports to individuals and/or community partners around the GTA.

Need Support?

Please contact Mella or Melissa for intake information:

Mella mellab@breakawaycs.ca

Melissa melissap@breakawaycs.ca

or call (647) 209-4058

FAQ for Pet Intake

How does it work if I need TRT to look after my dog or cat?

Service Users and Support Workers can reach out to coordinate an intake. We want to collect information about your pet’s routine and needs so that we can pair it with the most appropriate guesthouse.

Is there a chance I will lose my pet?

No, we want you and your pet to stay together. The reason we exist is to provide an option so that you do not lose your dog/cat.

Where will my dog/cat stay?

We have an amazing team of volunteer cat and dog Sitters who also want you and your pet to stay together. They are animal lovers who have gone through an application process, including references and a home visit. Your dog/cat will stay in a Ruff Sitter’s home until you are ready to be reunited.

What if I don’t have food and supplies for my pet?

That’s no problem – we have supplies such as dog beds, crates, litter, food, etc. that will be provided to our Sitter during your pet’s stay.

Will I be able to see my cat/dog?

Your pet will be staying in the private home of a volunteer, so unfortunately visits are not possible. However, we can communicate with you as much as you’d like with any updates, photos or day-to-day activities. If you have questions you would like to ask the Sitter about how your pet is doing, you can do so through your TRT contact.

How long can my pet stay in TRT’s care?

We have Sitters who can provide care for a minimum of 5 days to a maximum of 3 months.

When will my cat/dog return to me?

As soon as you say you’re ready! Once we hear that you and your loved one can be reunited, we will aim to get them to you as soon as possible. This will depend on our Sitter and Transporter’s schedule for pick up and your availability for drop off. We imagine you’ll be very excited to reunite, so we want this beautiful moment to happen as soon as it can.

I notice you post stories and quotes on your social media accounts. Will my personal information be shared?

No. The information you give us is confidential and known only to your immediate TRT contact(s). When a photo and/or story is posted on social media it with permission to share, and we’re happy to share your words but only if you want us to.

I live outside of Toronto, can you still look after my pet?

Unfortunately, we cannot. We are small group of volunteers and resources based in Toronto. In time we hope this answer will change as we are hearing from people who need support from all over southern Ontario

Will I be in touch with the dog/cat’s owner?

No, we want to protect your privacy, as well as the privacy of the person whose dog/cat you’re caring for. Any communication that may need to happen will be through a TRT contact. If you’re able to provide updates about how your houseguest is doing, we would love to pass them along.

What if I want to go away?

Let us know in advance and we will make arrangements for care while you’re gone.

Donate

Luna, a beloved staff member at Breakaway

Join Our Pack

We are looking for volunteer Sitters and volunteer drivers.

A Sitter is someone who generously opens their home for a Through Ruff Times guest of honour. Sitters are an integral part of the Through Ruff Times team…we couldn’t spell ruff without ‘u’!

We take great care in reviewing all applications to ensure that all pets in the program get paired with the right Sitter.

If you would like a Volunteer Sitter application please email:

Mellab@breakawaycs.ca

Melissap@breakawaycs.ca

FAQ for Volunteer Sitters

How much will Sitting cost me?

Sitting with TRT shouldn’t cost you anything. The cat or dog you care for will come with supplies such as food, a bed, leash, cat litter, etc. If you want to spend money on a gourmet dog treat, you’re welcome to, but all basic needs will be provided by us.

What if the dog or cat needs to go to the vet?

Any vet care needs will be covered by TRT through our partnered vet clinics. We can support you to get your house guest to our vet if you need a transporter. The only time we cannot cover a vet bill is if a Sitter is fully responsible for an animal’s illness or injury. For example, a dog is fed a Costco sized chocolate bar and gets ill.

What about vaccines, flea meds, etc?

We will get as much vetting information and paperwork about the animal before it comes into our care. Should a dog or cat need tick or flea meds, for example, we will ensure this happens. We’re especially mindful should there be any dog or cats in your home already – it’s important all animals are safe.

What if the dog or cat isn’t a good fit for our home?

Just as Sitters are asked to fill out an application, so are the humans/pets on the other side of things. We hope to learn about Sitters’ homes and lifestyles, and will aim to pair you with an appropriate animal. For example, a large dog who is afraid of elevators won’t be placed into your 12th floor bachelor apartment. You’ll get the tiny fearless Yorkie. We will tell you as much as we can about the cat/dog and whether it might be a long or short term stay, and you can make a decision about whether or not you’d like to open your home.

What if it just isn’t a good fit?

There will be an adjustment period going into a new home, and every animal will cope in different ways. It might be a difficult transition for some cats/dogs, while others will trot in like they own the place and be looking to cuddle ASAP. We will be checking in about how it’s going, and if there are any hurdles, we (including our trainers if needed) will be there for you. It can be a rewarding experience to learn and work on basic training. However, if you find yourself in a situation that isn’t working for you, we will find the cat or dog a different temporary home.

When do I start and how often will I dog/cat sit?

After we go through the application process and you’re officially part of the Ruff team, you can let us know when you’re ready to cat/dog sit. If you want to hold off, that’s okay. There’s no “start time” on our end – that’s up to you.

When you’re ready to sit, you can decline cat/dog care requests as often as you like. We want the houseguest and timing to be most suitable for you, and much as we’ll try to match you with an appropriate fit, it’s ultimately your choice.

What about dropping off and picking up the cat/dog?

A volunteer driver will drop off and pick up the animal, along with supplies.

Will I be in touch with the dog/cat’s owner?

No, we want to protect your privacy, as well as the privacy of the person whose dog/cat you’re caring for. Any communication that may need to happen will be through a TRT contact. If you’re able to provide updates about how your houseguest is doing, we would love to pass them along.

What if I want to go away?

Let us know in advance and we will make arrangements for care while you’re gone.

News & Events

Upcoming: We’re doing a pet food bank pop up in Moss Park this Thursday, 11am – 3pm