The West Coast Spay and Neuter Society - SANS

Who we are and what we do
Getting a dog
Meeting a dog’s physical needs
Meeting a dog’s emotional/psychological needs
What you can do
Rehoming a dog
Contact SANS

Who We Are and What We Do

The West Coast Spay and Neuter Society (SANS) is a volunteer run, nonprofit, registered charity established in 1990 to help prevent the suffering and destruction of companion animals due to abandonment, neglect, abuse and overpopulation. SANS rescues, shelters and nurtures animals and is a non-kill shelter. We also provide public education on the plight of abandoned and abused animals as well as educating on the benefits of spaying and neutering pets.

SANS has placed hundreds of dogs and cats as well as providing food, shelter, spay/neuter and medical care before their adoption to caring and loving homes. SANS has facilitated hundreds of spays/neuters.

SANS has many beautiful, healthy dogs and cats awaiting new homes, and volunteers also foster other animals in their homes.

SANS does not receive any assistance from any level of government. All of our activities are supported entirely by private donations (monetary or other), from concerned and compassionate citizens and businesses. Monetary donations are tax deductible. SANS is entirely volunteer run and all monies/donations collected go directly to animal aid.

Getting a dog

A dog will be your companion. So deciding to get a dog takes a special decision process. You will want to research different breeds to find out which would fit best into your home and lifestyle. Some breeds will grow too large to live comfortably in an apartment or townhouse. Some breeds require a lot of attention and exercise and some breeds are quiet and laid back. As the other half of the equation, you also have to evaluate why you want a dog and what you can offer in terms of time and care.
Puppies are adorable. But you have to think about how big they'll grow.
Here are a couple of web sites that will give you more information about different breeds.  Dog Breed Info Center can give you a lot of information on a vast number of different breeds as well as information on training and other topics. Dog Owner's Guide gives information on everything relating to dogs: different breeds, diet, training... very comprehensive.

When you adopt a rescued dog you are part of the rescue process. A rescued dog has probably seen some hardship in her life and has just spent time living in a shelter. (One hardship that every rescued dog has endured is the loss of the first person she ever loved and trusted.) When you get her home, you’ll probably want to get your new dog bathed and groomed and have her checked over by a vet. Within a couple of days she’ll begin to look like a dog who belongs in your living room rather than one who’s been living in doggy dormitory conditions, waiting for a home.

You may also find that she won’t eat or drink for the first while in her new home. It’s the trauma of change, she doesn’t understand what’s going on. But as she settles and gains confidence, her appetite will recover.

SANS treats any illnesses or injuries that show up. But going to a new home is stressful for an animal and can bring on complaints ranging from digestive ailments to skin conditions. As your dog gets to know his new environment he’ll adjust physically and emotionally. But you should expect that there will be a period of adjustment when you’ll have to troubleshoot any problems that may come up. We face this as rescuers when they first come to us. When you adopt, you take over the rescue process, and as your dog blossoms in your care you’ll come to love him just as much as we did.

When you’re considering adopting, think about taking an older dog. Too many animals lose homes they’ve had for years, and the loss is that much harder to endure when a certain home has been such a big part of your life. Some older dogs had a loving home but their guardian passed away, others have never known what it’s like to be loved and have spent years living in a back yard. These dogs deserve a chance. If you can open your heart to an older dog and give her a loving home for her twilight years, you will feel her gratitude every day.

Maggy is an older dog who has a home of her own now.


There are right ways and wrong ways to train a dog. The wrong ways will only leave a dog cowering and confused or anxious and acting out. Do a little research into non confrontational and non violent training methods. There is lots of advice available, and you’ll find that once you learn how to communicate your wishes to your dog in a way he understands, you’ll develop an easy partnership with your dog.

Choke chains and other training aids must come off right after the walk. It’s dangerous to leave them on. A dog can become hung up or entangled in the blink of an eye.

12 Tips for a Well Behaved Dog  from the American Dog Trainers Network gives you basic advice and a lot of other good information about dogs.

Meeting a dog’s physical needs

Jessie came to us starving. She filled out and has a home now.


Dogs need an appropriate diet in order to be the best they can be. A good diet makes a big difference. For example, proper diet can cut down barking. If your dog is getting too much protein it can create major behaviour problems.

In addition to a balanced and nutritious diet, dogs need variety. Treats are as important to animals as they are to humans. They’ll enjoy carrots, apples and peanut butter... at Christmas we’ll throw out oranges to the dogs. They love this and they peel them to eat them. The yard looks pretty decorative afterwards as all the peels are left lying about like orange flowers.

There are a few foods that a dog should never eat, such as chocolate. Do a little research into dietary needs of dogs and you’ll find that your dog looks better, feels better and behaves better if you take care with her diet.

These are some web sites that can give you advice on diet. Feeding the Dog by Steven J. Covert, DVM, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Missouri-Columbia, gives you all the basics on diet. Australian Petalia addresses some basic issues in Feeding and NutritionUnderstanding Dog Foods and Dog Food Labels gives detailed information about the content of commercial dog foods as well as a few tips on good fruits and veggies to give your dog.

As an animal lover, you’ll find that there are some brands of food you won’t want to feed your dog. Ask your vet or ask in your pet supply store which brands are the top quality ones. Kong has some good recipes. Be aware of companies and businesses that exploit animals for profit without providing adequately for their welfare. Refuse to support those businesses and companies financially. Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) is one of the larger, more high profile and effective groups to lobby for better treatment for animals. Their web site addresses a variety of animal issues such as companies that don't test on animals.


All dogs need exercise, and if your dog is chubby she’ll definitely need exercise. Short of buying her a little treadmill, this will involve you, and it’s one of the things you’ll need to think about when deciding to get a dog. Go for a walk or toss a frisbee, whether you do it from your own back door or drive to the closest park. For your dog, this will probably be the part of her day that she looks forward to most eagerly, and the exercise will make her a calmer companion around the house. (The exercise factor is one of the ways a dog can be good for your health too.)

Sinclair spent five months of his puppyhood on a three foot chain without a shelter or socialization. When he came to us he would watch the other dogs play but wasn't sure how to join in. So he bounced around yelling encouragement. With people, he didn't know how to accept comfort. Eventually he would stand close to us and look tentatively into our eyes. With food, he learned that you needn't lunge and gobble because it won't be snatched away. Sinclair has a good home now.


Do a little research on dog health issues. Many advances have been made in recent years that you’ll want to keep up with. Ringworm can now be treated with a double dose of Program – no more creams, pills or Hibitane baths. Mange is very, very treatable with a little work. These were ailments that used to be very troublesome.

Here are a couple of web sites that can give you good information about health matters. Vetinfo's Encyclopedia of Canine Veterinary Medical Information gives a very complete alphabetical listing of articles about dog ailments. WorkingDogWeb's Care, Health and Nutrition has A-Z Dog Health Articles that can give you information on a wide array of dog ailments and also has articles on nutrition and links to other good sites.

Reds was injured when he came to us. But his injury had been left untended and it cost him his leg.
He's a sweet fellow who gave his vet techs a kiss, and he has a good home now.

Adopters have sent us these photos of their dogs having fun with the family on holidays or at home. This is the dream of every dog. It's our dream for them.

Meeting a dog’s emotional/psychological needs

Dogs need treats as much as people do. People have clubs, hobbies or subscriptions they enjoy. But there’s not so much going on in the average dog’s life. For excitement value, treats are second only to seeing you come home. In our section on diet we mention that things like apples and carrots can grab a dog’s interest.

Make sure your dog has toys too. Without appropriate toys to chew on your dog will find whatever he can. An antique chair and an old rope are all the same to him for chewing potential. Make sure his toys are not too small. They should be sturdy enough that no parts can become lodged in his intestinal tract.

Try to think like a dog does. He’ll want to be with you always, but if you have to go out for several hours and leave him home alone, leave the radio on for ‘company’ and make sure he’ll be warm and dry wherever you’ve left him. You’re sharing your life with another species, but it’s much like having a kid.

Don’t let your dog become afraid of his own species. Unless you’ve been told that he doesn’t like other animals make sure he gets a chance to socialize with other dogs and other animals where he can.

Most of all, your dog needs you. Dogs are pack animals and the most important thing in their world is to be part of the pack and not banished to some place alone. For a dog, it’s cruelty to be kept isolated in a yard, garage or laundry room. People can be solitary creatures but even for people, solitary confinement is punishment. It’s still more punishing for dogs who are genetically programmed to live in groups. Let your dog be part of your home and family, nothing less is acceptable for a dog adopted from SANS!

Your love and attention means more to your dog than anything else in the world.
Jody was thrilled to have her foster mom's approval. Now she has a home of her own.

What you can do


The most important thing anyone can do for homeless animals is make sure their own animals are all spayed and neutered. Don’t compete for homes with the already homeless by allowing your pet to reproduce.

Animal births vastly outnumber quality homes available. Pounds and shelters are forced to kill thousands of dogs and cats each year because they are surplus. Other animals are abandoned, left to “find a good home for themselves” or to “fend for themselves”. Many animals are killed by cars, while others die of starvation, disease or are attacked by predators.

You can help stop this destruction by ensuring all of your pets are spayed or neutered. You will still have an affectionate and contented companion without adding to the overpopulation problem.
See more about overpopulation facts at the HSUS's site's  Pet Overpopulation and Ownership Statistics.


There are many opportunities to work for the animals in many different capacities. Whatever your skills are, there’s a shelter or rescue group who could use them, whether you want to give an hour a month or an hour a day. Too many people are armchair critics. But where they see something wrong, they have it in them to make it better.

SANS would be grateful for any help you could offer.
Donations needed and gratefully accepted are:

        • blankets
        • towels
        • large bowls for food
        • large pails for water
        • pet carriers
        • leashes
        • collars
        • nutritious pet food
        • cat litter
        • anything else useful

Rehoming a dog

Sometimes it’s unavoidable that you will have to find a home for a dog, whether it’s your own dog that you’re unable to keep or a stray that’s come into your care. There are ways to go about rehoming an animal that will give you the best chance to find the best home. See The Animal Spirit site’s article Finding a New Home for a Companion Animal for help.

Contact SANS

For more information of pets for adoption, spaying/neutering or to make a donation, please call:

Abbotsford, BC  -  604-820-2990
Mission, BC  -  604-826-7101

Spay/neuter inquiries for BC’s Fraser Valley  -  604-820-2990

Mailing address:

        West Coast Spay and Neuter Society
        PO Box 3524
        Mission, BC
        V2V 4L1

Charitable Registration No: BN136121795RR0001