Christine Whelan FEO, January 18, 2024, VOL. 5 ISSUE 10
The Humane Society of Greater Niagara — once called Lincoln County Humane Society — has a new Executive Director. Introducing Tanya Firmage.
Tanya says she’s hit the ground running, knows she’s got a big job ahead of her, and is looking forward to what the future holds.
Although new to the Humane Society of Greater Niagara, Firmage has been in the industry for over 30 years and says she comes with a fairly extensive amount of experience, in terms of animal welfare, in her background.
“During that time, I held a variety of positions, everything from agent to inspector to management, ultimately to Chief of Humane Programs with the Ontario SPCA. And now I’m here. I’ve come full circle and it feels like I’ve come home.”
She added that she brings a great deal of passion, along with that experience, to this role.
“Kevin and I graduated as inspectors in the same class,” referring to Kevin Strooband, the previous ED.
Tanya talked about her training in compassion fatigue, self-care, and resilience within the industry, “This is very top of mind for me, making sure that the staff have everything they need in terms of ensuring a work/life balance and not reaching those points of compassion fatigue that I know is possible.”
Firmage says she has an open-door policy. “I’m here to talk with anybody who wants to talk.” She’s confident those who take her up on that invitation will soon discover this is true. She is passionate about her role as Executive Director.
“I’m thrilled to be here. I’m coming in from out of the area, so I’ve committed, a major life change, to do this,” again commenting that she feels like she’s come home.
Tanya officially started November 20, but there was some crossover beforehand with Kevin to ensure a smooth transition.
In recent weeks, there were a couple of cases in the humane society that Tanya felt took precedence and therefore needed to be focused on over her introduction. And so, she’s waited until the new year.
Tanya says people are very giving. “At Christmas time, we get a lot of treats and dog bags and cat toys. People think of us as well at that time and that’s heartwarming.
“It never ceases to amaze me, having been in the sector for a long time, it’s such a wonderful reminder to see, when the season comes in particular, the people come out of the woodwork. They just want to help, help make sure that the animals have a nice Christmas also. It’s really lovely.”
Tanya stated they have a very strong group of volunteers but are still looking for more.
She talked about the different roles in volunteering at the shelter, from direct care such as dog walking and cat socialization to the need for a handyman, a person who can fix minor repairs, and maybe they like to paint. “Things to keep the shelter fresh. as well.”
Tanya added, “Every penny we can save, the better off we are. So, we are always looking for people to help us with those kinds of roles, as well.”
What Fort Erie Needs to Know About the Humane Society of Greater Niagara
- The Humane Society (HS) covers animal control in Fort Erie. They are the communities’ go-to organization for assistance, whether it be an injured animal or pet surrender.
- Should anyone in the town see an injured or sick wild animal, the HS will attend 24/7.
- Loose dogs or stray cats, the HS will attend to help.
- If community members want to surrender their pets, the HS is open to assisting 7 days a week.
- Full-service vet clinic plus high volume spay/ neuter clinic is open to the public.
- Opportunities are available for co-op students from the community for placement/ volunteer hours.
To donate, adopt, or volunteer, you can contact the Humane Society of Greater Niagara by going to their website: www.hsgn.ca
Photo by J Wilkinson