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Furry friends and forgotten finds: Pets & Pickers continues to steal hearts in Season 3

"It's a cross between two TV genres."
Pets & Pickers has finished filming its third season.

High Chihuahua! That was the diagnosis of a pup who got into a stash of marijuana. The owner was sure the dog had a brain injury. However, after some diagnostic tests, the small dog was treated, sent home to sleep it off and was no worse for the wear — though it was a reminder to keep dangerous edibles out of reach.

The story was just one of scores captured by the cameras and shared across North America in the first two seasons of the TV show, Pets & Pickers, which is centred on life at the Regional Animal Protection Society (RAPS), in Richmond, B.C. The hour-long documentary episodes swing between the RAPS Thrift Stores, where teams of “pickers” rummage through donated bins of storage locker contents that have been abandoned to find treasures that generate revenue to subsidize veterinary care for the public and save the lives of animals homed with animal rescue agencies.

Then the cameras pan over to the nearby RAPS Animal Hospital, where desperate people bring their cats, dogs, ferrets, iguanas, snakes and other animals for life-saving treatments. 

“It’s a cross between two TV genres,” says Eyal Lichtmann, CEO of RAPS and the guy who gets to share the good news on screen with anxious pet parents that the hospital will help with the costs of the care. “We’ve got the treasure hunters and the real-life in the ER themes going.” 

There are plenty of laughs — the things people put in storage lockers and forget about can be hilarious and intimate and the pickers include some unforgettable personalities — but, over at the hospital, there is also edge-of-the-seat drama and tears of anxiety and relief.

The international award-winning show has just finished filming a third season, which will air this year. In 2023, Pets & Pickers won the North American Telly Awards for “Best Documentary Series.” The first two seasons ran on Warner Bros. Animal Planet in the United States and are available to steam in Canada on Animal Planet, Crave, and the CTV app.

“We’ve captured something special,” says Tyson Hepburn, head of Tyson Media and producer of Pets & Pickers. “Everyone intuitively understands the powerful bond between animals and their people and that animals are members of our family. We capture it on screen. The magic of the show is that it can pivot from tears and anxiety to joy and laughter in seconds.”

Pat Johnson is the communications manager at the Regional Animal Protection Society.