Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Helping Fort McMurray: Our Instructors Are A Rare 'Breed' of Human

As a pet safety-conscious company, we are always on alert when disaster strikes. However, when a wildfire caused evacuation of the entire Fort McMurray population, it struck a chord closer to home. One of Walks 'N' Wags' own, Instructor Jennifer Allen from Paw Prince Pet Services, was one of the evacuees.

We immediately reached out to Jennifer to confirm that she had been able to exit safely. We heard back from her that she was on the road and had a safe but temporary place to stay in Edmonton. We've since made a donation to the Canadian Red Cross and offered Jennifer any support that we can provide her.

We have many Instructors in Alberta and reached out to them to see what was happening there with the relief efforts. We were not-so-surprised to learn that every one of them was doing something to help! We are so proud of our Instructor community that we wanted to share some of their stories with you, in hopes that it may inspire someone else to lend a hand if they aren't sure how.

Jessica Malenchak, Leduc AB

Jessica and her employer, Four Paws, in co-operation with a group called Courageous Companions, co-ordinated the intake of more than 40 animals. The groups offered pet food and other needed pet supplies. For Paws also offered free bathing services & discounted grooms to any of the Fort McMurray pets who needed it. Last, For Paws has been collecting grooming equipment to donate to any Fort McMurray groomers who might need replacement items.

Rakell Laventure, Airdrie AB

Rakell sent 50 cards to firefighters and first responders to thank them for a job well done.

She collected 4 truck loads of goodies, from hygiene products, clothing, no perishable food items, baby items, and of course pet items. She also donated 17 crates from clients and family and several of her own. Her own pets Milo and COCO helped.

She also has a young lady staying with her until she figures out where she is going. She is supposed to start school in Fort McMurray soon.

Alecia Muirhead, Edmonton AB

Alecia and her employer, Sadie's K9 Stay & Play did a crate, food, and supply drive when the animals started arriving to Edmonton. They were blown away by the response!

Leah Daoust, Tofield AB

Leah has helped extensively in many areas over the past couple of weeks. Here is a list of some of her endeavors:

Purchased and donated supplies to Hastings Lake Animal Hospital who then drove north to deliver them to a rescue group.
Volunteered at one of the hangars at the Edmonton International Airport sorting and packing mountains of donations for evacuees.
Organized free fun dog classes for evacuees. Visited and volunteered with some of the evacuated pets that are being cared for and housed at Hastings Lake Animal Hospital. Made monetary donations to the Canadian Red Cross, Alberta SPCA, and Wildlife Rehabilitation Society of Edmonton.

Not all of our Instructors took photos, but it's important to mention the other great things they did with their time.

Katie Ayres, Calgary AB: traveled to Edmonton with the Alberta spay neuter task force and volunteered at the animal evacuation centre

Heather Rankin, Dublin Ireland: sent the Canadian Red Cross a "healthy donation"

Simone Krebser, Penticton BC is donating 5% of her training proceeds of May 2016 to the Edmonton Humane Society

Jess Eustace, Canmore AB: Jess is on maternity leave; however, she still gave a cash donation, donated crates and other pet items. She also went through her baby items that were no longer needed and donated those. Jess's employer (Fish Creek 24 Hour Pet Hospital) sent staff to Edmonton to triage pets that were coming in

Pam Pennington, Red Deer AB: Her employer (Dog & Cat Hospital) is offering medical care and boarding free of charge to Fort McMurray residents.

Kirbi Bishop, Lloydminster AB: Donated items such as a kennel, dog food, cat food, and leashes.

Shawna Magnan, Edmonton AB: Shawna has been offering daycare and boarding for dogs at no charge at her dog daycare K9 Club.

Calgary Instructors Ellis van Schuur and Krista DeCarle are both donating partial proceeds from their course registration fees to charities supporting Fort McMurray. Krista's family also offered boarding for horses and prepared pre-cooked meals for evacuees. Krista owns a pet boarding business and provided free/discounted care to first responder clients who left to help fight the fires.

Last but not least, there is our currently displaced Fort McMurray Instructor Jennifer Allen. Despite being an evacuee and being able to use help herself, Jennifer has been donating her time to help others.

Jennifer donated her time "meeting people at the evacuation centre and Salvation Army to give out the rest of my pet first aid kits. I've been taking Fort Mac residents to northlands from the airport and showing them apartments that offer temporary residency for free." Talk about going WAY above and beyond Jennifer!!!

Sometimes people ask us what is unique about our company. I've always sincerely believed that our Instructors are a rare 'breed' of human. Now I firmly know that with 100% certainty.

~ Lisa Wagner, Operations Director
Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid

A few places to donate in support of Fort McMurray include:

Canadian Red Cross
Edmonton Humane Society
Calgary Humane Society
Alberta Animal Rescue Crew
Second Chance Animal Rescue Society
Alberta SPCA
Fort McMurray SPCA
Salvation Army

*If we have missed a worthy organization, please email us at lisaw@walksnwags.com with details*

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Instructor Profile: Simone Krebser of K9 Possible

Okanagan BC Instructor Simone Krebser of K9 Possible has been an important part of the Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid family for several years. Initially living on Canada's east coast, Simone originally came to us as a Distance Learning student.

Here's Simone's story:

"My name is Simone Krebser and I currently live in Penticton in the beautiful Okanagan Valley of British Columbia with my two dogs.

I grew up in Switzerland and eventually settled in Canada in 2011 where I finally could pursue my passion through a career with animals. I’m now a professional dog trainer, Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid Instructor and as a well a proud part time office assistant of Walks ‘N’ Wags!

I grew up with all different kind of animals including: dogs, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, rats, hamsters, gerbils just to name a few. Since I was little I dreamed of working with animals to some degree but life took me to different career paths. This included an education in business and office administration, working in the hospitality industry and also a pet shop. Eventually I realized that there will be nothing else that will really make me happy other than having animals around me day in and out. All these different experiences built the important foundation for the skill set I require in my current career.

Arriving in Canada I knew it was time to follow my dreams and dig deeper into what I really wanted in life and this was to help animals live a better life in some kind of way.

I have always had that little knack for teaching people and as well dogs…both just seemed natural to me. I understood that if I want animals to live a better life I need to educate their people, there was no way around it.

In 2013 I started to professionally train dogs (first in Nova Scotia before I settled in BC in 2014). But before I felt confident to dive into this career, I wanted to prepare my self with some other foundation and I found Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid. I completed a Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid course in 2012 and quickly realized how this will not only enhance the quality of life of my own pets but also will give peace of mind to my future clients knowing they can trust me with their pets.

Once I started my career as a professional dog trainer I felt there was more that I could do than just help people enjoying their dogs more by having better behaved companions. While training is one step to keeping your dog safe, there is so much more. I was super impressed on how thorough the Walks ‘N’ Wags program was and how it boosted my confidence in being prepared for any pet emergency that I felt the need to wanting to share this with others.

In 2014 I completed my Instructor certification and started sharing this great experience with others. What I love about teaching the Walks ‘N’ Wags program is that I share my knowledge with people that are just as passionate about their pets and clients as I am. All the students are thrilled to attend the course and learn these skills.

Knowing the fact that I might have helped saving a pet’s life by sharing my knowledge, but also have given the person that has helped to safe or improve a pets life with what they have learned in the course a feeling of peace of mind is very gratifying to me."

Simone's sincere dedication to helping animals shines in her communications with people and with her teaching. We feel so fortunate to have Simone as part of Walks 'N' Wags!

If you would like to learn more about courses offered in BC's Okanagan and Kootenays, please visit the K9 Possible WEB SITE. You can also find other Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid course dates HERE.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Introducing: OFF THE GRID

Over the years, we've had many students ask us if we offer further educational programs outside of Walks 'N' Wags' Pet First Aid course. We always take student feedback into consideration and entered discussions regarding what possible curriculum to offer.

At about the same time, our family personally invested in a remote cabin. While spending time there, we learned of dogs injured in fights, hit by cars, cats suffering from frostbite, and other injuries the community's animals faced. And all without access to Veterinary care. The community is several hours from the nearest Veterinary clinic and 5-6 hours from a Veterinary emergency clinic.

The reality is that many people not only live in rural communities, but also vacation in them. People take their dogs hiking, camping, swimming in remote lakes, join fishing expeditions, and more in the summer months. In the winter months, pets continue to hike, snowshoe, and may participate in skijoring or other outdoor activities. While these pet families may live in an urban area, a Veterinarian isn't readily accessed while on an outdoor adventure! This was the inspiration for OFF THE GRID.

Designed for successful, up-to-date graduates of Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid program, OFF THE GRID is designed to help adventurous humans prepare in advance for outdoor adventures with their pets. And then have a bit more "know how" if an emergency does arise.

OFF THE GRID is a 3 hour program and curriculum includes:

- Trip Planning

- Equipment Improvisation

- Prolonged Patient Care

- Advanced shock

- Pain management

- Poisoning

- Evacuation

Upon successful completion, participants will earn an OFF THE GRID Certificate and digital "Certified" logo.

We're very excited to roll out this exciting new program. Several of our Instructors have earned their OFF THE GRID Instructor designation, while others are currently working hard on it.

Are you interested in attending an OFF THE GRID class? Register HERE.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Update To SAINTS Rescue From Tux

Today is the 3rd anniversary of our Tux's adoption from SAINTS Rescue. Each year we create an update to send to SAINTS. We also share with the public in hopes people will be consider adoption - especially senior adoption. Here is Tux's letter:


2015 was overall a great year. But I had some losses this year too and it was tough. I'm looking forward to sharing my 3rd year with my forever family with you.

On January 2, 2015, my big brother Buddy passed away. In 2 years, we spent a lot of time together doing all sorts of fun things.

Buddy was almost 17 years old and it was a really tough for all of us.

After Buddy passed away I wasn't completely alone. I still had my cats Kitty and Kermit. I have to admit, cats aren't my favorite animal on earth but they did their best to keep me company.

Shortly after Buddy passed away, Lisa went away to Thailand to volunteer at Soi Dog Foundation. While she was there, she fell in love with another senior named Dominic. In the Spring, he joined our family.

We did all sorts of fun things in 2015. One of my favorites is walking and hiking. I think I've pounded the dirt and pavement more in the past 3 years then I did in my previous 10! I always make sure to have a good rest at the end. I am 13 years old now afterall.

In the summer, we went camping several times too. We visit our family in the mountains several times each year and I just love it. Fresh air, clean water, and lots of fun hiking paths. It's the best.

Of course, over the summer I came to visit SAINTS at the Open House. Wow, was it ever nice to see my second family there. Jenn took a few photos of me while I was there. I couldn't help but dance for her :).

Since I've met my weight loss goals, every now and then I get a special treat. Sometimes I just help myself...but that's another story that I will keep to myself.

Unfortunately at the end of the summer, my new brother Dominic fell unexpectedly ill and passed away. It was a shock to us all and I still really miss him. We made a good team.

On a happier note, of course throughout the year I taught Pet First Aid classes & workshops to both kids and adults. I have a pretty cool job and I am quite well paid. Here is a photo and if you want to see more details, I have a separate Blog post HERE.

In October I did a Halloween contest photo shoot for my work. I think I make a most excellent super hero :). In fact, an illustration was made of me as one too!

Also in October I got a new rescue brother. He kind of looks like me and we get along really well. He's a shy boy and I think it helps having me around to protect him.

Anyways, just wanted to let you know that life is good. Really good. And once again it's because of you at SAINTS. You gave me a chance when others might not have. And you found me the right family.

Forever a SAINT!

~ Love Tux (formerly Joey)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Dogs With Jobs: Bet You Didn't Think Of This One

Dogs With Jobs. What pops into your mind? Police dog. Therapy dog. Drug-detection dog. Guide dog. But there's a job you may not have considered: "Chief Dog Officer" or CDO. Our CDO here at Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid head office is Tux. Here's a little introduction into what his job as CDO is all about.


As CDO, Tux regularly attends Pet First Aid classes and shows everyone the ropes. He's been doing this for awhile and as you can see, he's a pro.

Lap surfer

It's serious business keeping the course attendees happy and making them feel that they are receiving one-on-one attention. Tux does an excellent job of moving around the room and sharing the love.

Sometimes he even helps out with the exam!

Kids Camps

Tux volunteers his time regularly with BC SPCA teaching kids the introductory ropes of Pet First Aid. This might just be his favorite job since he loves children!

Event Host

Tux attends all sorts of public events as a host of the Walks 'N' Wags tent. There, he befriends pretty much everyone he meets and educates them about our program.

Tux participates as a model regularly for Walks 'N' Wags, for RC Pet Products, and has also graced Modern Dog Magazine. This Fall he'll be featured in our ad in Canadian Dogs Annual too! Here's a sampling of some of his work:

Loyal Supervisor

Tux ensures that everything goes smoothly both in our classes and around the office. In his role as Supervisor, he is a "hands on" kind of guy and always willing to help.

Recruiting and Training

Tux has a hand in choosing which dogs enter the Walks 'N' Wags family. We carefully present our case to him and he ponders his options.

Earlier this year, Tux approved the addition of Dominic. He taught Dominic the ropes at home first, and then eventually welcomed him to class.

Sadly, Dominic unexpectedly passed away. We all miss him but are ready to open our hearts to a new family member. Tux has approved our new friend Floyd, who will arrive from Soi Dog Foundation on October 26th. We'll keep you posted as to how his training goes!

As you have seen, Tux is an important fixture as Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid's Chief Dog Officer. We couldn't do what we do without him, and we will always appreciate his willingness to lend a hand wherever he's needed. Of course, being a dog, every now and then he falls asleep on the job. But we love him anyway!

Learn more about Tux and Walks 'N' Wags Pet First Aid via the following links:
Web site