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
Fort McMurray SPCA
*If we have missed a worthy organization, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with details*