As we continue our efforts to raise awareness about the animal welfare issues and needs in British Columbia, we are pleased to share our second guest blog post from Nomi Berger, volunteer writer for Vancouver Island Dog Rescue Society.
Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue Society’s motto is “Unleashing Opportunities.” Unleashing opportunities for all of us who are part of this vital and growing rescue, for all of the communities we serve, with an emphasis on British Columbia, for all of the dogs in dire straits who deserve our attention and merit another chance and for all of those who want to learn, to reach out and teach others, and to make a difference. Vancouver Island Dogs Rescue Society is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization, deeply committed to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing dogs in distress, providing support for dog fosters and dog adopters, and actively advocating on behalf of all dogs in need throughout Western Canada.
Although we rescue dogs of all breeds, large and small, we focus on and are passionate about the majestic northern breeds, particularly the Siberian Husky. Why? Because, as one devoted husky lover aptly observed, “Huskies are not just a breed of dog, but a way of life.” Since our founding in March 2012, we have rescued more than 150 dogs – all within Western Canada – and as our support has grown, so has our ability to accept more dogs with more challenges, more medical needs. With proper quarantine being of utmost importance to us, our own, ongoing need is for fosters willing and able to quarantine the dogs in their homes for a minimum of two weeks.
One of our greatest concerns is the ongoing problem of animal overpopulation in this country. A growing priority is educating the public about this underplayed issue, and encouraging people to adopt dogs from within Canada rather than from groups importing dogs from outside Canada. One of our contributions towards solving this problem is by actively promoting the spaying and neutering of all companion animals by all pet owners. We recently began offering free spays for known ‘problem dogs’ – those dogs who are continually having puppies – to help break the cycle and reduce the number of at least some unwanted litters.
One of our ongoing initiatives has been helping to ease the overcrowded conditions at various rescues and shelters in areas as diverse as Prince Albert and Onion Lake in Saskatchewan, in Kitwanga British Columbia and across the Northwest Territories, by taking some of their ailing and abandoned dogs into our own care. Fortunately, we are not alone in our commitment to assist these particular communities. It is the communities not serviced by a shelter or rescue and that are the most removed and remote, who we place as our top priority and who themselves are more than open to our assistance once we have built a relationship of trust and respect with them. In one reserve community, we were particularly blessed to connect with and assist a private rescuer named Maggie, whose privately operated Brie’s Place Dog Rescue has single-handedly saved many dogs’ lives. For our part, we have been diligently – and gratefully — collecting as much donated food as possible from several local, supportive pet stores, and sending it to the remote West Coast areas on Vancouver Island, where volunteers feed both the strays on the streets and the companion animals of those residents unable to feed their cherished pets themselves.
From October 3-5, we ourselves will have the unique opportunity of participating in a spay/neuter clinic operated by the Canadian Animal Assistance Team (CAAT) at one of the reserves on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Not only have we begun collecting donated crates for the clinic, but we have also been keeping a “head count” of the dogs and cats in the community waiting to play their part in reducing their own numbers. We will be back in a month to update you on the successes and challenges during the spay/neuter clinic and the realities of working hands on in the area of prevention and education.
Nomi Berger is the bestselling author of seven novels, one work of non-fiction, and two volumes of poetry. She lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and now devotes all of her time volunteering her writing skills to animal rescue organizations throughout Canada and the USA.