It is a truth universally acknowledged that the women with Donalda Animal Rescue love animals.
So when a senior resident Donalda died a few years ago, leaving behind four dogs, Janis Deans and Myra Gauvreau stepped in, took the dogs to their homes and eventually found them families.
While there was already an animal-rescue group in Stettler, Deans and Gauvreau believed there was the need to have a group closer to home.
“We started the group in 2010,” Gauvreau said. “We got incorporated and we got our non-profit licence in. We are registered with the government already.”
Maria Browarny, Carol Balla and Gauvreau’s husband Gary are the remaining board members.
While it’s the group’s aim to help as many animals as possible, the women are aware they will not be able to save every animal.
Moreover, the group doesn’t exist solely to help irresponsible pet owners.
“We are not into taking other people’s problems,” said Gauvreau said. “If you are irresponsible and you do not neuter your pet, and you end up with a litter of puppies or kittens, that is not our problem.”
“We are there for people that are in trouble.”
For example, the group will accept animals from owners that have passed away and from people that are moving from a house to an apartment or the lodge because of health conditions. The group will also care for pets temporarily if their owners have to go to a hospital.
“If abusive owners are willing to surrender, we will take care of the pets,” Gauvreau said. “We do provide a service.”
The group does charge a surrender fee and an adoption, which depends on the size of the animal and whether it’s spayed or neutered.
“The surrender fee is usually not very much,” Gauvreau said. “But it is around $50 and $100, which is not that much, considering.”
“We usually charge an adoption fee of around $100 per dog. If the dog has already been spayed or neutered, we usually charge $50. It is a reasonable price.”
So far, the group has rescued five kittens, six dogs, one guinea pig and one snake.
Gauvreau has also taken in three horses.
“My place is set up for horses and bigger animals,” she said. “We have not had any fishes yet.”
Once the group takes in an animal, the members will do everything to find him an appropriate family that will keep him.
“We bring the animals in, foster them,” Gauvreau said. “We figure out what their personalities are like, where they would fit in the best.”
“We do get the pets used to people, other animals. We try to get the animals socially very respectable out there.”
The group also makes sure that the potential owners know what it means to have a pet.
“They have to provide food, shelter, veterinary care, and exercise and if, for any reason, they do not want or they cannot keep the animal, it has to be returned to us,” Deans said. “That is part of the contract.”
Since the group’s beginning, it has fielded calls from as far away as Craigmyle and Sedgewick.
“The callers had tried to find an organization closer to home, but they couldn’t find anybody,” Browarny said. “Then, they heard about us.”
Donalda Animal Rescue stays afl oat financially by having a couple of fundraisers every year and by accepting donations from businesses.
“That way, we are not bugging people and businesses all the time and trying to make it work with that,” Gauvreau said.
The group is always looking for volunteers, especially foster families.
For more information about the Donalda Animal rescue, contact Gauvreau at 403-883-2870.