Donalda Animal Rescue President Myra Gauvreau

Donalda Animal Rescue President Myra Gauvreau

Partnership helps rescue thrive, according to volunteers

Pet Valu successfully hosted a three-day event, from Friday to Saturday, Oct. 14-16 in the form of an adoptathon, bake sale...

Pet Valu successfully hosted a three-day event, from Friday to Saturday, Oct. 14-16 in the form of an adoptathon, bake sale and dog wash to raise funds for the Donalda Animal Rescue Society.

Although it was supposed to feature a different fundraiser each day, the weather forced the rescue’s volunteers and Pet Valu staff to scrap the planned events for Friday.

The book sale meant to take place on Saturday, Oct. 15 also did not happen due to the weather, though the bake sale was very successful, according to Pet Valu manager Tammy Martin.

The bake sale featured a handful of human cookies and pies, and bags of home-baked, healthy dog treats.

“This weekend has been really, really great. It started out a bit slow, but we’ve raised about $250 in cash donations, and about $30 with the donations for food,” said Martin.

The dog washing unit at the back of the store is usually completely self-serve, but in addition to donating the cost of the wash to the rescue, store staff also washed the hounds themselves.

“It’s working out great,” Martin said. “Customers are very happy with it. They don’t have to get soaking wet and be covered in dog hair – we do.”

The donations are greatly appreciated by the rescue, which – despite its name – serves more than Donalda. Not only does it try to find home for cats and dogs, accepting surrenders and working to tame ferals enough that they can become shop or barn cats, they also operate a trap, neuter and return (TNR) program at several feral cat colonies.

TNR programs help limit the growth of the feral cat population and the spread of feline diseases by ensuring the animals cannot reproduce. While the felines are too feral to be comfortable in human company, even as a potential barn cat, by treating the cats’ illnesses and making sure there is no litter after litter of kittens, the colonies remain small and are less of a bother.

The rescue also holds spay-neuter assistant programs multiple times through the year, helping people who may not be able to afford to have their feline or canine companion spayed or neutered.

Tracy Sprague, a cat foster and volunteer with Donalda Animal Rescue, brought in Tucker, the rescue’s ambassador, a grey kitten named Otis, and an older white and grey “cow” kitten named Griffin, to the store on Sunday, Oct. 16. Rescue President Myra Gauvreau brought in a dog, Coco, who’s up for adoption. In the past, the rescue has had horses too.

Tucker, a long-haired orange and white cat, was born to a feral mother who had been injured and trapped by Sprague. It was only after the mama cat was in her care that Sprague realized the feline was pregnant with a litter.

“He’s our ambassador to get the word out there,” she said. “Feral cats have value, too.”

The rescue has been partnered with Pet Valu for about six months, and has adopted out 16 cats this year through the store.

The rescue currently has 17 cats of various ages available for adoption. Some are lap cats, while two are feral and need to go to a shop home or a barn home.

“They are our rodent rangers,” Sprague said. “They work hard in exchange for food and a warm place to live.”

Two dogs are also available for adoption, according to Gauvreau, who is a “dog person.”

“If we adopt them out before they can be fixed, they get a coupon for the cost of the fixing and it’s charged back to us,” Gauvreau said.

It’s something the rescue has not always been able to do, as in the past much of its money has been tied up in food purchases and veterinary care for the animals surrendered, trapped or rescued by volunteers.

“It’s thanks to people and businesses like Pet Valu that actually keep us going, because not only do they raise money twice a year, they help us to adopt the pets by fostering them. We also get all the food we need for the cats and dogs donated pretty much. Now most of our money goes to vet bills rather than food, like it has in the past.”

If you are interested in adopting a pet from the rescue, or want to make a donation, you can visit Pet Valu on Main Street in Stettler any time in October.