The sky above Whistler was lit up with firecrackers as people celebrated Halloween 2012, but at Whistler Animals Galore (WAG), Whistler Animal Shelter, Shannon Broderick experienced one of the worst nights of her entire life.
Following the Whistler sled dog killings in April 2010, post Winter Olympics, WAG was involved in the adoption and rehabilitation of sled dogs that had survived the slaughter/massacre.
“You could tell that just the sound of firecrackers was traumatizing for those dogs, more so than the average dog,” says Broderick. “The sled dogs obviously watched their friends be killed, so it was really difficult that particular night.”
In 2012 WAG started working with the Whistler Sled Dog Company to start downsizing their kennel. They re-homed a total of 57 dogs between 2012 and 2013.
But while they found new homes for many dogs, they also worked with at least 100 to help them get used to life outside of the kennel.
“This meant learning the basics like walking on a leash, and to go to the washroom away from where they slept and ate,” says Broderick.
While Broderick says she doesn’t find sled dogs to be different than the average dog, she says they are unique because they had learned habits at the kennel that were against their animal instincts.
In addition to playing a important role in the future of many sled dogs, WAG has been active for 31 years as an animal shelter for many dogs and cats in Whistler, and continues to help find happy homes for animals.
But because of limited resources, and the impacts of the work they did with the sled dogs, WAG is often at capacity and in need of donations from the community.
“We have been given very little recognition for our work with the sled dogs,” says Broderick. “We didn’t receive any compensation from the company, so financially it was very difficult. We didn’t budget to take in as many as we did, and in the end the company didn’t contribute anything towards their care.”
The dedication to the welfare of animals in need in Whistler has captured the hearts of many animal lovers including husky owner and Victoria, B.C. resident, Tobias Lawrence, who with the help of Tim Schauerte, Victoria, B.C., contractor, will be delivering dog houses built by Schauerte along with public donations to WAG at the end of April.
Broderick says the shelter is currently in need of 6-foot leashes, toys such as congs and enrichment puzzles, yoga mats, blankets, and gastro food for dogs and cats with sensitive stomachs.
To donate items to WAG and fill the van contact Lawrence by phone 250-477-0224 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org by April 30, 2014.