Monday, July 22, 2013

Successful Mechanics of a Pet Care Crisis Response

Amazing things can come from adversity, like in Alberta, when cities flood people go to work.  There have been many articles about the tireless volunteers out west who have been helping those in need during the devastating floods.   For this article we would like to take a broader look at the implications of what has happened in Alberta when industry meets community.

This story begins with our friends at the Calgary InterfaithFood Bank.  For the last four weeks, the food bank has become a type of headquarters for pet families and pet care organizations in need, both in the city and out.  "Pet items have been essential for flood relief efforts, as we have many pets that are without basics", explains Trudy Webster of the Food Bank.

When the water hit, Petland Charities (Canada) approached the Food Bank offering to help by raising funds and facilitating the donation of much needed food and products for pet families affected by the disaster.  The company reached out to their clients, suppliers and staff to help.  Seven corporate Calgary stores, plus the two in Edmonton and one in Red Deer sprang into action collecting donations of cash, food and products, including a $5000 donation from head office.  Add to that the generosity from Nutro and Nutrience who donated pallets of dog and cat food.  Local BolleaLogistics, a transport company, provided the muscle by donating a truck and staff to collect all the donations and deliver them to the Food Bank.  The outcome was 19 pallets of food and products delivered free of charge to the Food Bank and a monetary donation of over $14,800. 

The Food Bank immediately began directing the supplies back into the communities targeting the local organizations and city departments that could ensure the aid got exactly where it needed to go. This is included a number of animal rescues, the Calgary Humane Society, and towns such as Morley, High River, Blacky and Longview.

This isn’t where the story finishes, there are endless ripples. Citizens like Gail Dzuiba and her colleagues from Alberta Health Services are using their employee volunteer hours to help. PIJAC Canada members such as Tisol Nutrition & Pet Supply stores in Vancouver and Pets West in Victoria have offered donations and assistance. More have provided donations to other organizations, like Pisces Pet Emporium who outfitted their staff of over 70 people in Red Cross fund raiser "Come Hell or High Water" t-shirts. 

This crisis and the others that have occurred in Canada have made one thing clear, no matter where in the pet world someone is from, be it a pet family, rescue, retail, manufacturer or government, the common passionate goal is the well-being of pets and their families. Differences of opinions can diminish significantly when we see the tremendous things we can accomplish by working together.

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