By Ida Koric
Rossland-based dog advocacy group, HEART Rescue, recently reached an important milestone.
In August of this year, after three years of operation, HEART adopted out their 100th dog in need. About 25 of those dogs now call the Rossland area their home, with another 50 or so spread throughout the Kootenays.
Dogs have traveled as far as Calgary and Vancouver Island to find their perfect families, but that is only the end of a long and trying journey for most.
HEART focuses on improving the lives of Canada’s most threatened dogs; those that live in remote northern communities or on reserves. The dogs often come from little known places like Kuglutuk, Rae-Edzo or the Hobemma reserve, traveling by plane to Edmonton, then by car to the Kootenays, thanks to a well-developed network of volunteers and shelters.
Franklin is HEART’s newest intake. At three months of age he was abandoned to the SPCA Shelter in Yellowknife with a badly broken leg. The shepherd-collie mix arrived in Rossland three weeks ago, at which point he was patched up by the one-miracle-away-from-sainthood Dr. Ruth Sims at Kettle River Veterinary in Grand Forks.
Franklin suffered an unusual amount of muscle and tissue damage around the break, so the ladies of HEART are holding their collective breaths until the end of October, when they will learn the long-term prognosis for the healing limb.
Jen Broughton, one of HEART’s five board members, lived in a northern community and recalled why she became involved with the rescue.
“The dogs were treated horribly; roaming for food and scraps of affection, belonging to no-one, underfed and lacking shelter,” she said. “The dog ‘solution’ in these places is always the same—a bullet.”
Fellow school teachers, Ida Koric and Andraya Hughes, Tails Pet Supply owner Amanda Hamilton, and practicing nurse, Amber Paquin, complete the board. Countless local volunteers help with fostering, walking and fundraising to make the rescue a continued success.
“I can’t believe we’ve paired 100 dogs with forever homes,” said Hughes. “We run such a small operation, with a handful of dedicated fosters that we couldn’t be more grateful to, that it really feels like an achievement. Even knowing you’ve given one dog, like a broken little Franklin, a life so very different from the one they were heading toward, is so gratifying.”
HEART is always in need of more foster homes; there is no physical shelter, and foster families are often the dog’s first exposure to warmth, safety, stability and, most importantly, love.
Adoptable dogs, more information about the rescue, and foster forms are available at www.heartdogrescue.com.