The Animal Rescue Foundation of Alberta contributes over $25,000 to help homeless dogs and cats.

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For many people, 125 dog walkers accompanied by their furry friends may sound like a chaotic experience. In reality, the gathering held Sept. 25 was anything but.

Participants of the second annual Walk n’ Wag raised money for the Animal Rescue Foundation of Alberta through sponsorships for a two-and-a-half kilometre walk that stretched across the plains of River Park.

Theresa Swain was a participant in this year’s Walk n’ Wag, and has volunteered for the foundation for 10 years. She raised more than $650.

“My friends and family are very supportive because they know this is a cause dear to my heart,” Swain said.


Participants of the second annual Walk n’ Wag follow the path at River Park on Sunday Sept. 25. Photo: Kelli ZacharopoulosThe walk raised over $25,000 for the foundation’s Pad for Paws campaign — an initiative to raise $1 million by 2014 for the construction of a permanent facility to rescue and treat homeless animals. The foundation currently relies on foster homes across the city for its rescue program.


Bruno, a rescue dog from Lethbridge, catches some rest at the second annual Walk n’ Wag on Sunday Sept. 25. Photo: Kelli Zacharopoulos“If the foundation had a facility to bring animals that needed rescuing right away it would take some of the urgency out of our situation,” said Julie Bousfield, assistant Pad for Paws campaign chair.

“If there are animals to be rescued and we don’t have any foster homes, we don’t have anywhere for them to go. A lot of times they are facing life and death right there.”

In its 15 years of service, the foundation has rescued over 1,400 cats and 3,600 dogs.

Bousfield told the story of Kipper, a German shepherd mix discovered at the Tsuu T’ina nation — 40 pounds underweight with mange and a severe head tilt.

Due to a lack of foster availability he was treated on site for a full month until a home opened up for him. Once taken from the site a veterinarian discovered bullet fragments in his head and fractures to his pelvis.

“Through the foundation’s efforts and no-kill policy, Kipper and dogs like him are given a second chance at life,” said Scott Howle, a participant in the Walk n’ Wag.

Howle said he believes the facility is also important for rural and first nations communities to eliminate the spread of disease and infection.

Bousfield added the facility will have many other purposes — including a quarantined environment for animals with other contagious conditions.

“Litters of puppies where the mom was hit by a car or the mom has gone missing will have some place to go if we have no foster homes,” Bousfield added.

The Walk n’ Wag is one of several events that has taken place to fundraise for the Pad for Paws campaign.

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