Turtle Gardens welcomes funding

Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Shelter in Topley is set to receive up to $5,000 from the Pedigree pet food company.

Some of the dogs up for adoption or for foster care at the Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Society in Topley.

“The little shelter with heart” has received a boost in funding.

Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Shelter in Topley is set to receive up to $5,000 from Pedigree.

It’s the fourth year that Pedigree has chosen Turtle Gardens as a partner shelter.

As a partner shelter, Turtle Gardens is supported by the makers of Pedigree and joins in on a national campaign to help find good dogs loving homes. The funding will come to Turtle Gardens at the end of the fourth annual Pedigree Adoption Drive Campaign.

Yvette Labette, owner and operator of Turtle Gardens said the shelter could possibly  receive more  than $5,000, depending on the amount of public support the adoption drive receives.

To help boost the shelter’s funding, locals can watch a Pedigree adoption story at www.mypedigree.ca, and one dollar will be donated to the running tally each time a video is viewed.

The more times an adoption video is watched in full, the more money Turtle Gardens will receive at the end of the year.

“People can watch the videos as many times as they like,” Labette said.

At the end of the year, Pedigree will donate up to $150,000, to be shared between 30 animal shelters across Canada.

The campaign is designed to raise awareness about the importance of shelter dog adoption and give thousands of shelter dogs across Canada a chance to find a new home. Labette said as a partner shelter Turtle Gardens is required to participate in adoption events in the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

“Ninety per cent of our dogs are adopted to people down south,” she said.

Labette said the funding is welcome news after a tough year at the shelter.

The Labette’s home, which they share with their many rescue dogs, was flooded in May.

“The flood destroyed the foundation of one of the walls of our home. There was so much debris left behind that it took us nearly two months to clean up after,” she said.

The Labettes and the 43 dogs they were sheltering at the time were evacuated a quarter of a mile down the road from their home and stayed in a trailer until they were able to return home.

Turtle Gardens first opened its doors over 20 years ago to address the need for a shelter in an area where none exists for over 250 miles. Since then hundreds of dogs have passed through the Labette’s doors.

Many of the dogs taken in to the shelter have never been in a home before, so extra care is taken and positive training techniques are used to prepare them for living with families.

“The dogs live in our house and sleep in beds—there are no cages at Turtle Gardens. We do this so when the dogs leave our care they are able to live in a house and be comfortable in their own skin. They can be touched and patted everywhere. They are also vet-checked, de-wormed, spayed and neutered.”

The Labettes transport the dogs to their foster homes and adoptive homes in the Lower Mainland in a 2010 Chevrolet cargo van.

“We won $25,000 in the Pepsi Refreshes Everything campaign on Dec. 31 last year and we purchased the van with the entire $25,000. Driving the dogs to their new homes is less stress on them.”

She said adoption fees and donations help pay for the fuel to transport the dogs down south.

“The van leaves at 5 p.m. and arrives by 7 a.m,” she said. “The dogs sleep all the way down.”

Turtle Gardens has placed almost 200 dogs in new homes this year alone.

“I don’t even know how many dogs we have at the moment … I know we are just about at capacity. Most of the dogs we have, come from the Village of Burns Lake pound and from the Woyenne Reserve, others come in from Tachet, Smithers, Houston, Telkwa, Kispiox and the Southside.”

Labette said the shelter receives, on average, one dog per day. Two weeks ago, they got six on one Sunday.

When the dogs arrive they are thieves and scroungers, Labette said. Some have collars embedded in their skin, others are pregnant, others have porcupine quills embedded in their bodies and all are unloved and uncared for.

She said that the $5,000 from Pedigree will go towards food and vet bills.

Locals can also help the dogs at Turtle Gardens by donating food, blankets, collars, leashes, toys and gas cards.

For more information on Turtle Gardens Animal Rescue Shelter go to www.turtlegardens.org.